Turmeric, the spice that gives mustard its bright yellow color and curried dishes their warm glow, may help tame wild blood sugar. Turmeric root, a relative of ginger, is one of Earth’s most concentrated sources of curcumin, an antioxidant compound. (Cumin is another source of curcumin.)
Turmeric has a long history as a folk medicine in India and other countries for treating stomach ailments, inflammation, arthritis, and sprains. It’s also being studied as an anti-cancer spice. Population studies find dramatically reduced rates of colon cancer in people whose diets are rich in curcumin.
Most recently, researchers have begun to look at whether curcumin may help prevent Alzheimer’s. In India, where turmeric is practically ubiquitous in food, there is a very low incidence of the disease.
When to use Turmeric
- Use yellow mustard on burgers and when cooking. Its color comes from turmeric.
- Add turmeric to rice instead of saffron in paella and Spanish rice.
- Include up to a teaspoon of turmeric in your favorite pea soup recipe.
- Add turmeric to stews and casseroles.
- A touch of turmeric works very well in lentil dishes.
Be careful! Turmeric will stain fingertips and countertops so try not to spill!