spices and condiments

Turmeric – The Antiseptic Food

Native to india and Pakistan, and other south Asiatic tropical regions, Turmeric is known as Golden spice. As old as harrapan civilization aroud 3000 b.c.  turmreric has its place in our kitchen. Its not just give bright yellow colour to curries, but also works wonders inside the body, it is great blood purifier, anti viral, anti septic, anti bacterial and beautifying agent. Its has wide variety of uses, in the kitchen as condiment to dying agent for fabrics, herbal agent in cosmetic, medicines to preservative. Lets know the turmeric better.

Nutritional Profile (100 g):

 

Energy:  349 kcal

Carbohydrates:  69.4 g

Protein: 6.3 g

Fat: 5.1 g

Calcium: 150 mg

Phosphorus: 282 mg

Iron: 67.8 mg

Other minerals: 3.5 g

Fibre: 2.6 g

Medicinal and curative properties:

The active ingredient of turmeric is ‘Curcumin’ which has many therapeutic effects. It is anti oxidant, anti inflammatory agent, anti carcinogenic agent.  It has been used for thousands of years as a safe anti-inflammatory in many ailments as part of Indian traditional medicine – Ayurvedic medicine is a more than 3,000 year old comprehensive medicine system. Curcumin is also an antioxidant that helps to stabilize membranes damaged by inflammation.

It is taken as a dietary supplement, which helps in stomach problems and other ailments, its best remedy for cough and throat infection.

Turmeric stimulates digestion, supports the liver, and reduces intestinal permeability.

According to recent research results the component curcumin causes degradation of the human protein p35 which is responsible for removing damaged cells that are likely to become tumors.

Several studies indicate that curcumin slows the development and growth of a number of types of cancer including prostate cancer. Turmeric may also slow the rate at which hormone-responsive prostate cancer becomes resistant to hormonal therapy.

A project is funding to extract and isolate tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC) from turmeric by the Government of Thailand. THC is colorless compounds that might have antioxidant and skin lightening properties and used to treat skin inflammations, making these compounds useful in cosmetics formulations.

Several research studies indicate the ability of curcumin along with the genistein found in soy to inhibit the formation of cancer in breast tissue . Curcumin inhibits oral squamous cell carcinoma more effectively than either genistein or quercetin

Some of curcumin’s functions may lessen the risk of forming blot clots and reduce cholesterol levels.l

Curcumin can prevent kidney injury caused by adriamycin (drug commonly used in chemotherapy)

Curcumin has been used to combat the pain and swelling associated with athritis

Topical application of curcumin encourages wound healing and new skin formation.

Culinary uses:

It is typically used in curries in Indian and thai cuisine to give bright yellow colour and mustard like taste. It has wide range of use in canned beverages, ice-cream, yoghurts, yellow cakes, biscuits, sweets, cake icings, baked products, dairy products, popcorn-colour, cereals, sauces, gelatins etc. Although typically used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, like ginger. It has numerous uses in Far Eastern recipes, such as fresh turmeric pickle, which contains large chunks of soft turmeric.

How to choose best?

You can use turmeric in two ways:

  1. Fresh root: chose the fresh root, that should have dried and shining skin. Wrinkled and dull skinned root would be more perishable and it has less juice and bitter like taste.
  2. Dried powder: Rajapori and Selam are two best varieties among 30 known varieties of turmeric powder. This will have bright yellow in colour and mustard like fragrance.

How to consume?

 

Fresh roots can be chopped and pickled in salt and lemon juice to increase shelf life, can be stored in a container and refrigerated , can be eaten upto 20-25 days. Or just finely chop and squeeze some lemon juice and take with your meals to aid digestion . Add pepper powder to it, since pepper helps the curcumin to absorb in the body twofold.

The powdered form is used in tempering and in curries and vegetable preparations.

When to avoid?

This herb is one of the rare spices has almost nil side effects, but yes one should take caution while taking supplements. It contains oxalates which can exaggerate the kidney or goal bladder stone problems so consult your physician before taking supplement.

To sum up, turmeric is really good at helping the human body in its fight against inflammation. You can easily get more in your diet by simply adding turmeric to your dishes.

 

 

 

About the author

Ami Paneri Upadhyay

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