If you blinked, you may have missed it! Yes, we're talking about turmeric's rise to healthy fame. Turmeric has gone from a superfluous spice to a must-have superfood, and now enjoys a premium spot in the cabinet of just about every wellness guru and in-the-know restaurant alike. But aside from giving every food it touches an illustrious golden glow, does this special spice really live up to the hype? A quick look at its nutrition and you may find yourself on the turmeric train, too.
Turmeric's Ancient Roots
Turmeric is a truly ancient food. With its use reported for thousands of years in India and Southeast Asia—and still among the most popular spices today—turmeric is used frequently in both cooking and Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric is one of the most ubiquitous ingredients used in common Indian meal prep. Its distinct warm, peppery flavor is widely favored and is used extensively in Indian cooking, which can be seen most commonly in Indian curries. Ayurvedic medicine practitioners often use turmeric as it is thought to strengthen the overall energy of one’s body. Milk boiled with turmeric and sugar is the go-to homemade cold remedy amongst Indian families. With the western world now recognizing turmeric for its medicinal properties, it is no surprise that more than 3,000 medical publications addressing turmeric’s vast health benefits were published within the last 25 years.
What Exactly is Turmeric?
Although most people consider it a root, the edible portion of turmeric is actually considered a rhizome, which is a root-like part of a plant that grows above ground. The papery skin on the exterior of the turmeric rhizome is mostly comprised of tasteless fiber, but peeling it away reveals a vibrant orange interior. The distinctive color inside is primarily due to the presence of a phytochemical called curcumin, which is at the core of turmeric's health benefits.
Turmeric Health Benefits
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is a strong anti-inflammatory nutrient, which has increasingly gained attention for its pain-relieving and healing potential in arthritic conditions and movement-related stress (whether from lifestyle or exercise). Traditionally, turmeric and its curcumin concentration have been used to support liver health, aid circulation, lower cholesterol, and build the blood. As a powerful antioxidant, turmeric also fights free radicals, and has impressive antibiotic properties, too. There are also benefits of turmeric for brain health, as some studies have shown improvements in brain function, such as memory and mood, through curcumin supplementation. Some turmeric is better than others, with the value really found within the curcumin concentration. Navitas Organics specially sources its Turmeric Powder with an immensely high saturation of the antioxidant to amplify the superfood's benefits naturally. Unlike a curcumin supplement, our certified organic Turmeric Powder contains curcumin in its natural food form. A third-party lab analysis found that Navitas Organic Turmeric Powder contains over 40% higher curcumin per serving when compared to another organic competitor. And lest we forget that turmeric is a whole food and not a supplement, the beautiful superfood contains many other “bonus” micronutrients as well, such as beta carotene, caffeic acid, vitamin C, and potassium.
Although the definitive studies exploring turmeric's potential are still progressing, one look at turmeric's incredible nutrient cocktail and it's hard to deny that golden glow is as powerful as it looks.
Turmeric Uses At Home
There are many ways to integrate turmeric into your diet. One of our favorite ways to start the day is with a cozy golden milk latte. Mix turmeric powder, almond milk, coconut oil, ginger, and black pepper to make a delicious latte loaded with anti-inflammatory benefits. If you’re short on time, try our convenient Turmeric Latte Mix–made from organic turmeric powder, coconut oil powder and spices–all with only 40 calories and three grams of sugar. Simply mix one packet or scoop with eight ounces of hot water, milk or milk alternative, and go! Looking to explore turmeric in cooking? Explore some our favorite turmeric recipes!