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Spice up your cooking with turmeric
Turmeric is a golden colored culinary spice used often in curry dishes. It gives mustard that bright yellow shade and has been commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for its health properties.
Research shows turmeric may be effective for improving an upset stomach and for reducing osteoarthritis pain. In some studies, the effectiveness of the herb compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals, according to a National Institutes of Health report.
Other early evidence suggests benefits for Alzheimer’s disease, colorectal cancer, gum disease, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other diseases. However, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database reports that it is too soon to rate the effectiveness of turmeric for these conditions.
“Turmeric’s benefits are attributed to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action,” said Dr. Pam Duitsman, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
Curcumin, a constituent of turmeric, is also believed to have anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antioxidant properties, according to early findings from animal and lab studies.
“The best news is that turmeric is a spice that offers dishes a delicious subtle earthy flavor, and can accomplish its health-promoting work with virtually no adverse side effects,” said Duitsman. “It is easy to reap the health benefits of turmeric by cooking with it, rather than taking it as a supplement.”
Duitsman recommends experimenting with turmeric by adding a pinch to recipes like vinaigrettes, pizza dough, rice dishes, eggs and egg salad, sautéed vegetables, lentils, soups, smoothies, etc.
Try this salt-free herb blend from the University of Missouri Extension. Use this blend in place of commercial mixes.
Yield: one-half cup
- 2 tablespoons turmeric
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon powdered cloves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Combine the ingredients in a jar.
- Cover tightly and shake.
*Keep in a cool, dark, dry place.
Source: Dr. Pam Duitsman, 417-881-8909
Last update: Tuesday, May 26, 2015