Sure, it might seem like turmeric is popping up everywhere these days. And no wonder: aside from being delicious, this bright orange spice is crazy-good for you.
Turmeric has long been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to treat all kinds of conditions—from indigestion to infections to joint pain. And now, a couple thousand years later, science is starting to catch on.
Here’s a look at some of the seriously impressive reasons to consider reaching for the turmeric jar on a regular basis.
- It can ease joint discomfort.
Curcumin, an antioxidant in turmeric, boasts anti-inflammatory properties that have been found to help with joint pain and arthritis. In fact, one study found that turmeric supplements were just as effective at relieving knee osteoarthritis pain as ibuprofen.
- It can promote healthy digestion.
Curcumin prompts your gallbladder to release bile, which helps your digestive system break down food, say University of Maryland Medical Center experts. Findings even show that it can ease bloating and gassiness after a meal.
- It may promote a healthy heart.
Some research suggests that turmeric can help combat the buildup of waxy plaque in arteries that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
- It could help fight cancer.
Experts still have much to learn, but early findings suggest that curcumin’s ability to fight inflammation could play a role in preventing cancer, as well as slowing the growth of tumors, according to Mayo Clinic experts.
- It may promote brain health.
Though more research is needed, animal studies suggest that turmeric helps to repair stem cells in the brain. The benefit seems to come from another anti-inflammatory compound, called aromatic-tumerone.
How to eat more turmeric
Ready to turn up the turmeric in your cooking but aren’t sure where to get started? Get inspired by these simple, tasty ideas:
Make a spicy latte. We love this one from Nutrition Stripped, made with almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
Stir it into oatmeal. We like these tasty overnight oats from Bojon Gourmet.
Make turmeric tahini sauce. Everyday Maven’s rich, creamy dressing is delicious over salad, on grain bowls, or as a dip for veggies.
Toss it in a smoothie. Blend turmeric with mango, banana, and kefir like Love & Zest, and you’ve got breakfast.