Turmeric: Properties and Benefits
In India it is known and used by at least since 5,000 years, as medicine, spice and even color; turmeric belongs to the Zingiberacee family. These plants are herbaceous perennials, with rhizomes and grown mainly in tropical regions.
The plant is characterized by long and oval leaves, while the flowers are harvested in the ear.
Its name derives from the Persian-Indian and specifically from the word Koura Koum, which means saffron; infact this spice is also known as the Saffron of the Indies. Its rhizomes, which are part of the plant containing the active ingredients or drugs, are boiled for several hours and dried in large ovens, then crushed to yield a yellow-orange powder that is commonly used as a spice in cuisine of South Asia.
The spice which is derived from turmeric, as we said with a nice golden yellow color, contains hundreds of components, but scientific researchers attention has focused on one in particular: curcumin.
Other components of turmeric are represented by potassium, vitamin C, and 26% starch. Very important also the presence of essential oils that are able to stimulate the appetite and the formation of digestive enzymes.
Healing Properties and Benefits of Turmeric
Recent studies showed that curcumin should be useful to counter the emergence of at least eight cancers: colon, mouth, lungs, liver, skin, kidney, breast and leukemia. Turmeric is used in traditional Indian medicine and the Chinese as a detoxifying the body, especially the liver and as anti-inflammatory. These health properties that are attributed to the popular tradition to the turmeric are the same that are now confirmed by official medicine, after the numerous studies and discoveries that science has now officially confirmed.
The thing that has “captured” the attention of researchers is the fact that in Asian countries and particularly in India, where turmeric consumption is high, the incidence of cancer is very low. Very interesting antioxidant properties of curcumin that are able to convert free radicals into harmless substances for the body and of course to slow the cellular aging of our heritage. Also very good healing action of curcumin, in India the rhizome of turmeric is applied to to heal wounds, burns, insect bites and skin diseases with very satisfactory results. Finally, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Research, turmeric have a key role in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer. It was also found that the effect of curcumin is even more evident when combined with an isothiocyanate present in vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli or cabbage turnip.
The plant from which is derived turmeric is that of Turmeric longa, a plant that lives between 20 and 30 degrees. The first world producer of turmeric is India with its Sangli city, south India, which represents the main center of production.
The turmeric powder is the ingredient that gives the characteristic color to curry, the taste is very delicate, while, on the contrary, the color remains unchanged over time. For this reason it is a substance that is widely used as dye in in the food, its code is E 100; foods such as cheese, yogurt, mustard, canned soups and several others are often colored with turmeric derivatives.
How to Use
To use healthy it is enough to integrate it into our daily diet. A couple of teaspoons a day is the ideal dose, may be added at the end of cooking many foods but you can also add it to several types of yogurt or make a sauce. It’s important to remember that turmeric must be taken with black pepper or green tea to facilitate absorption. Also the combination with some fat, like olive oil, butter, or whatever, facilitates the absorption of turmeric.
Did you know? A teaspoon of turmeric has 2 calories. In cosmetics turmeric is in the formulation of sunscreen products, anti-wrinkle, purifying and dandruff.
Curcumin is used as well as food coloring (E 100) as a dye for wool and silk and acid-base indicator such as alkaline environment in the color turns to red.
Unfortunately, as happens in many other fields, this spice is added, from dubious companies, to “stretch” the most expensive saffron in this case, fortunately, given the healthful properties of turmeric, there are no problems.
This spice is usually sold in powder form. In this case it should be kept inside a sealed glass jar in a cool, dry place to maintain the flavor longer, it is good that the jar is transparent so as not to provide light that would damage the property of “precious” dust.
Preparation of Turmeric Oil
This oil can be used to replace the olive oil in all its uses; beneficial in liver and fat metabolism in general.
Ingredients for 50 cl. of oil:
50 cl. of extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons turmeric powder
Put the oil and turmeric in an airtight jar and mix well until you have the complete amalgamation of the two ingredients. Soak it all remembering to shake the container once a day.
After seven days does not shake the jar and decant it into a glass bottle, avoiding to bring down the turmeric that in the meantime will be deposited on the bottom.
Thanks to the remarkable oxidizing power is also called “oil of youth”.
Turmeric: properties and benefits
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