tumeric benefitsThis golden wonder spice came into my radar during recent stints in Bali when I became rather fond of a local drink called jamu, made with fresh turmeric, ginger, tamarind and honey. Lately much has also been researched and written about the wonders of this intensely bright, pungent super food. Now known to effectively fight inflammation in the body – the number one underlying cause for all diseases from heart disease to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis – it seems it’s definitely worth paying attention to what turmeric has to offer. Silent inflammation in the body can go unnoticed for a long time so the key is to keep it under control before disease ever develops.

While recent medical research highlights turmeric’s ability to tackle inflammation, it has been used for centuries in Ayurveda for its antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. It can be used to treat a wide range of ailments from infections and wounds, coughs, respiratory problems, colds and flus, to parasites, candida and athlete’s foot, high cholesterol and even depression. And the research on its cancer-beating properties is quite outstanding. Apparently turmeric not only destroys cancerous cells but, unlike chemotherapy, doesn’t cause any harm to the healthy cells at all. Amazing. Is there no end to the healing powers of this plant??!

And it’s so easy to add into the diet. I fully believe in adding in as opposed to depriving ourselves when it comes to making beneficial changes to the diet. Psychologically it’s easier and over time you often let go of attachments to bad foods naturally by replacing them with good foods, instead of trying to force it. So while sugar and refined carbohydrates contribute to inflammation and it definitely makes sense to reduce these, if cutting out certain foods completely is too hard, try adding in instead. Amazingly I found that I crave sugar less since adding in this super spice in the form of a tonic (recipe below).

So what ways can you add turmeric in to your diet? The obvious one is in Indian food – it will definitely work in any sort of dhal or curry dish. You can also add it to most vegetable dishes, whether you fry, steam or roast them. What about soups, juices, and teas, even coffee – yep, all work with a dash of the yellow stuff! Many, many ways to experiment with adding it in, whether in its root form, very similar to ginger, or bought already in powder form. And if none of them are appealing it’s also available from health food stores in capsules these days, making it easy to take as a supplement.

My own personal tonic recipe that I drink almost every day is simply apple cider vinegar, water, and turmeric, and sometimes honey. Guaranteed it’ll get you going in the morning! For colds and flus try adding it to your ginger, lemon, honey tea for extra healing power. Or make your own soothing throat medicine with coconut oil, honey and turmeric mixed as a paste, swallowing a teaspoon a couple of times a day. One word of warning – turmeric powder stains so wash hands immediately after using it to avoid strange looking yellow fingers. Happy experimenting!