Turmeric is not just a spice used extensively in Indian cuisine. It is a wonder spice, a super food. What most of us have forgotten is that its medicinal properties enable it to promote fine health, reduce aches and pains, cleanse the blood, and fight disease. Few people realize that turmeric can elevate the mood, and boost the brain’s ability to function too. Like the ginger, the edible part of turmeric is the root of the plant curcuma longa. Typically, this root is dried and powdered for use.
Winter is the season when people of all ages tend to fall ill, but children and the elderly become especially susceptible to every kind of infection blowing in the wind. Keep in mind that turmeric’s anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties aid in boosting the overall functioning of your immunity system. Typically, people use the branded powdered turmeric. However, if it is practicable for you to get fresh turmeric; then the best way to eat it is to have it raw. Add turmeric to pickles, relishes, sauces, ketchups, and hummus to use as bread spread, dressing for salads, sandwiches, and burgers, or simply as a dip with fritters.
Wash, peel, and chop an inch long piece of raw turmeric. Add it to a bowl of soaked black Bengal gram, and a bit of jaggery. Eat this mixture on an empty stomach in the morning. It will clean impurities in your blood; improve the hemoglobin count; and lower cholesterol levels. Often, turmeric is instrumental in weight loss and management, while helping to ward off cardiac issues. Curcumin in the turmeric improves the function of the endothelium, the lining of your blood vessels, to regulate blood pressure, reduce blockages in the blood vessels by preventing blood clotting; thereby aiding heart health.
Get a healthier liver: Further, turmeric improves the liver’s health by way of producing enzymes that aid in detoxifying the body, and improved blood circulation.
Turmeric works wonders for your skin. In winter, skin care becomes doubly necessary as the dry weather serves to sap all moisture from the top layer of the skin, resulting in cracked skin, and an extra layer of dead skin. Make a whipped paste of turmeric, honey, and milk to exfoliate dead skin. When you apply this paste to your face, neck, hands, and other parts of the body; you rehydrate your skin simultaneously. However, many people experience breakouts when they use cold creams or oils to lubricate their skins. In such cases, you can get glowing skin by blending a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric powder into a tablespoon of fresh aloe vera gel, and applying that paste to your face. Wash off after 15 minutes. Depending on the gravity of the breakout, your skin will begin to show results within two weeks to a month.
Make the most of the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric to ease all those nasty aches and pains. It has an active component called curcumin which relieves pain as effectively as prescription pain killers. In many Indian households, it is still the practice to give a glass of warm milk in which turmeric has been mixed to ease pains whenever a person has sustained a muscular injury. There is virtually no difference in that glass of haldiwala doodh, and the turmeric latte you buy at Starbucks except the price. Whether you add it to veggies, soups, and curries; blend it into a smoothie; flavor rice with it, especially lemon rice; take it with honey, or simply mix it with milk to reap its benefits; it becomes a win-win situation as turmeric adds to the taste and visual appeal while healing you. It is vital to remember that curcumin requires a pinch of black pepper powder, and some fat like ghee to be properly absorbed in the blood.
You can also use turmeric powder as an anti-allergen to prevent colds and coughs, which are so very common during winter. It helps in keeping asthma under control in the winter as it helps in keeping the lungs clear. If you, or a loved one have been suffering from such serious coughs that sleeping, especially at night, becomes a challenge, and none of the medicines, including anti-tussive syrups, seem to be working; then there’s a simple solution. Try dissolving a teaspoonful of turmeric, and a pinch of salt in half a teacup of lukewarm water, and drink it just before going to bed. You will be astonished at awakening next morning without coughing all night. Turmeric’s anti-fungal properties make it an excellent antiseptic. Traditionally, a turmeric paste is applied on the affected area in case of injuries.
Make your own health tonic: Add fresh turmeric to ginger, honey, and two Indian gooseberries. Run it through the liquidizer. You can add a pinch of black salt, a sprig of mint leaves, a diced carrot, and a teaspoon of fresh lime juice to it to make delicious drink filled with immunity boosting and antiallergen goodness.
Take advantage of the antioxidants in turmeric to stay healthier, and look younger longer. Antioxidants are so beneficial because they protect your body from free radicals which react with organic substances like fatty acids, proteins, or DNA to cause diseases, and hasten the aging process. Curcumin stimulates the activity of your body’s own antioxidant enzymes, while blocking free radicals. Antioxidants keep your skin glowing. You can dazzle people with your pearly whites if you crush fresh turmeric and blend with olive oil, and clean your teeth with the paste thrice a week. Get rid of dandruff and dry scalp issues by adding turmeric to your oil before shampooing your hair.
Curcumin can increase brain levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) ― a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain. Decreased levels of BDNF is linked with the onset of brain related ailments like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Regular intake of turmeric can delay, and in some cases even reverse, brain decay, and impaired brain functions. Studies show that curcumin can help clear amyloid plaques which are a buildup of protein tangles, and are a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease. If children are given turmeric from a very young age, then the chances are that they will grow up smarter.