Turmeric is a spice that originates from the root - Curcuma longa. It’s warm, earthy and somewhat bitter taste, makes it an incredible addition to curries, soups and mustards and is often used within traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic (Indian medicine) based cooking. You may recognise turmeric by it’s deep yellow colour and ability to stain your hands and clothing!
Not only is this potent spice both a colour and flavour enhancer, it also contains medicinal properties that provide a myriad of health benefits. These properties mainly refer to the bioactive constituents of turmeric, one of them being ‘curcumin’. Research has demonstrated that curcumin is able to inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory molecules whilst up-regulating the activity of certain anti-inflammatory molecules.
As for the benefits related to arthritis, there are many! Arthritis is an inflammatory based condition that leads to chronic pain, stiffness and discomfort. Turmeric’s ability to reduce inflammatory activity within the body therefore provides many potential benefits to aid in managing this condition such as reducing joint swelling and alleviating associated redness and pain.
How to add turmeric to your cooking
Incorporating turmeric into your diet is far easier than you may think. If you’re completely new to this spice and not sure where to begin, below you’ll find a handful of ideas ranging from breakfast through to snacks to get you started. Just before diving in to these suggestions, it’s important to keep in mind that the benefits of curcumin are enhanced by both the addition of black pepper and heat (i.e. cooking).
1. Breakfast - add 1 teaspoon to smoothies, oatmeal or chia pudding. If you’re not acquainted with the taste yet, I would suggest starting with perhaps 1/2 a tsp. Turmeric can also be added to scrambled eggs!
2. Lunch / dinner - as mentioned, turmeric is often added to curries, soups, dahls and stews. Next time you find yourself making a pot based dish, try incorporating a dash of turmeric.
3. Snacks - make a turmeric latte at home by mixing 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and cardamon with warm plant based milk and a touch of honey. You could also mix turmeric into a pot of yoghurt and top with nuts and seeds for a protein rich snack.
If you’re suffering from an inflammatory driven condition such as arthritis, adding this spice into your cooking would provide wonders to your overall level of wellbeing. For optimal benefits, aim to consume this spice daily.
‘Curcumin as “Curecumin”: from kitchen to clinic’ - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17900536/
‘Safety and efficacy of cur cumin cress diclofenac in knee osteoarthritis: a randomised open-label parallel arm study’ - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30975196/
‘Efficacy of turmeric extracts and cur cumin for alleviating the symptoms of joint arthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials’ - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27533649/