Throughout winter, I find myself craving more vegetables and deep flavours, resulting in frequent one-dish vegetable pot dinners, such as this. I enjoy chopping the gorgeous, colourful vegetables, and I feel satisfied knowing that these delicious meals are packed with energy and healthy goodness. My favourite part is tossing in a mix of delicate yet powerful spices into the softened garlic and onion, marvelling at the tantalizing smells and flavours that less than a teaspoon of spices can create. I’ve always thought it was the carrots, or sweet potatoes, or lentils that are the nutritious superstars of such meals. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the real health superhero frequenting my dishes has been a humble spice, hiding out in my masala dabba.
Turmeric, often dubbed the saffron of India, is more than just a bright, earthy smelling spice that can bring wonderful colour to any meal, or permanently stain your favourite white shirt. Native to South Asia, turmeric is the root of the curcuma longa plant, and belongs to the ginger family. The plant is first boiled, then dried and ground to create the easily recognizable yellow powder. An active, antioxidant ingredient called curcumin is found in turmeric, and this is responsible for the powder’s distinctive colour, peppery taste, and dozens of health benefits. For centuries, turmeric has been used for its healing properties, and its regular consumption is known to help in numerous ways:
Turmeric is packed with antioxidants which help fight diseases, particularly cancer.
Anti-bacterial& Anti-inflammatory Properties
Curcumin boosts the body’s immune system and can speed up its healing abilities. It’s anti-inflammatory properties help delay the onset of arthritis, and ease joint point. Allergies, autoimmune diseases, heart diseases, or chronic illnesses such as asthma are also mitigated by turmeric, without any of the side effects one could experience from pharmaceutical alternatives. These benefits extend to skin ailments as well, helping soothe irritated skin and combat acne, dandruff, eczema, and so on.
Supports the Metabolism
Turmeric assists in the production of bile, which breaks down foods high in fat, assisting in weight loss and lowering cholesterol.
Supports the Liver
Turmeric increases the production of enzymes which break down toxins into materials the body can eliminate, thereby helping the liver detox the body.
Spice Up Your Life
If possible, purchase raw turmeric to grind at home, to ensure it is pure. If purchasing as a spice or powder, ensure you are buying one that has no additives, ideally one that 100% certified organic.
Most people associate turmeric as a staple of Indian cuisine. While it’s delicious in curries and rice dishes, there are other ways to incorporate turmeric into everyday meals. Adding even half a teaspoon to vegetable dishes can provide your immune system with a great boost. Mixing the yellow powder into scrambled eggs adds copious antioxidants into your meal. Stir a little bit with honey, fresh ginger and a squeeze of lemon into your tea and you’ve got a nutritional powerhouse in a mug. Or you can try my favourite way – simply add turmeric to a cup of heated almond milk, alongside cinnamon, powdered ginger, and honey, and relax with this luxurious tasting, yet healthy treat. There is no shortage of creative ways to incorporate this yellow superfood into your daily life – and the benefits are extraordinary!
Credits: Photos by Karolina Zych, lettering by Linda Dieschbourg