Turmeric is widely used in India as a spice and has been around for more than 4,000 years. It is a cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine and other traditional medicines from around the world. Turmeric is not spicy, as some people may think, but is used to add a rich flavor to foods.
It is the common ingredient in many curries. Grown as a root crop, it can be used as a root directly (as it often is in cooking) or converted to a powder for use as a spice. For example, turmeric seasons yellow curry at Thai restaurants and a variety of curry dishes at Indian restaurants. Commonly known as the “yellow-colored spice,” it is even used as a natural coloring agent in foods in the United States, for instance in French’s mustard and other products that have a yellow color.
When using turmeric as a food (or dietary supplement), one should take into consideration important factors such as whether it is synthetic, GMO, or grown with the use of pesticides and herbicides. Further, turmeric is available in many grades, ranging from very good to very poor. To get the benefits of turmeric, one must choose the right cultivar.
Turmeric is a very powerful adaptogenic and anti-inflammatory compound when grown and processed responsibly. Its many health benefits come from a powerhouse compound in its root: curcumin.
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