Why Turmeric Might Just Be The Healthiest Spice Of All Time



turmeric imageDr. Frank Lipman is an integrative and functional medicine physician, founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness in NYC, and the creator of Be Well By Dr. Frank Lipman. In his monthly column for R29, he'll talk about the latest health and wellness news; his favorite stay-healthy tips and tricks; plus answer your questions on how to be your healthiest, best self, every day.

In the world of herbs and spices, there’s one that leads the pack in terms of healing. Turmeric, an orangey-yellow spice that comes from a root in the ginger family, is used as a principle healing herb in Ayurvedic medicine, has powerful anti-inflammatory and immune supporting properties, and might just end up being the most important spice in your cabinet.

Why should you make turmeric an everyday staple in your kitchen? Turmeric is anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the root of many chronic diseases that cause our health to deteriorate — and curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, helps to reduce inflammation in the body. This means that it can help protect against cancer, decrease physical pain, reduce swelling, heal wounds, increase mental clarity, enhance intestinal health and regulate metabolism. In India, they eat turmeric every day and reportedly have some of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s in the world.

Turmeric is also high in antioxidants, which help protect your cells from free radical damage and can slow down signs of aging. It’s great for your skin and promotes healthy liver and joint function. It's one of the best spices you can use for better health and disease prevention, and it’s also delicious! Try sprinkling turmeric into foods like stir-fry, curries, soups, vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, or any dish you want to enhance with a little extra healing power. Need some recipe inspiration? Try this vegetable curry dish.

To supercharge turmeric's healing abilities, don’t skimp on the black pepper! When you mix turmeric together with black pepper you greatly enhance your body’s absorption of it. If you can find turmeric in root form, you can even juice it and add some lemon, lime, and honey for a delicious healing drink. Turmeric and curcumin can also be taken in supplement form if you want to get daily anti-inflammatory benefits — look for it at your health food store.

Photo: Via Dr. Frank Lipman.