Spices of the World
Welcome to Taste Fitness weekly blog, each week we will be taking a look at the herbs and spices of the world to examine their origins and health benefits and to share a simple, nutritious, delicious recipe so that you can try it out for yourself; this week we are taking a closer look at the world of Turmeric.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric root has been cultivated for over 5,000 and is believed to go as far back as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and is actually a member of the Zingiberaceae, or Ginger family, It is known for its vivid orange/yellow colour and because of this is often used as a dye. Turmeric was mostly grown on the Indian subcontinent but since it's discovery it has spread across much of Asia, including China, across Africa and even to the shores of the UK and is now widely used in cooking for it's robust, earthy, bitter, almost pepper like flavour.
Many believe that this herb is actually associated with the divine because apart from it's appearance and it's flavour it also has impressive healing properties and is known to be used as a medicinal plant. The list is quite impressive and includes the treatment of wounds, digestive problems, abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory system, gas, coughs, menstrual irregularities, arthritis and also to purify the blood. In modern times a lot of research has been carried out to determine the actual health benefits of this plant and according to studies carried out by UCLA researchers there is actually evidence that a daily helping of curcumin which is the substance found within Turmeric can actually improve the memory of people with mild, age-related memory loss. It also has the potential to positively impact the microscopic plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimers disease and so aid better cognitive performance.
In blind trials carried out over 18 months it was found that people who took curcumin showed significant improvements in memory function when performing memory tests and it seemed there was quite an improvement in the general mood of the subjects compared to those who took placebos. More recent studies have even shown that this amazing little herb can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (spread of cancer), as well as contributing to the death of cancerous cells. The results of these studies are incredibly encouraging but it would suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could actually provide meaningful health benefits over the years.
How to make Turmeric Tea
Turmeric is fast becoming an extremely trendy herb and it seems to be popping up in almost everything including teas and even smoothies. tea is a very popular way of consuming turmeric, it has a unique but subtle flavor and is a great way to reap the health benefits of turmeric. If you want to try it's benefits as a tea then all you need to do is follow this simple recipe:
1. Bring four cups of water to the boil.
2. Add a teaspoon of ground turmeric and reduce to a simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
3. Strain the tea through a tea strainer or a fine sieve into a cup and then add honey and/or lemon to taste.
4. To aid absorption into the body it helps to add a pinch of black pepper to the tea.
Cooking with Turmeric
Although most people would typically associate Turmeric with Indian curry's it is actually an extremely versatile herb and can be added to almost anything but is particularly good with potatoes, scrambled eggs, homemade hummus, lentils, rice or even vegetables.
This weeks recipe - Turmeric Scrambled eggs.
Add a splash of coconut oil to a non-stick pan and place over a medium heat. Add Garlic to pan and lightly fry , then add spinach leaves and allow to wilt for a few minutes. (Tip - if the leaves begin to stick simply add a splash of water to the pan).
Then, whisk the eggs together with the coconut milk and ground turmeric, add salt and pepper to taste. Add the mix to the pan together with the spinach and garlic and stir continuously for 5-7 minutes or until the eggs have scramble to your desired consistency and then serve on freshly toasted wholegrain bread.....Delicious!!
Nutrition per serving.
kcal 401 - fat 19g - saturates 9g - carbs 31g - sugars 2g - fibre 2g - protein 25g - salt 1.4g
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