East meets West…or at least they are starting to in the culinary sense. Commonly used in Indian households, turmeric (a member of the ginger family) is considered a staple spice in most Indian curry dishes. It has been known to have anti-septic effects (commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine) in addition to providing a beautiful yellow color to Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, among others. In a recent study, curcumin, the active medicinal compound in turmeric, was found to reduce obesity as well. This should be welcome news to the Western world where the use of turmeric is starting to gain in popularity.
And with the obesity epidemic becoming a national concern, any news related to help curb this problem is good news. With obesity comes a host of other medical problems, like diabetes, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular diseases. The anti-inflammatory property of curcumin was found to prevent the maturation of fat cells as well as reduce the inflammation associated with the development of obesity. It also caused a reduction in cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels, both of which are related to obesity.
As a staple in Eastern cooking that has been around for generations, it seems advisable to incorporate it into western cooking habits. Not only is it a low cost addition to your pantry, but also one that will likely come with several health benefits as well.
Turmeric can be found in most grocery stores in the spice aisle in the root or powder form. If you have an Indian grocery store near you, you will definitely find it there as well and likely for a much better price since it is used so much in Indian cooking. It can also be bought online as well through retailers like Amazon. To get you started, here are a couple of recipes for sesame yogurt pasta salad and Rajasthani buttermilk curry found on 101 Cookbooks. You can also start experimenting by mixing it into your savory dishes, likes eggs, tofu and vegetables.
Not only is curcumin a low cost addition to your pantry, but also one that will likely come with several health benefits as well.