Just to set the scene, we grew up in an Indian family, and whether you liked it or not, turmeric was part of everyday life. If we had an upset stomach, we were given turmeric. If we cut ourselves, we were given turmeric. If we had a headache, yep, you guessed it, turmeric. You get the picture - turmeric was the antidote to just about everything. So why is it only now turmeric is trending?
The media has played a big role in its rise to becoming superstar in the spice world and has a big influence on what foods get talked about. Certain food trends come and go, but is turmeric just a trend? A holistic approach to living has certainly become more popular, peoples awareness of the effects of food on our bodies is a hot topic and because of this, certain foods are starting to get the recognition they deserve. Social media also helps determine what foods trend these days, for example Gywenth Paltrow’s post on her favourite turmericdrink certainly helped this spice get world wide recognition. There is lots of hype but what dos the research show?
Over 5,000 studies have been carried out recently with overwhelmingly positive results, which is great news for turmeric and people looking for a natural way to improve their health.
The western world's medicine is restrained by the reliance of research and proven theory; it's no surprise then that it has taken so long for us to recognise the health benefits of turmeric. The more research that’s done, the more the health benefits are proven and become fact, not just theory.
It's hard to come to terms with the fact that a tiny amount of this root can have such an impact on our bodies. Once you understand the ‘how’ and the ‘why’, it all becomes clearer. Turmeric has an active ingredient called curcumin; it’s what gives turmeric that beautiful golden colour and the healing properties everyone is raving about. To understand how curcumin works, you have to understand antioxidants, which curcumin has in abundance.
How often do you feel stressed? Have a glass of wine at the weekend? Indulge in unhealthy foods? Or, just don't get enough sleep at night? If you said yes to just one of these questions, your body will be producing free radicals (I know, they sound like the bad guys from a movie!) These free radicals cause damage by attacking and killing healthy cells. Antioxidants, which enter the body through the form of foods and spices such as turmeric, stop these free radicals by restoring their missing electron, which balances them out and stops them causing more damage to our healthy cells (I guess you could call them the superheroes); this is why antioxidants are such a vital part in our diet.
However, simply adding turmeric to our food doesn't do the trick; the body metabolises curcumin too quickly on its own for any nutrients to be absorbed. Combining it with black pepper and healthy fats allows the body to absorb all those amazing antioxidants, therefore maximising the health benefits.
More research into curcumin is being carried out to determine whether this little spice can combat more than 70 illnesses, some of which include cancer, heart disease, type two diabetes and Alzheimers. We will be looking into these claims in more detail in future posts, but for now, it’s safe to say that turmeric is trending for good reason. So get creative and experiment with how you can incorporate this amazing spice into your life.