Turmeric – What is That?

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Published Saturday, May 12, 2018
by Abby Weber, CSU Extension Agent

Have you considered altering your diet in order to add more Turmeric?  There seem to be a number of individuals who have questions about this perennial flowering plant of the ginger family that contribute so greatly to our health.  Turmeric is usually consumed in a powder form or used as a spice.

Turmeric plants thrive in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent and have been used for over 5,000 years in traditional cultures thought the Eastern world.  Turmeric is a peppery-flavored spice that has a mild smell and a bright yellow-orange color - and is said to have the ability to remedy lots of illnesses.  

Nutrition

The USDA nutrition database says that one tablespoon of turmeric powder contains:

  • 29 calories
  • 0.9 grams of protein
  • 0.3 grams of fat
  • 6.3 grams of carbohydrates
    • 2 grams fiber

This same tablespoon of turmeric provides 26% of your daily manganese requirements, 16% of iron, 5% of vitamin B and around 5% of potassium, copper and fiber.  

Turmeric Color

Curcumin is what gives turmeric its yellow-orange coloring. Curcumin is the active ingredient found in turmeric.  It has been said that it may be a contributor to helping break down fat cells in your body; and, because of its natural anti-inflammatory agents, turmeric may help reduce joint and muscle pain.  Other positive effects of curcumin include aiding in digestion, lower cholesterol, relief of arthritis and cystic fibrosis symptoms, prevention of some cancers, and lower blood pressure.

Cooking with Turmeric

Try adding this simple spice to your diet by tossing it in a favorite dish.  Our family adds turmeric in a family favorite roasted cauliflower and tomatoes.  We toss cauliflower, cut into florets and halves of cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt, turmeric and cayenne pepper. We baked these veggies in a shallow baking pan until tender.  

Recipe

1/4 C Olive Oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 tsp ground turmeric powder

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

2 C vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix oil, sea salt, turmeric, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Place cut cauliflower and halved tomatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with 1/2 of the oil mixture; toss to coat well. Repeat with remaining oil mixture. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a foil-lined shallow baking pan.  Roast 40 minutes or until cauliflower is tender, stirring halfway through cooking time.  Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.  

Other Resources:  http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/nutrition-news/nutrition-news-easy-steps-to-make-your-diet-anti-inflammatory/

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric/ataglance.htm#hed1

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306981.php