Turmeric is not a popular spice in the US, but it has very powerful health benefits that should not be ignored. It has been used for thousands of years in India as a medicinal herb, and is what gives curry its signature yellow color. Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and a very strong antioxidant.
It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions. Incorporating anti-inflammatories into our diet is critical.
I try to sprinkle turmeric in most of my sautés and soups to give my meals a nutritional, anti-inflammatory boost. However, if you are really looking to get a concentrated dose of curcumin, you can take it in capsule form. This allows you to get all the benefits without having to alter the taste of your food much. Be aware that it is poorly absorbed in the blood stream, but absorption may be improved by eating it with a healthy fat (it is fat soluble).