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The Truth About Turmeric

The Truth About Turmeric

Everywhere you look, you’ll find recipes that use turmeric—but just how healthy is this spice? Find out.

When the 13th century explorer Marco Polo visited China, he was captivated by the culture’s use of the bright yellow root vegetable turmeric, which he described as having “the properties of saffron, yet it is not really saffron.”

It was another 600 years until the hard-to-describe flavor of turmeric (musty, pungent, bitter, gingery, aromatic, orangey) became popular in the U.S. These days, Instagram-fueled fans advocate the spicy root and its active ingredient curcumin for everything from teas, smoothies and curries to cures for joint pain, gastrointestinal woes and cancer.

Recipes including turmeric are plentiful—and they’re flavor-licious. Add turmeric to your applesauce and oatmeal, sprinkle it in salad dressings or stir it into soups or stews. And check out Sanjay Gupta’s calming, creamy tea recipe at www.doctoroz.com.

Is turmeric a remedy for health problems?
Modern research into its healing powers is inconclusive and most positive studies have been done in the lab, not on people. If you do try supplements, the Cleveland Clinic says to “check the label for a product manufactured using phytosome technology. Combining phosphatidylcholine with curcumin results in a 29x improved absorption rate over standard curcumin extracts.” They also suggest building up slowly to a dose of 500 mg of turmeric—after you ask your doc if there are any contraindications with medications you take for your health.

In addition, www.doctorozshow.com advises—for supplements or cooking—that you grind or grate turmeric root yourself or look for bright yellow/orange powder. That’s the best way to avoid contamination with lead which has been found in many imported brands.

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