As with any new “super food”, buzz starts to generate around a particular food item and then everyone goes nuts with it. First it was flax, then kale, then acai and now the new super food craze is over turmeric.
If you don’t know, turmeric is a relative of the ginger family and is a root that gets ground into a powder used for cooking and flavoring. It can also be grated like ginger.It’s earthy flavor lends itself to savory and cultural dishes but it can also just add a bit of dimension to basic recipes. I added it to my usual greek style chicken dish and it changed the dynamic of it in a subtle way. Some categorize turmeric as a “powerful medicine”. Once I started reading all the benefits I thought it would be something worth adding to my diet.
- It’s an anti-inflammatory. Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds that are known to be beneficial in relieving many conditions including arthritis.
- Studies claim it can be beneficial in preventing cancer. Turmeric’s powerful antioxidant (polyphenol) properties can fight free radicals that are responsible for cancer growth.
- May help with indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn.
- Boosts levels of a hormone in the brain that increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain. There have been studies to suggest curcumin (from turmeric) helps in the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Boosting that same brain hormone (BDNF) can help combat depression as well.
What Do I Do With It?
Turmeric’s health benefits are best obtained by pairing it with certain food that help with absorption. Black pepper or healthy fats can be great companions. You can add it to eggs, salad dressings or rice dishes, chicken, fish. It is especially great paired with cauliflower. I have added it to a recipe recently that has turned out delicious.
- 6 chicken breasts (or 3 large ones)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 lemons
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
Place chicken in a seal-able glass dish and marinate for 1-2 hours in mixture of: olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, salt, pepper, oregano, turmeric and garlic. Preheat oven to 350º. Arrange chicken breasts in a glass baking dish and dump the remaining marinade over chicken. Top with diced onion, artichokes and slices of lemon. Bake for 35-40 minutes until juices run clear and center of chicken is no longer pink.
Makes 6 servings.
I am new to cooking with turmeric, I’d love to try YOUR ideas and recipes if you have been using this spice in your cooking!