Your spice rack is not just full of colour and flavour, it’s packing in health boosting properties too.
Likely to stain your fingers a mustard-y shade of yellow, turmeric is up there with the best of them.
It's even a favourite ingredient in teas (check out Pukka's Turmeric Gold and Cuppanut's Coconut, Ginger and Turmeric Infusion), juices and the latest craze, shots (try Imbibery's Turmeric Kick - it's a real wake you upper!).
Juice and Smoothie Brand Supernatural, who use it in their Citrus Kick recipe, say: "Turmeric is recognised as a superfood thanks to its powerful healing properties. It is known as an herbal alternative to anti-inflammatory and anti-depressive medications and can aid heathy liver function and. It is also a good spice to help curb the effects of a hangover."
Here’s why else it’s so good for you:
1. Kill cancer
The curcumin in turmeric has been found capable of killing cancer cells and able to slow the growth of tumours.
A pensioner with an incurable blood cancer is even reported to have remained stable for five years thanks to curcumin.
2. Soothe arthritis
“In a 2013 study, turmeric was shown to significantly reduce the severity of chronic joint inflammation in those with rheumatoid arthritis,” notes Abby Sauer, registered dietitian at Abbott.
“In addition, turmeric has been considered as a promising treatment to reduce osteoarthritis pain due to its anti-inflammatory benefits.”
3. Fight diabetes
“When taken daily, turmeric’s most prominent component, curcumin, has been shown to delay the development of type 2 diabetes in patients who were at high risk of developing the disease,” says Sauer.
4. Deal with depression
Along with certified medical and psychological help, “turmeric has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms, and boost patient’s treatment success,” explains Sauer.
5. Avoid heart attacks
Those at risk of heart attack tent to suffer plaque build-up, known as atherosclerosis, in their arteries.
“Turmeric has been found in animal studies to prevent blood clots from building up along artery walls, which could give patients with atherosclerosis a significant chance to reduce their risk of a heart attack,” says Sauer.
6. Tackle gut conditions
In patients with ulcerative colitis in remission, says Sauer, “turmeric was found to noticeably assist conventional medical treatment to keep patients in remission”.
7. Limit reflux
“Turmeric’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to reduce inflammation in the oesophagus,” which can cut the effects of reflux after eating, says Sauer.
8. Lower your cholesterol
That good old curcumin in turmeric has also been found to help balance out cholesterol levels.
9. Pain relief
Traditionally turmeric has been used as a natural painkiller, and have even been shown to mimic the effects of steroids.
Turmeric is perhaps best known in herbal medicine for its anti-inflammatory activity. As inflammation is nearly always the cause of pain, reducing inflammation can help relieve pain.
Renowned medical herbalist and Ayurvedic practitioner Sebastian Pole of Pukka comments: "Turmeric may be particularly helpful for joint pain – including in both common types of arthritis (rheumatoid and osteoarthritis). This makes it a popular choice for those with any inflamed, swollen and painful joint conditions, and a great all-rounder for helping to maintain healthy joints."