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Spice it Up: Turmeric

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice with an earthy, bitter, peppery flavor. It is not commonly eaten on its own, but mixed with many spices to make curry.

Aside from adding color to curry and other foods (it is used in conjunction with annatto to color cheese and can be found in mustard), this spice has some special medicinal attributes. It has been proven to have anti inflammatory properties. Its active ingredient curcumin, works in a very similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In fact the spice has been used in Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine to treat inflammatory ailments as well as an antiseptic for cuts and burns. Although it has been regarded as a medicinal spice in India and Asia for centuries, Western medicine has only recently begun to investigate turmeric - even the National Institute of Health is looking into this spice's ability to treat different types of cancer.

Fit's Tip: Sales for dietary supplements of curcumin are on the rise, but I think it is better to eat it in food (and much less burp inducing too). When cooking with curry I always add extra turmeric to my spice mix to reap the benefits of this super spice.

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