[Eating Rainbow | Yellow | Turmeric]
We’re just going to jump right into the health benefits of turmeric because we have no childhood trauma, no adulthood drama, no history with the spice that could be the beginnings of a turnaround introduction to the darker, spicier cousin of the ginger family.
The health benefits of turmeric are a little bit different from most of the rainbow colored foods we’ve been eating, which have been largely fruits and vegetables with much of their health benefits int he form of fiber, vitamin and mineral nutrition. Turmeric offers some, though unremarkable, nutritional value like manganese and vitamin B6, but the real health benefit bang of turmeric is how “anti” it is.
Tumeric is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant.
Turmeric is Anti-inflammatory
For thousands of years, turmeric has been used in eastern medicine, specifically for its anti-inflammatory effects. While the oil in turmeric has some anti-inflammatory properties, it is actually the bright yellow-orange pigment, curcumin, that is the more potent contributor to the spice’s ability to fight inflammation. Some studies have shown curcumin to be as powerful as anti-inflammatory drugs like hydrocortisone and ibuprofen, but without the side effects.
Turmeric is an Antioxidant
Curcumin has been shown to have powerful anti-oxidant properties, which means it neutralizes free radicals in the body, the little things that cause everything from premature aging to cancer to liver and heart diseases.
If we didn’t know any better (and honestly, we don’t), we’d call turmeric a Super Spice. In fact, we probably should have taken the entire Yellow week of Eating Rainbow and dedicated it to turmeric, adding it to any- and everything to turn it bright yellow. Oh, did we mention that turmeric has the Midas touch? Literally, even a pinhead-sized amount can stain something bright, golden yellow.
There are turmeric pills out there, and we’ve read all those somewhat miraculous accounts like a doctor’s article in Time about the the little, yellow, totally different turmeric pills that helped one of his patients bounce back (literally) from two hip replacement surgeries. We are most certainly not opposed to taking turmeric powder in capsule format, but for now, like doctor of integrative medicine Andrew Weil, we like using the simple excuse of turmeric as a cooking spice to eat more of delicious things like Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower.
Besides, it seems that taking turmeric or curcumin by itself (i.e. in pill form) is not as effective as it could be because, as Dr. Weil mentions, curcumin by itself is not very well absorbed in the GI tract. However, according to a feature on Men’s Health, curcumin’s “bioavailability” increases 1,000 times when it is paired with black pepper.
Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower
Cauliflower specifically has been called out as tumeric’s partner in crime-fighting prostate cancer, making this dish even better than we thought.
serves 6 as a side dish
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1½ teaspoons turmeric
1 head cauliflower, cut into extra small florets, about the size of marbles (save all parts of the stems for something else like mashed faux-tatoes or pureed soup)
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
black pepper to taste
chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, ginger, and turmeric. Add cauliflower and toss until florets are evenly coated. Season with salt and black pepper.
Place cauliflower in a single layer on lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast until brown at edges and tender, about 20 minutes. Toss with fresh cilantro right before serving.
We served our Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with quinoa.