Curcumin, an active compound in the well-known spice tumeric, has many health benefits that go beyond simply tasting great.
Curcumin provides anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant benefits. In India, curcumin is used to prevent infection from cuts and burns as it promotes healing and stimulates recovery. Because it provides anti-inflammatory benefits, curcumin is also used as a supplement to alleviate symptoms caused by various inflammatory bowel diseases.
In Chinese medicine, curcumin is believed to improve the function of the liver, regulate womens’ menstrual cycles, and relieve arthritis pain. Some researchers suggest that curcumin can stimulate the immune system as it activates the T-cells, B-cells, nuetrophils, macrophages, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells.
What are the sources of curcumin?
Curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric; bright yellow food often contains tumeric. These include:
Mustard – Turmeric is often added to mustard, providing its yellow pigment.
Indian food – Turmeric is readily available and abundant in Indian food.
Curry – Thai cuisine is known for their famous curry dishes. Curry, in general, contains curcumin from turmeric, which again provides a bright yellow color.
Turmeric is a staple spice in Indonesia. Dried leaves of turmeric are pounded into powder. Examples of Indonesian cuisine that contain turmeric/curcumin include: yellow rice (Nasi Kunig), Beef Rendang, Chicken Satay and Chilli Paste.
Caribbean food – Caribbean cooking is often blended with curries that are rich in curcumin. This includes pumpkin curry, among others.
Staples – You might be surprised to learn many staples provide a curcumin fix: eggs, fish, fresh meat, and their by-products. You can also get it from essential oils, fats, and edible ices. Some food products such as cereal products, soups, sauces, protein shakes, and beverages may also contain curcumin. Read labels!