Steal This Health Secret: Turmeric

Is it really a cure-all?

Add color, flavor, and disease-protection to meals with this versatile spice.

All About Turmeric

  • Where it’s popular: India. This bright-yellow spice, a key ingredient in curries, is used to treat everything from a runny nose to chest pain in traditional Asian medicine.
  • Why you should try it: Small studies have found that curcumin, a component of turmeric, cuts cholesterol; animal research suggests it inhibits tumor formation. Now more than a dozen studies in humans are investigating whether it protects against cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.
  • How to use it: Heat a little oil in a sauté pan, and toss in a tablespoon of turmeric, a dash of salt, and a generous pinch of black pepper (pepper can increase your uptake of curcumin by up to 2,000 percent). Stir for a minute, then add vegetables, shrimp, scallops, or thin strips of meat for a sunny-colored dish with earthy, peppery accents.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest