Turmeric, the ancient root related to the ginger family, has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. Recently, it's popping up everywhere in foods, supplements and teas as its varied health benefits continue to be discovered.
The medicinal compound in turmeric is curcumin, which is associated with reducing inflammation, relieving pain and arthritis, decreasing blood clots, aiding in digestion and detoxifying the system.
Native to Southeast Asia, turmeric creates a vivid golden-orange color when added to foods such as curries and soups. According to some health experts, turmeric is best used either taken as a supplement or as a ground spice added while cooking.
Dr. Naresh C. Rao, D.O., F.A.O.A.S.M. and Partner, Sports Medicine at Chelsea in New York City, recommends using turmeric for its healing properties.
"Cook with it as a spice for anti-inflammatory effect," says Rao. The sports medicine doctor adds that taking turmeric as a supplement can also be helpful for health. Rao has treated professional athletes and is the author of the forthcoming book, Step Up Your Game: The Revolutionary Program Elite Athletes Use to Increase Performance and Achieve Total Health (Sports Publishing; January 2016).
Currently, turmeric is even making its way into tea bags and popular snack foods.
Numi Organic Tea Turmeric Tea is the first full line of organic, non-GMO, Fair Trade Certified premium turmeric-focused blends on the market. The collection includes Three Roots, Golden Tonic, Field of Gold and Amber Sun. Turmeric is the primary ingredient in all four tea varieties. The turmeric is sourced from a farm in Madagascar, where Numi has contributed incremental funds to support this farm group's Fair Trade certification process, providing new tools for transporting materials from the farms to the processing factory.
Mary's Gone Crackers snacks are gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and organic. Superfood ingredients include organic sprouted buckwheat flour, chia seeds, quinoa flakes, mesquite flour and sprouted black bean flour. The new cracker thins include turmeric flavor and are made with organic, whole food ingredients.