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Super Spice: 5 Surprising Uses for Turmeric

September 23, 2013

A regular sprinkle of this spice might help  ward off certain cancers; keep away inflammation; improve digestion and, according to a new study,  even be as effective as Prozac at treating major depression. Oh, and it makes a great curry. It’s turmeric, and if it’s not already in your pantry, you can find it at most major supermarkets. Turmeric’s unique compound, curcumin, is being  studied for even more potential benefits (according to Dr. Andrew Weil, Indians, who eat a lot of turmeric, were shown to have the world’s lowest rate of Alzheimer’s). Here are five ways to use it:

  • Sip this. Dr. Andrew Weil discovered that Okinawans—who live an average of 81.2 years—regularly drink the following tea. Boil four cups of water, add one teaspoon ground turmeric, simmer for 10 minutes and strain the brew. Dr. Weil recommends adding lemon and honey to taste. If you can find fresh turmeric and grate it, it’s ideal: try Indian or Chinese supermarkets.
  • Shake it on. Grilling meat? Try seasoning it with turmeric first. Researchers at Kansas State University found that it can reduce HCAs—cancer-causing agents that form when meat is cooked at high heat—by as much as 40%.
  • Flavor your oil. Sautéing? Shake some turmeric into the oil while it heats, and it will give a subtle, earthy flavor to your dish.
  • Add some color. Turmeric stains, and that can be a good thing! Whether you’re baking cupcakes or icing a cake, adding some turmeric will tint it sunshine-yellow…no artificial food coloring necessary.
  • Juice it. Turmeric root can be juiced for a spicy, refreshing beverage. Try this recipe from or try a ready-made juice from Temple Turmeric.

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