Hacking Your Diet With Herbs and Spices

Turmeric: For Pain (and so, so much more)
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Turmeric: For Pain (and so, so much more)

This bright-orange powder is easy to get excited about, since turmeric (pronounced TUR-muh-rihk), is one of the most widely studied spices. A mainstay of Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used for inflammatory conditions, and preliminary evidence from clinical trials suggests it could help with arthritis and certain digestive disorders.

In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is not a licensed medicinal practice. However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (an arm of the federal government’s National Institutes of Health) recognizes preliminary studies showing how curcuminoids naturally present in turmeric may help reduce the number of heart attacks bypass patients had after surgery, and may control knee pain in osteoarthritis patients just as well as ibuprofen.

How to eat turmeric: Stir 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric into a cup of hummus. Add it to chicken salad, rice, seafood, roasted vegetables, marinades, and soup. You can drink it by way of turmeric lattes and teas. Check your cabinet for curry powder, too, since turmeric is a main ingredient in this blend used in curry dishes. Fresh turmeric root resembles gingerroot, but is orange inside.