Turmeric nutrition facts
Never mind if you have to stain your clothes turmeric stained, but make sure you add this exotic root-herb in the recipes. Its herb part actually is the underground spreading rhizome (root). Its roots as well as leaves have long been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicines for their demonstrated anti-inflammatory (painkiller), anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer properties.
Binomially, this popular herb belongs to the ginger or Zingiberaseae family of root herbs and the genus; Curcuma. Scientific name: Curcuma longa.
The herb is native to sub-Himalayan mountain region and now grown widely in many parts of the tropical and subtropical regions as an important commercial crop. The plant grows to a meter in length and bears aromatic miniature plantain like leaves.
Turmeric root features dark brown skin on the exterior and deep orange-yellow flesh internally. Its leaves as well as rhizome features unique flavor and fragrance. Taste is described as mild peppery to warm and bitter while its fragrance is sweet and pleasant, slightly reminiscent of a mix of orange-zest and ginger to which it is related. Once harvested, the root is boiled, dried, and ground to make the distinctive bright yellow spice powder.
Turmeric plants produce no seeds, and only reproduce via its spreading rhizomes.
Health benefits of Turmeric
The root has been in use since antiquity for its anti-inflammatory (painkiller), carminative, anti-flatulent and anti-microbial properties.
The herb contains health benefiting essential oils such as termerone, curlone, curumene, cineole, and p-cymene.
Curcumin, a poly-phenolic compound, is the principal pigment that imparts deep orange color to the turmeric. In vitro and animal studies have suggested the curcumin may have anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-arthritic, anti-amyloid, anti-ischemic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
This popular herb contains no cholesterol; however, it is rich in anti-oxidants and dietary fiber, which helps to control blood LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels.
It is very rich source of many essential vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B6), choline, niacin, and riboflavin, etc. 100 g herb provides 1.80 mg or 138% of daily-recommended levels of pyridoxine. Pyridoxine is used in the treatment of homocystinuria, sideroblastic anemia and radiation sickness. Niacin helps prevent "pellagra" or dermatitis.
Fresh root contains very good levels of vitamin-C. 100 of root compose of 23.9 mg of this vitamin. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and a powerful natural anti-oxidant, which helps the body develop immunity against infectious agents, and remove harmful free oxygen radicals.
Turmeric contains very good amounts of minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is an important co-factor for cytochrome oxidase enzymes at cellular level metabolisms and required for red blood cell (RBC's) productions.
Turmeric is one of the readily available, cheap herbs that contain notable phyto-nutrients profile. At 159277 µmol TE/100 g, its total-ORAC value or anti-oxidant strength is one of the highest among known herb and spice species.
100 g of turmeric provides : 53% of dietary fiber, (% of Recommended Daily Allowance, RDA per 100 g)
138 % of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
32% of niacin,
43 % of vitamin C,
21 % of vitamin E,
54 % of potassium,
517 % of iron,
340 %of manganese and
40 % of zinc.
but 0% cholesterol.
Just a few grams of turmeric per day either in the form of powder, crushed root or fresh root can provide enough nutrients to help you keep away from anemia, neuritis, memory disorders and offer protection against cancers, infectious diseases, high blood pressure and strokes.
Selection and storage
Turmeric plant can be easily grown at your home garden or as a potherb so that fresh roots and leaves are made available for use whenever the need rises.
In the herb store, however, fresh rhizomes are rarely available; in that situation, choose turmeric powder from the authentic manufactures since adulteration is not uncommon. Whenever possible, try to buy organic brand since this will give you some assurance that it has not irradiated and free from pesticide residues.
Fresh roots can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a month or so. Powder should, however, be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers.
Turmeric powder has been in use as a food colorant, natural food preservative and flavor base since ancient times. It is traditionally recognized as "Indian saffron" since its deep yellow-orange color is quite similar to that of the prized saffron.
Wash the fresh roots in cold running water or rinse for few minutes to remove any sand, soil or pesticide residues. Fresh powder can be prepared at home with the following simple steps: first, the root is boiled in the water, dried and then ground to get flavorful yellow colored powder.
In order to keep the fragrance and flavor intact, it is generally added at the last moment in the cooking recipes, because prolonged cooking might result in evaporation of its essential oils.
It is essential to be watchful while handling turmeric since its pigments can easily stain clothes and kitchen walls. To avoid a lasting stain, immediately wash any area with which it has made contact with soap and water.
Here are some serving tips:
It is a natural food preservative. The paste is used to marinate fish, chicken, and meat to enhance shelf life and particularly to offset the stingy smell of fish.
In India, sun dried roots mixed with other spices, curry leaves, peppers, etc., and then gently roasted and ground to prepare a curry-masala powder.
Turmeric powder complements well with any vegetable or meat preparations and mixes nicely with other spicy powders and herbs, enhancing the flavor and fragrance of the dishes.
It has been used in the preparations of soups, salad dressings and has been found application in food industry like canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, etc.
Turmeric-tea is a popular drink in Okinawan population and in many Asian countries.
Turmeric leaves are added to flavor sweet dishes (rice-milk payasam) and ghee (melted butter) in some parts of South India, Thailand and other South Asian regions.
Research studies have suggested that Curcumin, a poly-phenolic compound, found in this herb may inhibit the multiplication of tumor cells, including multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer, and colon cancer.
It contains health benefiting essential oils such as termerone, curlone, curumene, cineole, and p-cymene. These compounds have applications in cosmetic industry.
Curcumin, along with other antioxidants, has been found to have anti-amyloid and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus; it is effective in preventing or at least delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The root herb contains no cholesterol; however, it is rich in anti-oxidants, and dietary fiber. Together, they help to control blood cholesterol levels, offer protection from coronary artery disease and stroke risk.
Early laboratory studies have been suggestive that turmeric is liver protective, anti-depressant, anti-retroviral effects.
It has been in use since a very long ago as an important ingredient in traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicines for its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, carminative, and anti-flatulent properties. (Medical disclaimer).
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