Turmeric is one of my favorite spices. I honestly think it makes pretty much any savory dish better, from carrot salad to egg-less omelets; a nice sprinkle of turmeric goes a long way. Turmeric powder (the form most of us are familiar with) is made from the dried root of the Curcuma longa plant.
Vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients in turmeric:
Manganese, iron, vitamin B6, potassium.
Potential Health Benefits of Turmeric:
The phytochemical curcumin (the yellow or orange pigment in turmeric) is thought to be one of the main sources of turmeric’s medicinal properties; it is at the very least one of the most studied nutrients in turmeric. (But as with all beneficial foods, we recommend using turmeric in its whole spice form.)
1. Anti-Inflammatory: Turmeric’s volatile oils (essential oils) and the phytochemical curcumin have been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
“In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin.” –whfoods.
And thankfully when you’re spicing up your curry with turmeric you don’t have to worry about ulcers, intestinal bleeding or any of the other side effects that the pharmaceutical drugs mentioned above may cause.
2. Relieves depression: A study out of Baylor University Medical Center has demonstrated that curcumin may be nearly as powerful as Prozac for relieving symptoms of depression. Further studies are needed to confirm this study’s findings, but the initial reports are hopeful. 
3. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Curcumin, along with being an excellent and safe anti-inflammatory, is also a powerful anti-oxidant. These two properties combine to create an excellent recipe for relief from joint discomfort. In studies comparing curcumin use with phenylbutazone (a common anti-inflammatory drug), curcumin produced comparable improvement in mobility, swelling and morning stiffness.
4. Cancer Prevention: Curcumin and turmeric as a whole food have been widely studied in relationship to cancer prevention and treatment. These studies have suggested that components in turmeric could possibly help prevent/treat everything from skin cancer to childhood leukemia.
Just some of what the research has suggested thus far (refers to studies/research done on curcumin unless otherwise noted):
- Inhibits the growth of skin cancer (melanoma)
- Protects colon cells from free radicals
- Helps the body to destroy mutated cancer cells
- Enhances liver function, inhibiting the synthesis of certain proteins needed for tumor formation
- Has been linked to lower rates of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer (Research looked at the frequent use of turmeric in one‘s diet.)
- Slows the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs, when breast cancer is already present
- Turns off genes associated with tumor growth
- Suppresses cancer cell proliferation and promotes apoptosis (cell self destruction) in cancerous cells
- Reduces the risk of developing childhood leukemia (Research looked at foods spiced with turmeric.)
- Inhibits the carcinogenic chemicals created by the burning of carbon-based fuels
- Inhibits radiation-induced chromosome damage
- Irreversibly inhibits the multiplication of leukemia cells (in a cell culture.)
Next: Protection against Alzheimer‘s disease and more!