Food is an important part of the attainment of healthy growth, functioning and balance of an organism. Man is no exception to this. The diet that we intake regularly has a direct impact on our overall health. Our cuisines have been designed in ways to replenish and nurture our health along with hunger satiation. The ingredients used in any dish play a vital role in contributing to its nutrient quotient.
Spices are an integral part of any meal. The use of these spices brings in a blast of flavor that not only tantalize our taste buds but also boost the nutritional value of the food we consume. Ayurveda has given an in-depth insight into the various activities that the spices have on our bodies.Turmeric commonly known as Besar is used on a daily basis in our meals. Basic nutritional aspects of turmeric include a 26% daily value in manganese and 16% in iron. It’s also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and healthy amounts of vitamin C and magnesium. Curcumin is the main active component in turmeric. Studies have revealed that curcumin contains powerful anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, antiseptic, antibacterial effects and is a strong antioxidant. Chronic inflammation is one of the main factors that cause diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and many other degenerative disorders.
The health benefits of turmeric include an improved ability to digest fats, reducing flatulence bloating, congestion, improve skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne, respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma, bronchial hyperactivity, allergy etc.) as well as for liver disorders, anorexia, rheumatism, wounds, cough and sinusitis. It is a bitter digestive and a carminative. It is a cholagogue, stimulating bile production in the liver which improves the body’s ability to digest fats.
Piperine, a component of black pepper, which has been shown to increase the absorption and effects of turmeric. Beta-carotene in carrots and pumpkins is better retained when those vegetables are cooked using recipes that include turmeric.
Ayurveda has classified Haridra in different categories according to its action. It has been put in Lekhaniya (scraping property), Kusthaghna (relieving skin ailments), Kandughna (relieving itchiness), Krimighna (de-worming action) and Shiro–virechan (relieving toxins from the head).It has Tikta Katu Rasa, Ushna Virya, Katu Vipaka and Laghu, Ruksha Guna that help in removing blocks through channels of the body and enables free circulation of nutrients and oxygen. It is Tridosha hara (balances all the Doshas of the body).
Turmeric is the most beneficial herb in diabetes. It quickly heals wounds and improves skin complexion as it is a natural detoxifier. It is Pinasha hara, Aruchi nashaka and Visha hara.
Some useful tips for the use of turmeric
- Mix 2 tablespoons of curd with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of honey for a soothing and cooling face mask. Wash off before it dries off completely.
- Apply a thick paste of castor oil, turmeric and a small amount of black pepper over the inflamed area.
- Apply a thin paste of aloe vera gel and turmeric to help calm itchy or burned skin.
- Consume a teaspoonful of turmeric roasted in ghee with milk to decrease episodes of congestion and coughing in bronchitis and allergic sinusitis.
- Consume a teaspoon fro the equal mixture of cumin, turmeric, black pepper, fennel and sugarcandy to help in digestion and cure bloating.