Five simple and delicious ways to get more of the super-root in your diet.
This article originally appeared on Health.com.
Turmeric is quickly becoming an “it” superfood. You’ve probably seen the ingredient all over Pinterest and Instagram in the form of golden-hues lattes, soups, and vegan ice cream. It was even called a “rising star” by Google Food Trends, since searches for turmeric jumped a whopping 56% in between November and January of last year. And as a nutritionist, I’m thrilled, since this healthy food trend is both delicious and backed by research.
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Turmeric, a root in the same family as ginger, has long been used as an anti-inflammatory compound in Chinese and Indian medicine. Its active ingredient, a yellow compound called curcumin, has been found to have antioxidant, antiviral, and anticancer properties in lab and animal studies. And although more clinical trials about the benefits of curcumin for humans are needed, it’s been linked to lower total cholesterol levels and improved liver function after liver disease or damage.
I eat turmeric almost every day, and advise my clients do the same—with a few caveats. First, I do not advocate taking turmeric supplements, unless they’ve been prescribed (and will be monitored) by a physician, especially for pregnant women. I also caution my clients against going overboard with turmeric root or powder. Too much has been linked to unwanted side effects, including reflux, low blood sugar, increased bleeding risk, reduced iron absorption, and worsened gallbladder problems.
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To reap turmeric’s benefits, here are some simple meal and snack ideas to help you get a healthy amount of the root in your diet.