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11 months ago
Health benefits of fresh turmeric and ways to use it

Long known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, fresh turmeric is an essential part of Indian cooking. From rendering that bright yellow colour to our classic, signature Indian dishes to the famed golden latte, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one unique constituent superfood with unique properties. Amrita Parab, Nutritionist at Digestive Health Institute by Dr Muffi answers top 10 FAQs regarding fresh turmeric.

#1: What are the different ways of using turmeric root?

Fresh turmeric can be used in the form of:

  • Juices and smoothies – Turmeric root has a strong flavor and texture due to its fibre content. It can be blended and used in smoothies with sweeter ingredients which can mask its taste
  • Cooked foods – Fresh turmeric can be used in place of powder. One tablespoon of grated turmeric root is equal to one teaspoon of powdered one. It can be added to gravies, meat marinades, stir-fries and roasted vegetables.
  • Tea – It can be paired with other strong-flavored teas like ginger tea/jasmine tea or made as a separate tea with only turmeric. Slice about a tablespoon of turmeric root and boil with a cup of water. Add milk or sugar as preferred. Strain before drinking.

#2: Can you eat raw turmeric root?

Yes, you can. It has a peppery and slightly bitter flavor. The turmeric root can be sliced or grated and added to salads or soups as seasoning.

#3: Do you have to peel turmeric root? Or its skin has some benefits?

The peel has to be removed only to due to hygiene and food safety. You can also wash it thoroughly and use without peeling. However, the peel does not have any specific benefits.

#4: How do you store fresh turmeric root?

Wipe the roots of any moisture and wrap them in paper towels. Store in an air-tight container or zip-lock bag. It stays fresh for 1-2 weeks. For a longer storage, divide into single-use portions and store in the freezer. Defrost before using. It becomes a little mushy, but does not lose its properties. If a mold is found, cut it off. In a freezer, it can be stored for around a year.

#5: Why is fresh turmeric better that store-bought powder form?

Dried turmeric is made by peeling, boiling, drying and powdering the fresh roots. In the entire process, some of the essential oils and anti-oxidants are lost. Fresh turmeric is better in terms of nutrient content.

#6: What is an ideal season to consume fresh turmeric?

Fresh turmeric is available all the year round. It is best to be consumed in winter. Fresh turmeric contains anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which helps heal colds and cough caused mostly in winter.

#7: What is the importance of fresh turmeric in Ayurveda?

Fresh turmeric has the ability to balance the three doshas i.e. Vata, Kapha and Pitta. It is also a Sattvic food (vegetarian foods that are in their natural form and provide peace to the mind). In Ayurveda, fresh turmeric is used to purify blood and remedy skin conditions. It is also used in the treatment of lungs, arthritis and liver. Did you know 10 reasons to add a pinch of turmeric or haldi to your diet!

#8: How beneficial is the tea made from fresh turmeric?

Slice about a tablespoon of turmeric root and boil with a cup of water. Add milk or honey as preferred. Strain before drinking. Due to its high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric tea is beneficial for health.

#9: Any other important tips and tricks to keep in mind when using fresh turmeric?

Fresh turmeric tends to stain surfaces and skin easily. Wash cutting boards and peelers immediately to avoid staining. Lemon juice helps remove stains from skin. Read here can eating haldi or turmeric actually keep you disease-free?

#10: Are there any special things to consider when consuming fresh turmeric?

  • During pregnancy, it may stimulate menstrual flow risking pregnancy and hence should be taken in moderation.
  • Turmeric slows down blood clotting and interferes with blood thinner medications.
  • It acts as the hormone estrogen and can make hormone-sensitive conditions like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine fibroids worse.
  • Too much turmeric over a period can make the blood sugar fall which can be harmful to diabetes patients.

Image source: Shutterstock

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