What do Indian curry, Thai soup, and an all-American ballpark frank with mustard have in common (besides tasting good)? They all include one spice: turmeric.
Turmeric is what gives both curries and mustards their bright-yellow colour, but it might impart some health benefits as well. (Though OK, that hot dog probably cancels them out in that example.)
The root is related to the ginger family and looks a fair bit like it, except for its uber-golden hue. Most of the world’s turmeric is grown in India, and a good percentage of it is eaten and used there as well. Most of us have probably bought turmeric in its powder form, but you can also buy the root at local Asian grocery stores.
And if you've never cooked with turmeric before, be aware, this ingredient has all the flavour: it's slightly peppery, a bit bitter, very earthy, and somewhat mustardy.
Turmeric is also a favourite among natural health practitioners of various stripes, from naturopaths to practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. Turmeric also continues to be studied for its potential health benefits — specifically those tied to one component of the spice, the antioxidant curcumin.
Below are 15 reasons to include more turmeric in your diet, in ways that go beyond curry and mustard.