Nutritional fads may come and go — Snackwells fat-free cookies, anyone? — but when the word “superfood” starts getting thrown around, there’s usually a pretty good reason, and we’re here to explain. But you’ll have to forgive us as we use a bunch of other healthy buzzwords like “antioxidants” and “anti-inflammatory” to tell you what’s so great about turmeric.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a bioactive compound that gives the spice both its amber hue and natural anti-inflammatory qualities. Curcumin has been shown in preliminary trials to fight the kind of chronic low-level inflammation that plays a key role in conditions like heart disease. An antioxidant, curcumin can help lessen the effects of oxidative damage in the body, which is one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
We want to give you one more buzzword to think of when you think of turmeric, and that’s “adaptogen.” You’ve heard of the mental and physical stress-relieving qualities of Asian ginseng, right? That’s because ginseng is a root plant (just like turmeric) that includes adaptogens, or active ingredients that may impact how your body deals with stress. anxiety and fatigue.
In fact, we went all the way to Merriam Webster to get to the root (ha) of the word, and found that adaptogens are defined as “nontoxic substances and especially plant extracts that are held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore the body’s normal physiological functioning.” Sounds good to us, but then it also throws in this quote from Yoga Journal: “Fortunately, a class of herbs known in herbal medicine as adaptogens can provide an added boost of vitality and increase the body’s ability to adapt to common stresses.” Simply put: adaptogens help you adapt to tough times.
We’re completely sold on all of turmeric’s health benefits, and were about to steep a relaxing cup of our own Organic Turmeric Antioxidant Tea when we paused to wonder: how many skeptical tea lovers out there are going roll their eyes at the sudden influx of all things turmeric, from tea lattes to chocolate truffles rolled in this beautiful spice, and believe we’re just extolling the virtues of what may become the next cabbage soup diet?
A fair number of you, we’re going to say. But hear us out on this: Turmeric has been used as a spice as well as Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It’s got an earthy, almost musky flavor with a peppery spice, and adding just a bit will color anything that vibrant yellow-orange it has become known for. If you enjoy its flavor or even just trying new things, it seems you don’t have much to lose when it comes to steeping a cup of tea featuring a superfood.
Remember, there was a time when you never heard much about kale, and that’s another superfood that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, like it or not. Cheers, tea lovers!