Turmeric deserves a place in every healthy whole food diet for its great taste and very strong anti-inflammatory properties. It is a good source of manganese, iron, potassium and vitamin B6. Turmeric is a rhizome related to ginger and is native to Indonesia and India. The root of the curcuma longa plant, the bright yellow color comes from curcumin, its most studied nutrient and strongest anti-inflammatory agent. I like using the fresh root when available but also keep powdered turmeric on hand. The warm, slightly peppery flavor with a bitter finish makes turmeric a versatile spice for many dishes, not just the traditional curries it is most well known for.
This root has a long tradition of use in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat a number of ailments. Modern science has also turned its eye to turmeric, and especially curcumin, and found it effective against many medical problems. Not just for internal problems, turmeric is helpful topically as well.
In typical Western medical fashion, some are now considering packaging curcumin in pill form for certain medical problems. I think this would be a mistake and less effective than ingesting whole turmeric. Fresh turmeric root is a package of more than 80 known nutrients and anti-inflammatory agents. Why would anyone want to isolate just one of these and take only that. Does no one learn from previous experience with isolated supplements?
It is easy to make turmeric a regular part of a healthy diet. I often add a slice of fresh turmeric root to a cup of green tea along with fresh ginger root and cinnamon stick for a big antioxidant and anti-inflammatory boost. Fresh turmeric root, either grated or finely diced, is a nice addition to stir fried vegetables. Adding some turmeric to cooking brown rice or quinoa add a nice subtle flavor and gives the dish a yellow color. Some turmeric in many marinades and sauces adds the health benefits and is hardly noticeable. I also like to add grated fresh turmeric root to meatloaf and bean cakes.