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Turmeric

Turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties have been lauded by health specialists for decades and it's been on the trendy food list for a few years now. 

A member of the ginger family, the yellow spice is high in antioxidants. Used as a staple spice and medicinal herb in India for centuries, its benefits include mood balancing and boosting your body's ability to heal, as well as stabilising blood sugar, preventing ulcers, and optimising good and bad cholesterol. 

Thankfully, you can easily introduce this superfood into your diet (even if you are not ready to drop that morning coffee for an Instagram-friendly golden milk!). 

1. Curry

Let’s start with the more obvious. Turmeric is the spice that gives the deep yellow colour to Indian curries. Add a teaspoon of turmeric to some fresh ginger, garlic, onion, mustard seeds, and cumin and you have a nice spice base to make the most delicious fish, meat, or vegetarian curries. 

2. Porridge

Don’t be scared, you morning brekkie won’t end up tasting like the curry you had for dinner. Add ½ a teaspoon of turmeric to 3 heaped tablespoons of oats, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, a few raisins and a cup of almond milk for the most delicious and healthiest porridge ever. Top with a dollop of almond butter and you are in heaven.

3. Soup

Turmeric goes particularly well with pumpkin, butternut squash, carrot, potato, and/or courgette soups, giving them an extra depth of flavour. 

4. Smoothie

Add ½ a teaspoon of turmeric into your morning smoothie or juice to get a healthy dose of antioxidant. Our favourite recipe? 1 banana, ½ a pineapple, a big handful of spinach, a cup of almond milk and a few ice cubes. Add some cayenne pepper, turmeric and cinnamon to boost your metabolism and please your taste buds.  

5. Avocado toast

Unless you have been hiding in a cave since 2014, you are now well aware of the benefits of avocado. But maybe you didn’t know that combining turmeric with healthy fats – i.e. avocado or olive oil – improves the bioavailability of curcumin, the active ingredient in the yellow spice.

6. Roasted veggies

Add some turmeric to your veggie seasoning – salt, pepper, paprika, olive or coconut oil, oregano, mixed herbs, cayenne pepper… – for a nice eastern twist on the Sunday roast.

7. Hummus

Make hummus even healthier by adding a pinch of turmeric to a can of chickpea, one tablespoon of tahini, a garlic clove, the juice of one lemon, a pinch of cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper. Properly addictive. 

Plus a bonus No.8… a cake!

The perfect answer to anyone who dares telling you that cake isn’t good for you. 
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So, growing up we were told how drinking milk would help us grow big and strong, and how eating carrots would make us able to see in the dark – and while the latter may be a slight exaggeration, for the most part, our mums were right. 

A nutritious diet is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, the benefits of which stretch far beyond the size of our waist or clearness of our skin. 

Certain foods can have positive impacts on brain function and mental health, with new research suggesting that a well-stocked spice rack is good for more than just adding flavour to your favourite dishes. 

A new study has found that turmeric, a colourful ingredient often found in curries, could help improve memory and lift your mood. 

Curcumin, a chemical found in the popular spice, is being hailed by researchers as an anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties, which, when consumed regularly, could help those suffering with age-related memory loss and mental health conditions.

“Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer's disease and major depression,” said Dr. Gary Small, director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA's Longevity Center and study author.

For the study, conducted by the University of California Los Angeles and published in the journal American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 40 participants aged between 50 and 90-years-old all presented with mild memory complaints. 

The group was then split in two with half assigned 90 milligrams of curcumin twice daily for 18 month, while the other half were given a placebo. 

Results showed that those who consumed curcumin saw significant improvement in both memory and mood, with some performing up to 28 per cent better in memory tests. 

The study concluded: “These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years.”

Better get cooking, ladies!  

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