by Amy Smith
Known for centuries for its brilliant yellow color and distinctive flavor, turmeric has long been a favorite culinary spice in India and the Far East. It has also been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as a multi-purpose remedy for ailments including digestive problems, cough, runny nose, arthritis, asthma, and wounds. We can now expand that list based on recent scientific evidence.
Studies show that turmeric can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. As a parent whose child experiences anxiety and related challenges, you can make easy tweaks to your family’s diet that can positively affect your child’s mental health. Here’s why turmeric should be a tool in your anti-anxiety kit, along with some ideas on how to include turmeric on the menu.
The Anti-Everything Spice
Turmeric is produced from the dried and ground rhizome (rootstock) of the turmeric plant. Its most common use is in Indian dishes, especially curry. But it’s also traditionally known for its many health benefits, and recently scientists have been shining a spotlight on this humble but potent spice. In recent studies, turmeric has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticancer properties. That means it can be used to help relieve many conditions, especially those caused by excessive inflammation in the body. And scientists think that spice’s ability to reduce inflammation is related to turmeric’s positive effect on anxiety and depression symptoms.
Would you think that something in your spice rack could positively impact your mental health? Now you know turmeric can do just that. But how can create tasty meals with turmeric for your family?
You don’t have to learn a lot of new recipes to add turmeric to the table. Start easy by adding it to dishes you already serve, as part of a healthy diet. Take a savory egg dish (veggie omelet, scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, frittata) to the next level of flavor by adding a dash or more of turmeric to the eggs while cooking. Whip up a smoothie for breakfast with yogurt and mango, then take the yellow a step further by adding your new favorite spice. Is chicken noodle soup on the menu tonight? How about macaroni and cheese? A little extra turmeric in these favorite dishes enhances the flavor while blending right in.
Once you start using turmeric in your cooking, you might not want to stop. There’s a whole host of delicious and exotic dishes that really put turmeric on center stage. You can make various chicken dishes, like honey-roasted turmeric chicken or broccoli chicken stir fry. You might cook a traditional Indian curry dish, like this one with cauliflower. Or for a vegan and gluten-free option, give this spicy lentil dish a try.
When it comes to kids, the easiest way to introduce them to turmeric is to add the spice to golden milk. Here’s how you make this tasty beverage:
● Pour 2 cups of milk into a saucepan
● Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric and your choice of complementary spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper
Warm the milk for your child at bedtime for a tasty, healthful, and soothing end to the day.
Amy Smith is a writer, specializing in family and parenting. She teaches English, Latin, and music at a private school. Amy lives with her husband and five children on a small homestead in rural Pennsylvania.