Recipes sometimes call for ingredients that you may not have heard of, like nutritional yeast or agar-agar. Some familiar ingredients like cauliflower, black beans, and lentils may be used in unfamiliar ways to make good-tasting plant-based dishes. You may not be aware of nutritional and medicinal properties of familiar foods like sweet potato or avocado. You can find links to this information on the Glossary page. If you have a question or want to see a particular ingredient featured, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curcumin is a bright yellow chemical produced by Curcuma longa plants. It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric, a member of the ginger family. There is some confusion in the two names because curcumin is a component of turmeric. Reports say that turmeric is better for some conditions, while curcumin alone is better for others. Turmeric, commonly used in Asian food, is the main spice in curry. It is a bright and tasty addition to everything from smoothies to soups and stir-fry vegetables.
Turmeric or curcumin is recommended for pain and inflammation, such as that associated with osteoarthritis. It is also used for hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, a liver disease, and itching. Some people use turmeric for heartburn, thinking and memory skills, inflammatory bowel disease, stress, and many other conditions, but there no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
In small amounts, turmeric has few reported side effects, though there have been reports of nausea, dizziness or diarrhea. You should consult a health professional if you are taking therapeutic amounts of turmeric or curcumin.