Turmeric is a popular, vibrantly coloured spice used in many Asian cuisines. More recently, you may see it feature as an extra flavour in some of your favourite hot beverages, including our very own Cinnamon Turmeric Latte - to be released this season!
Turmeric derives from South Asia, but the spice is now grown across the continent of Asia and in destinations home to tropical climates. Part of the Zingiberaceae family, turmeric is related to the ginger family and looks very similar in its raw appearance.
Also known as Curcuma Longa, once ground down into its powdered form, its rich, yellow colour makes it a distinctive-looking spice.
Since its creation, turmeric has been widely used in several different industries. It is commonly used in India, as part of the Ayurvedic medicine where the spice is hugely popularised. In fact, India is where 78% of the world’s turmeric supply allegedly originates from!
Thanks to its unique taste and colour, it can be found as an ingredient in the following areas:
- Fabric dyeing
- Alternative medicines
The Role of Turmeric in Food
Turmeric is a popular, mild spice often found in Asian cooking. Its earthy yet sweet taste makes it a favourite spice of choice to add a sense of warmth to curries.
One or two teaspoons added to soup is also a popular addition for food enthusiasts.
Its beautiful golden colour makes it a great source of natural food colouring, and it is often added to rice to give it a pop of colour!
Adds Vibrancy to Drinks
A significant aspect of turmeric is that it is easily accessible in drink form too!
Over recent years, turmeric is trending in some of the consumer’s most loved drinks. Its anti-inflammatory health properties paired with the zesty yet earthy taste bodes well with many other flavour profiles and you can often find it thrown into smoothies for a unique twist in flavour!
A widespread way to drink turmeric is as a tea. To do it yourself, simply add one to two teaspoons of powdered turmeric to simmering water for around 10 minutes. Then strain into a container and allow to cool.
The spice pairs well with hot milk and coffee, making it the perfect accompaniment to a latte!
Turmeric is an excellent alternative to adding sugar to your coffee drink, as its distinctive flavour offers another dynamic to the coffee’s taste!
Are you interested to know about other options to sweeten your coffee? Check out our favourites healthy ways to sweeten coffee!
Research Into the Health Benefits of Turmeric
Only up until recently has the spice been officially analysed by scientists, and its health benefits are yet to be formally confirmed.
There isn’t enough sufficient evidence to back some of its most significant claims and it is by no means a miracle cure or treatment in medicine.
However, there are some indications to its advantages as a health supplement in pain relief and healing. Much of the research provided so far is animal-based, with some human studies.
Potential Health Benefits of Turmeric
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is thought to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects when consumed. It is also the part of the spice that gives it its wonderful yellow colour.
Without turning this blog into an in-depth science lesson, the important takeaway is that curcumin is a bioactive substance. This means that it can fight inflammation at the molecular level by surprising those which cause inflammation.
Curcumin’s chemical structure is thought to make it a powerful antioxidant which has the potential to neutralise free radicals which cause damage to the body’s cells and partly responsible for the ageing process.
Curcumin is believed to work by both blocking them and inciting your body’s own antioxidant defences.
Working as a cholagogue, a feature of turmeric is to support the creation of bile in the liver as well as the gallbladder.
Bile is a crucial contributor to the breakdown and digestion of fats in our food. Fat is essential for the health of our brain, heart, eyes, skin and hormones. It also plays a role in providing vitamins like vitamin A when absorbed, which is significant in ensuring the health of our skin, immunity and vision.
Under Research as a Protector Against Alzheimer’s
Turmeric has thought to contribute to brain health. Some scientific studies have suggested that curcumin may traverse the ‘blood-brain’ barrier and has the potential to help shield the brain from Alzheimer’s disease.
Its inflammation-reducing properties are thought to be partly the reason as well as decreasing the protein plaques found in the brain, which are synonymous with those who have Alzheimer’s disease.
Suggested to Aid Depression
The possible health benefits of turmeric on the brain also include some mental health diseases such as depression, through the increase in the levels of ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor’. This chemical is found in connection with depression when low.
Turmeric can be used to aid a healthy diet to promote the overall health of the body.
However, the active ingredient curcumin found in turmeric is relatively low.
It is unlikely you will get the high levels needed by eating turmeric a few times only.
This Christmas we have paired turmeric with cinnamon to create a feel-good, taste-good healthy drink with a twist. Have you tried it yet? Share your thoughts about its flavour with other coffee lovers on our social media channels! Let us know what you think of our turmeric-flavoured beverages too!
Here at Esquires Coffee, we want our customers to get the most out of their experience with us. If you’re impressed by our open and honest approach to coffee, you may also want to consider working with us. We have many opportunities and coffee franchises available.
To find out more about franchising with one of the UK’s leading coffee franchises, please contact us.
About the author - Jack Anderson
Jack has been working in the franchise sector for over 12 years and is our in-house guru on all things business! Jack is also a keen hiker and can be found in some of the UK's best walking spots on the weekends.