Friday, December 7, 2012

Season(ings) Greetings: Paprika and Turmeric

My final two recommended spices for enhancing your holiday season meals and benefiting your health: Paprika and Turmeric. 

Spanish Smoked Paprika (Photo: Badagnani via Wikimedia Commons)
Paprika, a milder relative of cayenne, is ground from dried red peppers, and helps to boost the immune system via its high concentration of vitamins A and C. Paprika is considered an antiseptic and digestive stimulant, and is linked to improved blood circulation. 
Tip: Embrace the sweet and spicy varieties of paprika; dust paprika on scrambled eggs or mix it into low-fat mayonnaise for a dip. 
Note: Large quantities of paprika may aggravate the stomach.
Associated recipe: Traditional Deviled Eggs 

Turmeric Powder (Photo: Sanjay Acharya via Wikimedia Commons)
Turmeric, a component of curry, offers an earthy, peppery flavor while providing anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, and cancer-fighting properties. Turmeric’s active ingredient (curcumin) has neuro-protective and anti-aging effects on the brain and may be helpful in stroke prevention. Curcumin is also linked with inhibited tumor growth and improved cardiovascular health. Touted by some as the “yellow miracle spice,” turmeric contains calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and vitamins C and B1, B2, and B3. All of these nutrients contribute to turmeric’s beneficial effects on arthritis, cholesterol profiles, and lowered risk of prostate and colon cancers. 
Tips: Rub turmeric onto chicken or fish, coat roasted nuts with it, or mix it with yogurt, garlic, and ginger to make a sauce or dip. 
Note: Long-term consumption of turmeric may lead to stomach distress. 

For a full archive of my nutrition articles for OKRA Magazine, click here.