Turmeric, a cousin to ginger, can be consumed as a dry spice, fresh or as a supplement.

Get some on fingers or a light-colored countertop, and the bright yellowish-orange color is difficult to remove. But turmeric’s long-lasting nutritional effects are a positive ­— and experts from dietitians to chefs laud its benefits.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information offers that turmeric has been used for at least 4,000 years as a culinary spice. Though cultivated from the root of a perennial plant native to tropical South Asia, about 80 percent of the world’s turmeric crop is currently derived from India.

New York City-based registered dietitian Jessica Cording teaches about the extensive health benefits of turmeric, which came across her radar when she shadowed a doctor for six months in an HIV clinic. Turmeric was incorporated into foods for patients. From that experience and others, Cording has witnessed turmeric’s help in alleviating:

— Inflammation, which she points out is the root cause of many ailments, including metabolic syndrome, heart disease and even cancer.
— Joint pain, especially arthritis.
— Depression and loss of long-term cognitive function.
— Inflammatory gut conditions such as colitis.

NCBI lists many more traditional and modern medicinal uses for the spice’s compound curcumin, including for degenerative eye conditions and to aid kidney health.

Turmeric, a cousin to ginger, can be consumed as a dry spice, fresh or as a supplement. Traditionally found in Indian curries as well as African, Asian and Middle Eastern dishes, turmeric has been Americanized. Bon Appetit last November featured 49 turmeric-laden recipes, such as honey pork and a butternut squash and tomato soup. Often called the “poor man’s saffron,” it adds distinct flavoring to savory and sweet dishes.

Cording offers numerous free recipes on her mindbodygreen.com site. Her favorite salad dressing includes turmeric, which can also be added to smoothies, roasted vegetables, rice dishes and more.

“One of my favorite remedies I learned at the clinic was a cold-fighting tea with ginger and black pepper,” she said. “Add one teaspoon of turmeric to 12 ounces of water and bring to a boil. Take the water off the heat and add one-quarter teaspoon each of ground ginger and black pepper. You could also make this into ‘golden milk’ by using coconut milk instead of water.”

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