When you add spice to food, it’s usually to ramp up the flavor of whatever you’re about to cook, but your purpose for adding a dash is about to change. Why? Because research consistently proves the crazy-good health benefits of these ancient ingredients, in particular, the Golden Spice. Which is why we all need to learn how to use turmeric in our cooking (and in more than just your favorite curry). You see, more than 3000 publications have been published in the past 25 years alone detailing the plant’s healthy properties, but it’s been used for both medical and cooking purposes for nearly 4000 years. As an FYI, the majority of turmeric comes from India, which isn’t surprising since the country’s residents use the spice in both Ayurvedic medicine and cultural traditions like wedding ceremonies.
So what exactly are these health benefits everyone is talking about? To start, curcumin—the yellow pigment in it—is lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties (clinical trials have reported that it’s been helpful in treating both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis). Turmeric is also thought to delay diabetes, repair your brain’s stem cells, and lessen heartburn. And if you needed any more reason to start incorporating this super spice into your diet, we’ve rounded up four of our favorite recipes in which it plays a major role. From breakfast to dessert, learn how to use turmeric in your everyday cooking to reap its impressive benefits.