Ginger’s golden cousin, turmeric figures prominently in the Okinawan diet as a nutritional food supplement high in antioxidants. For many years, turmeric was used as a medicinal herb to treat arthritis and aid in wound healing due to its anti-inflammatory properties (1).
Turmeric contains several compounds now under study for their anti aging benefits, especially the ability to mimic caloric restriction in the body. Its compound curcumin has shown in both clinical and population studies to slow the progression of dementia — which may explain why Okinawans suffer lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease than Americans do. Turmeric is also a good source of minerals like iron and manganese, which support healthy bones, and vitamin C which triggers strong immune responses. Okinawans often use turmeric as a cooking spice or they make it into tea.
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