Due to budget constraints, dietary needs, and flavor preferences, grocery lists tend to be a little monotonous and dull.  Want to spice up your pantry and fridge without splurging on something exotic or venturing to a specialty store? Check out these uncommon ingredients that contain surprising health benefits, and could very well become your new best friends in the kitchen.

Turmeric is a spice you have probably heard of, and maybe even own a little plastic container of. However, it is often just one of many spices you haphazardly sprinkle onto a dish without much thought.  It has a gorgeous bright yellow color, a warm flavor, and a smell that almost resembles that of ginger (in not-powder form, it also looks like ginger). In addition, it has actually been used as a medicine in Chinese and Indian cultures for a long time.  Not only can turmeric spice up your ordinary dishes, it also even offers a range of health benefits.

The main property in turmeric that helped solidify its position as a medicinal spice is its anti-inflammatory properties, which has the ability to help prevent a variety of diseases.  Inflammation tends to be a blanket issue and having too much of it can lead to a range of health problems , so anything that can significantly reduce that should be incorporated into your diet as much as possible.  For example, turmeric is believed to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis.  Among its many other “powers” are reducing cholesterol, regulating digestion and boosting the immune system.  Learn more about turmerics benefits here.

If you are ready to spice up your diet and start incorporating this super spice, check out these awesome recipes:

1. Anti-Inflammatory Frozen Watermelon and Pineapple Smoothie (via A Harmony Healing)

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to pack a lot of healthy ingredients into one tasty and easy to eat serving. This smoothie is full of refreshing fruit, like watermelon, pineapple and orange. That sweet, frutiness is cut by ginger and turmeric. If the taste of turmeric isn’t your favorite, this smoothie is the perfect way for you to get the health benefits without being overwhelmed by the flavor.

2. Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower (via Taste Spotting)

Turmeric Cauliflower bowl

Cauliflower is definitely an underrated vegetable.  Just because it’s white doesn’t mean it should be ignored in favor of its greener and more colorful counterparts (you can always buy the purple kind, though).  This recipe would make the perfect roasted vegetable side dish while really highlighting the turmeric without overwhelming the dish.

3. South African Hot Toddy (via Homemade Mommy)

South African Hot Toddy

Turmeric is used a lot to make medicinal teas, but this hot toddy seems a lot more fun.  Traditionally, a hot toddy is flavored with whiskey and maybe honey and lemon, but this South African version packs a lot more punch.  If you don’t want to make a milk based drink, you can always swap it out for plain old water, or even a nice tea.  This is a delicious drink to enjoy around bedtime, relaxing and anti-inflammatory.  Sweet dreams.


Looking for more turmeric uses? Check out our guide on natural food cures. Find the rest of our Uncommon Ingredient collection here.

How do you incorporate turmeric into your diet?

Featured image via Thinkstock

Jaimie is a senior at Adelphi University studying Communications and Political Science. She enjoys exploring and adventures, and recently spent a semester abroad in Prague.