The same golden-hued spice added to curries and in mustard is now making waves as turmeric tea. Deservedly so: turmeric seems to boast a slew of benefits.

Turmeric's health-boosting properties comes mostly from the compound curcumin. There's a dizzying amount of research on curcumin that has linked it with improving everything from osteoarthritis to cancer, psoriasis, diabetes and depression. One particularly interesting study out of Vanderbilt found that when mice inhaled curcumin (please don't try this at home), it crossed into the brain and cleaned up plaques that build up and lead to Alzheimer's.

Though much of the research is promising, most uses animals or petri dishes, not people. That said, it's well-established that curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, helping mop up harmful free radicals in your body. It also has anti-­inflammatory properties, and keeping inflammation in check is key for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease and more. Talk to your doc, though, before trying a supplement-it's contraindicated for some conditions.

Bottom Line: Drinking or eating turmeric is more likely to help than hinder. It's hard to get too much: at most, a tablespoon of turmeric has 400 mg curcumin and it's safe to take up to 8,000 mg a day for 18 months. Plus, Okinawans-one of the longest-lived peoples-drink turmeric in their tea. And who doesn't want to live longer?

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