As winter gets set to bite, look to traditional warming foods to keep the winter chills at bay. If you are thinking of warming up with a cup of hot milk, try adding raw turmeric (kacchi haldi) to your brew.

Raw turmeric looks like ginger root and it contains warming properties. It affects our internal temperature by heating and invigorating us, pushing blood and energy to the surface of the body during the digestion process. It is also thought to tighten tissues and absorb excess moisture making it one of the best warming herbs. Raw turmeric is dried and powdered to make the turmeric powder spice that is added to curries and many other dishes to lend its deep yellow hue. Also being rich in antioxidants, it has long been used for preventing and curing many health issues in India.

Now that winter is setting in, use raw turmeric in foods to enjoy its amazing health aids. They include:

Contains incredible anti-inflammatory properties: Raw turmeric contains natural anti-inflammatory compound that helps fight foreign invaders that can cause winter-related illnesses and many chronic disease like inflammation. Chronic inflammation further contributes to many common diseases. Raw turmeric consumption suppresses many molecules known to cause inflammation.

A potent antioxidant: Regular consumption of raw turmeric boosts the activity of your body’s own antioxidant enzymes. It blocks free radicals and stimulates your body’s own antioxidant defences. It improves one’s general immunity and combats viral infection.

Lowers risk of heart disease: In winter season, the risk of heart disease increases, especially in elder people. Raw turmeric improves the function of the endothelium which regulates blood pressure, blood clotting and various other harmful factors. In addition, it reduces inflammation and oxidation which plays a crucial role in heart disease as well. It may lower the risk of heart attack which increases in winter season.

Provides relief in arthritis: Arthritis patients suffer worst during winter season. The joint inflammation and the pain increases with the fall in temperature. Many studies show that raw turmeric can help treat symptoms of arthritis and in some cases, it is more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.

An effective anti-depressant: Some people have depression problem that gets worse in winters or sometimes few people struggle with low mood during this season. Depression is linked to reduced levels of brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). Turmeric boosts BDNF levels. Raw turmeric is very effective in alleviating symptoms of the condition. It can boost the brain’s neurotransmitters – serotonin and dopamine.

Relieves cough and cold: Raw turmeric increases mucus production which naturally flushes out microbes that clog respiratory tract. The antiviral and antibacterial properties of turmeric help fight infection and relieve the symptoms of cough and cold.

Soothes indigestion: During winter people tend to eat more and high-calorie foods which generally lead to indigestion and gastrointestinal infections. Raw turmeric is beneficial in treating these infections and indigestion.

Prevents and cures sinus congestion: The herb promotes sinus drainage by increasing mucus flow and lightening its texture. It has blood-thinning effect that improves blood circulation in the body and thus prevents frequent headaches that are induced by sinus.

Raw turmeric is a warming food and it is thought to help keep you toasty during chilly months. The popularly known spice makes for one of the most important ingredients in Indian kitchen for its pungent taste and medicinal properties. It gives a beautiful colour to the foods it is added to.

Although turmeric is generally considered safe yet some people may experience side effects when they consume it in large doses as a supplement. Be cautious regarding the amount of consumption.