Turmeric, a common ingredient in curry, is rich in antioxidant properties. For thousands of years, Auyrvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent. It also has astringent properties, and studies indicated it could fight certain cancers. When combined with pepper, as it is in Indian curries, the medicinal benefits of turmeric are even better absorbed. Turmeric is often used as a coloring agent in cheese and mustard, and might be one of the reasons that mustard reduces heartburn for pregnant women.