They say turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence.
Not only does my Bangladeshi friend swear by it, but scientists agree that turmeric is beneficial to your mind, your body and your overall wellbeing. The trifecta! If you’re not already sold, let me lay out the facts for you, but strap yourself in because this is going to spice up your life!
For anyone who isn’t familiar with this golden relative of ginger, turmeric is a plant. And like many other plants, we’re still discovering just how much more it has to offer. To the people of the sub-continent who have been using it as a spice and medicinal herb for thousands of years, wait for us!!!
Turmeric is typically sold ground as a spice, but you may also find it in its root form at markets and fruit and vegetable shops. It has several medicinal properties. It contains naturally occurring compounds that help maintain overall health, but is especially known for its benefits to oral health. It is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and an antiseptic. It’s even used in the treatment of oral cancers!
Here’s one tiny (manageable) catch… We humans aren’t very good at absorbing curcumin, which is the main active ingredient in turmeric that makes it such a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Without some help, it is very difficult to consume as much turmeric as the studies show is beneficial to our health. Here’s the good news: pepper to the rescue! Black pepper increases our ability to absorb the benefits of turmeric into our blood by 2000%. If that’s not enough to get you on board the turmeric train, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties also help repair damage and it even has the potential to ward off chronic diseases caused by long-term inflammation, including heart disease, cancer, metabolic sydromes, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions. There’s even some evidence that the curcumin in turmeric increases the growth of new neurons and guards against degenerative processes in the brain. Bottom line: turmeric makes you smarter!
Ok, now onto the important stuff. Here’s how you can start experiencing the benefits of this miracle spice….Turmeric can be added to any curry to give it a nice golden colour. It’s also great sprinkled on roasted veggies (especially sweet potato) and is a sure-fire way of sprucing up all kinds of grains like quinoa, rice, freekeh or couscous. There are also turmeric supplements out there, but the latest turmeric trend is “golden milk”. Before you flee the scene, remember those health benefits and give it a go with this easy recipe. Don’t forget the pepper!
1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 heaped tablespoon fresh turmeric root, grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Raw honey or sweetener of choice to taste
Pinch of black pepper (optional)
1. Gently warm the almond or coconut milk in a small saucepan. Do not boil.
2. Add turmeric, ginger and cinnamon.
3. Next, combine coconut oil with the mixture and gently heat together until melted.
4. Use a wire whisk or immersion blender to create a foam. Continue to stir until frothy and heated through.
5. Stir in honey or sweetener of choice to taste. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
By Sara Al-Bostanji