Hearing a LOT about turmeric lately? There is some major buzz about the health benefits of turmeric (or curcumin) and rightly so. To clarify, turmeric is the name of the root and thus, the powder that is made once the root is dried. Curcumin is the naturally occuring, active chemical within the root/powder which provides its color and health benefiting properties. This deep yellow-orange root is well known for its contribution to Indian curries, delectable stews, elixirs, and tea. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to boast about, but its beneficial super powers do not end there.
Health Benefits of Turmeric:
- improves liver function
- provides cardiovascular protection
- protects against Alzheimer’s disease
- cancer prevention
- alleviates joint pain
- eases depression
- increases wound healing and skin repair
Supplementation is one way to get more turmeric into your body, and that can work for many people. However, I am a huge supporter of eating real food the real way. If you can get it, using the actual root is definitely ideal.
What you need to know:
I have recently learned that we do not actually absorb turmeric very well all on its own and, like many medicinal roots and herbs, there are a few little secret helpers needed to increase our assimilation and utilization within the body.
2 Important Ingredients To Better Absorb Turmeric:
- Fat: Turmeric is fat-soluble. Why does this matter? When something is fat-soluble, that means it dissolves in fat and needs fat in order to make it past the stomach and into the small intestines where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. In order to get the most out of this orange super food, it’s best to take it with a bit of fat (a little coconut oil will do the trick just fine!)
- Black Pepper: Black pepper can enhance turmeric’s bioavailability (how much of the ingredient we actually absorb) by 2000 fold. This is big news! Most of the curcumin ingested gets metabolized and excreted before it can be absorbed. Black pepper contains a potent compound called piperine, which aids in assimilation of turmeric and decreases the chance that we will excrete all the good stuff.
Getting More Turmeric In Your Diet
- Eat More Curry: Variations of curry have been around for centuries and there is a wide variety of recipes available. Here’s one of my favs. Or this one. Curry is a versatile, delicious, and seriously nurturing way to feed your family.
- Sprinkle It On: Shake a little dried turmeric (1/8tsp) and ground pepper (2 twists) on a half an avocado, a piece of baked salmon, or on some chocolate.
- Salad Dressing: Combine turmeric, pepper, olive oil and lemon for a salad dressing base, add in garlic, ginger, cumin, salt, tahini and tamari for extra flavour. Or try My Favorite Turmeric Dressing
- Add It To Your Stir Fry: Veggies love turmeric, so toss it in your wok with pepper, coconut oil & some other warm spices.
- Make Tea: Simmer 1” minced turmeric with 2” minced ginger in 2 cups of water for about 20minutes. Before serving, stir in a little coconut oil, pepper, honey and almond milk.
Surprising and Delicious Turmeric Hot Chocolate:
1 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp cacao powder (heaping!)
1 tsp turmeric root, minced or 1/3 tsp powdered
1 tsp ginger, minced or 1/3 tsp powdered
1 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp honey
½ tsp cinnamon
A few turns of freshly ground pepper
¼ – ½ cup almond milk (adjust to your preferred creaminess)
- Simply place all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Warning: when blending hot liquids, place a tea towel over top of blender to prevent liquid explosions.
- Drink warm.
Be Well. Eat More Turmeric.