Everyone wants to be healthier quickly in the modern age. We don't all have time to eat perfectly all the time, or switch to organic body care. The focus is on quick, easy ways to get the most benefit. Using spices, like turmeric, for increasing well-being, is one of the simplest answers.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a root, or rhizome, that originates from Southern Asia. It's well known as the reason why your chopping boards and dishes are stained yellow after serving curry. It may also be the secret behind why so many Asian and Middle Eastern cultures experience greater health.
Turmeric was originally used as a dyeing agent, and then for its medicinal properties. It has been consumed in Asian countries for thousands of years.
Turmeric is traditionally used in savory dishes, such as curry. However, many turmeric-using cultures have also developed sweets and desserts incorporating the vibrant spice.
Why Is It So Good?
Turmeric has some seriously impressive health properties, with research discovering more uses every day. It has the potential to optimize well-being, and even reverse some disease processes.
The beneficial actions of turmeric include:
- Vasodilator (relaxes blood vessels)
This means that turmeric could potentially benefit those with:
- Chronic pain
- Inflammatory disorders
- Digestive disorders
- High risk of cancer
- High risk of cardiovascular disease
- Poor immune function
- Acute infection
- Chronic infection
- High blood pressure
- Poor circulation
Given the wide scope of turmeric's benefits, there's pretty much no one who couldn't benefit from adding it to their diet.
The best part is that turmeric offers both preventative benefits and aid with current health issues. Whether you have a condition with inflammation, or are healthy and want to prevent chronic health issues, turmeric has you covered.
How to Make the Most of It
Turmeric is a tricky spice when it comes to absorption. For some reason, our bodies struggle to absorb a good dose of it when we consume it. However, there are a few tips and tricks to get around this.
First, when using turmeric, you should always include a pinch of black pepper. This is because black pepper contains a compound that significantly increases the absorption of turmeric into the body.
You should also have a source of fat when serving turmeric. This is because the therapeutic compounds are lipophilic, or fat-loving. Adding fat to your turmeric dose can boost absorption. Even if it's a splash of coconut milk in your smoothie or some chia seeds in your juice, it can mean you get more of the good stuff.
Recipe: Golden Milk
There is nothing more warming than the rich, earthy Golden Milk. This recipe is perfect for chilly days, when your fingers are numb. It will warm you right to the bone!
Makes 1 serving
1 cup milk of preference (coconut milk gives the best flavor)
1 tsp turmeric powder or 3-4 slices fresh
½ tsp ground ginger or 3-4 slices fresh
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground black pepper
Heat milk over a low heat in a pot. Add the spices, and simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain before serving, if you used fresh spices.
Want an option for the office? Make up your own Golden Milk powder to keep in the kitchen.
Makes 5 servings
5 tsp turmeric powder
2½ tsp ground ginger
2½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground black pepper
Mix together, and store in an air-tight container. To serve, add 2 tsp to a cup of hot milk.
You can sweeten after serving if you prefer. Honey is the tastiest option to add.
Recipe: Yellow Rice
This handy little side dish is incredibly versatile. You can serve it alongside your favorite curry dish, or use it to make a fresh rice salad in summer. No matter how you use it, it gives you a good dose of anti-inflammatory goodness.
Makes 4 main/6 entree servings
1 cup of rice
2 cups of water OR 1 cup of water, 1 cup of stock
2 tsp butter/ghee/sesame oil
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 pinch black pepper
Combine ingredients in a pot. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
Alternatively, add all ingredients to a rice cooker, stir thoroughly, and set to cook.
Serve immediately, or store leftovers in fridge or freezer.
Recipe – Turmeric Truffle Balls
Turmeric isn't just for the savory lovers. In fact, turmeric's rich, earthy flavor can bring out the sweetness of desserts and sweet treats. This chocolatey creation is the perfect anti-inflammatory treat that is still luxurious and rich for the taste buds.
Makes 15 large/30 small balls
½ cup unrefined coconut oil
½ cup cacao/cocoa powder
4 Tbsp honey/maple syrup
2 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
¼ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
Boil a pot of water. Place a heat-proof bowl on top. Add coconut oil to bowl, and allow to melt on a low heat.
Slowly add cacao powder and sweetener of choice until combined. Add salt, pepper and turmeric, and stir through.
Put the bowl in the fridge for 1 hour, or freezer for 15 minutes, or until mixture has firmed.
Process coconut in a blender or processor for 30 seconds. Place in a shallow dish.
Take the mixture from the fridge, and spoon out 1tsp of mixture. Roll into a ball, then coat in coconut crumbs. Place in container, and store in fridge for up to 5 days. You can also pop them in the freezer to stop yourself from eating them all at once!
This is only the beginning of your turmeric recipe journey! It can be added into everything from mains to desserts, smoothies and even juices. Any dish that can use an earthy taste can benefit from turmeric.
Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer the more savory approach, turmeric has something to offer you and your health.