Turmeric, the golden spice, Indian saffron, curcumin is an amazing vibrant yellow spice that is full of flavor. It has a mild aroma mixed with hints of orange and ginger with a strong, spicy, bitter flavor. It has been used for centuries in India, where 80 percent of all the turmeric in the world is produced, in food and is also an important ingredient for many religious ceremonies.
Turmeric has long been thought to have many healing properties and is especially important if you want to reduce inflammation. So many diseases and illnesses start with inflammation such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, and more. It is also thought to repair a damaged liver, kidneys and more.
There have even been studies that show promise with treating Alzheimer’s disease. The ingredient in turmeric that is responsible for these effects is curcumin. The curcumin in turmeric helps decrease Beta-amyloid plaques, delays degradation of neurons, and induces an anti-inflammatory effect that helps with a variety of known health issues.
Potential Benefits of Adding Turmeric to Your Diet
There are many benefits to adding turmeric or curcumin to your daily diet that today you can simply take supplements with curcumin in it, or make homemade elixirs or simply cook with it more as you can make delicious curries and more with turmeric.
Contains Medicinal, Bioactive Compounds – The curcumin in turmeric is an amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. When studies are done about turmeric typically they use an extract with large amounts of curcumin.
Is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound – As mentioned, the natural anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric, curcumin will reduce inflammation. The body’s inflammation response is relevant to disease. If your body thinks it’s being attacked by something it automatically sends out compounds to cause the body to swell. This can cause a lot of symptoms, including pain and is thought to play a role in all illnesses.
Increases Antioxidant Effects – Antioxidants reduce free radicals which cause disease. The oxidative damage caused by free radicals is thought to be a co-factor in many diseases including cancer.
Boosts Brain Function – During your lifetime the neurons in your brain are able to multiply and increase in number. This process is faster when you are young and slower as you age. Curcumin increases the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) which may delay or reverse brain diseases.
Lowers Risks of Heart Disease – One of the biggest killers on the Earth for humans is heart disease. There is no one contributor to heart disease and certainly, diet and exercise are important but some promising studies show that adding curcumin to your diet can improve your health and help prevent and even reverse heart disease.
May Prevent & Treat Cancer – No one likes the C word. It’s a horrible disease that takes many people away from us and tortures them in the process due to the horrible treatments needed to try to cure cancer. Studies on curcumin have shown that it may reduce the growth of cancer and act as a preventative as well. One study showed that just 4 grams of curcumin a day reduced cancerous lesions caused by colon cancer by over 40 percent.
May Prevent & Treat Alzheimer’s Disease – Alzheimer’s is thought to be caused by amyloid plaques, a type of protein tangles, building up in the brain. Curcumin may slow down the buildup of this protein and possibly even reverse the buildup.
Helps Lessen the Pain of Arthritis – Most diseases that cause a lot of inflammation like arthritis does, can be relieved by including turmeric in your diet. Studies are showing a curcumin supplement is more effective than most prescribed drugs.
Helps Fight Depression – Studies are starting to show that depression might also be the result of inflammation. According to several studies, curcumin might be as effective as common antidepressants like Prozac. While more studies need to be done, people have seen improvement by adding one gram of curcumin to their supplement regimen with good results.
Helps Fight Aging – It all comes down to fighting inflammation again, and it really helps to include turmeric in your daily diet or as a curcumin supplement. The combination of anti-inflammation and anti-oxidants plays a major role in helping to fight aging.
These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. As studies continue they are finding that adding curcumin to your day can lead to improved cognition, better cardiovascular health, and improved mood. What could be better than that?
How to Choose the Right Supplement
Ensure that the supplements you try include Bioperine (piperine) as it helps your body absorb curcumin better. Ensuring that you choose the right supplement for your health needs is important. All turmeric or curcumin supplements aren’t created equally.
The fact is the active compound, curcumin and curcuminoids are actually quote low in raw turmeric. That’s why it may be important to buy a supplement instead of using the powdered form that you cook with for the most beneficial results.
When buying supplements, you want to ensure that you get them from reputable sources. You are likely aware that there have been some problems with regulation in the supplement industry and that some of the supplements sold don’t have any of the active ingredients that they’ve promised. Even if a supplement is on the list here, be sure to look at reviews and double check their certification.
Percentage of Curcumin – You need to know how much of the active ingredient is in the supplement. Make sure it says “standardized at 95 percent” this will ensure that it has a high amount of curcumin.
Ordinary vs. Enhanced Bioavailability – One issue with supplements is that our bodies often absorb very little of the substance. This is why often you have to take more of it to ensure you get the recommended amount. The best bet is to choose enhanced bioavailability to ensure your body can absorb as much as possible.
Has the Supplement Been Independently Tested – If the supplement hasn’t been tested by a third party you cannot really know for sure if their in-house testing is legitimate. Clinical trials are important even for supplements.
Condition Compatibility – Ensure that you’re using the right supplement for your condition, all curcumin isn’t made equally and you’ll need different amounts for different conditions.
Safety – Be careful where you buy supplements as you want to ensure they have been tested for dangerous heavy metals. Plus, some supplement manufacturers include other harmful additives created during the extraction process. Due to the fact that curcumin isn’t water soluble, solvents have to be used. Use only products that use safe solvents with good manufacturing processes so that your supplements are both safe and effective.
By paying attention to these factors you’ll be more likely to achieve success in treating your condition with curcumin supplementation.
Supplements You Can Try
Doctor’s Best Meriva Phytosome Curcumins 500mg Vegetable Capsules from Doctor’s Best – This supplement is good for treating osteoarthritis, uveitis, rheumatoid arthritis, MS and inflammatory bowel disease.
Optimized Curcumin Longvida by ProHealth (500 mg, 60 capsules), from ProHealth – This supplement is good for treating brain diseases, dementia, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcu-Gel 325mg BCM-95 High Absorption Bio – Curcumin Complex (250mg total Curcuminoids with Essential Oils of Turmeric Rhizome) 60 Softgels from Health Thru Nutrition – This supplement is used to treat all inflammatory diseases and also can improve heart health and help treat cancer.
Doctor’s Best Curcumin C3 Complex with BioPerine (500 Mg), Capsules, 120-Count from Doctor’s Best – This type of curcumin supplement has ingredients that help it become 95 percent bioavailable and last longer in the bloodstream.
Read the reviews and look up contraindications to other medications you may be taking, or issues you may have. Even a supplement created from a spice or herb can prove dangerous if taken in the wrong amounts and combinations without understanding how it will affect you.
Buying & Storing Turmeric
In many ways, turmeric is like ginger. It comes in root form when fresh that you can find at grocery stores that sell fresh roots and herbs. Look near where the ginger is kept to find it.
You can buy whole yellow and white turmeric root to use with cooking. You can store fresh turmeric in the refrigerator for about a month if you put it in an air-tight container on top of a clean, dry paper towel. The Debbie Meyer Green Boxes and Green Bags work great to store fresh turmeric root as well as other fresh whole foods. They work to help all fresh food last much longer than typical.
In addition to fresh turmeric, you can also buy turmeric powder in the spice section of your grocery or online as well. This is best also stored in a clean, dry, cool place. Read the packaging for best instructions on storing powdered turmeric. You should try to use it all within six months like most spices. It’s best to buy only what you will use within the next few months for the best results and flavor.
Elixirs You Can Make at Home
Some people aren’t sure about supplements so they like to add turmeric to their food instead. You can make homemade elixirs that will provide many benefits to not only your health but your palate.
Add Zip to Your Morning – It’s really not normal to feel crappy when you wake up. If you are getting an appropriate amount of sleep you should feel refreshed and ready for the day.
Morning Wakeup Elixir
This elixir can be made into a juice or a smoothie depending on your preference. It’s a refreshing way to start your morning. If you don’t like coconut water, you can replace it with just fresh spring water if you want to.
1 Lemon, peeled
1 Inch Sliver of Ginger Root
1 Inch Sliver of Turmeric Root
1 TBS Raw Honey (or Apple Bee Free Honee)
1/2 Cup Coconut Water
1/2 Vanilla Bean
Dash Cayenne Pepper
Add the lemon, ginger root and turmeric into your juicer, and then add the rest of the ingredients and blend together well. If you don’t have one you can just blend them in a high-speed blender with the rest of the ingredients too. It just won’t have as pleasant of an appearance but it will work the same.
Sometimes you just want something warm and with almost the same ingredients you can make this wonderful golden tea to enjoy anytime.
Tea Maker or Tea Ball
1 Inch Sliver Ginger, chopped into small pieces
1 Inch Sliver Turmeric Root, chopped into small pieces
1 Lemon, juiced
1 TBS Honey or Honee
Place the ginger and turmeric root into the tea ball or teapot where you’d normally put the tea leaves. Boil the water to 212 degrees F. Pour water over tea balls or use your tea maker. Brew for about 10 to 20 minutes depending on how strong you want it to be. Pour tea into a cup, add juice and honey. Enjoy.
You can try other combinations of flavors in order to bring more turmeric into your daily diet. Don’t be afraid to try, as you don’t know what you’ll like or what will work best for you until you try it.
Ideas for Adding Turmeric to Your Diet
You can also cook with turmeric every day to make delicious and healthful meals that will improve your health, your mood, and thrill your palate. You can add it to scrambled eggs, or tofu, as well as in a frittata. Try a pinch at a time, give it a few minutes to incorporate and then taste adding more if you desire.
Consider tossing roasted root veggies with turmeric before cooking; try adding just a pinch per serving until you know how you like it. You can also add it to rice, greens, soups and smoothies. If you need more accurate recipes you can also do a Google Search on “Recipes with Turmeric” and find a lot of ideas. Remember, turmeric is a big ingredient in Indian food and curries.
Turmeric Spiced Almond Milk
Sometimes you just want a warm drink before bed. This is a great alternative to hot chocolate. No caffeine and the thick richness of almond milk so no tummy problems from cow’s milk to keep you awake. This is a version of the Indian cold remedy Haldi Ka Doodh.
1.5 Inch Sliver of Turmeric Root, peeled & grated
1/2 Inch Sliver of Ginger Root, peeled & grated
1 TBS Bee Free Honee or regular Honey
1 Cup Almond Milk
In a small food processor or Nutri-Bullet, blend everything but the almond milk, ground turmeric and ground cinnamon until crushed as much as possible. Add heated almond milk and blend until frothy. Sprinkle a little ground turmeric and ground cinnamon on top before serving. Enjoy.
Turmeric Marinade & Salad Dressing
This dressing can be used on top of a salad but also as a marinade on chicken or fish depending on what you like to eat. Once you taste this you may think of other ways to use this sauce.
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
1/4 Avocado, peeled & pitted
1 Lemon, zested & juiced
1 TBS Ground Turmeric
1 TBS Raw Honey or Bee Free Honee
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Pinch of Sea Salt
Blend everything in a small blender such as a Nutri-Bullet until smooth. Enjoy.
Nothing’s better than a delicious curry for dinner. This vegetarian version can be made non-vegetarian by adding some meat like chicken if you desire. But it tastes just great this way.
1 TBS Melted Coconut Oil
2 Shallots, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 TBS Fresh Ginger, chopped
1 Head Cauliflower Florets
1.5 Tsps. Curry Powder
1.5 Tsps. Cumin
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/3 Tsp Ground Cayenne
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (14 Ounces)
1 Can Chickpeas, drained & rinsed (14 ounces)
1 Cup Frozen Peas
Toasted Almonds (optional)
Sautee the shallots in the coconut oil over medium heat until translucent. Then add the garlic and ginger cook for an additional minute.
Now add in the cauliflower florets with a couple TBS water. Cover with a lid and reduce heat to low allowing cauliflower to steam for about 10 minutes until tender.
Now add spices and salt. Stir to coat. Add in tomatoes, chickpeas, and peas. Turn heat back up to medium, cook about 4 or five more minutes until heated through. Garnish with cilantro and toasted almonds if desired.
Finally, ensure that you’re using the right type of turmeric so that you get all the health benefits. Read labels and ensure that you have non-irradiated, organic turmeric. This is very important if you want all the benefits that you can get from this wondrous golden spice.