Turmeric: one of my favourite spices and all-around health-promoters! For those of you unfamiliar with turmeric, it’s an antioxidant-rich staple that not only has awesome anti-inflammatory benefits, but a ton of other uses as well.
A member of the ginger family, we know it as the culinary spice that gives curries their powerful yellow colour. So why is it such a big deal? Well, mostly because of curcumin, a special compound found only in turmeric.
The most active component of turmeric—and responsible for many of its health benefits—curcumin is known for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s been shown to influence more than 700 genes in the body, and it can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of enzymes that cause inflammation. Turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine because of its ability to protect the body’s cells from oxidative damage (you know…those nasty free radicals) that suppresses immune function and causes tissue damage.
Have I convinced you yet?! Ready to boost your turmeric intake?
Increasing Your Turmeric Consumption
Before you head to the store to stock up on this super spice, which is often referred to as the ‘holy powder’, it is important to be aware that turmeric has low bioavailability – meaning the amount digested is far lower than the amount absorbed. Here are some quick tips to enhance your turmeric experience.
- When cooking, combine turmeric with black pepper to increase absorption by about 1000%!
- You can also make a turmeric emulsion by combining 1 tablespoon of curcumin powder with 2 or 3 teaspoons of melted coconut oil, and whizz them together with a blender. (Yum! The perfect base for your next curry!)
- Mixing turmeric with any fat, like butter, ghee, or hemp milk helps, too.
If you really want to go nuts with turmeric, or are suffering from more severe health issues, look for an organic turmeric extract with at least 95% curcuminoids.
10 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Turmeric:
Support Digestion: Regular small doses of turmeric with black pepper have been known to help with bloating and lethargy after meals by decreasing inflammation, strengthening intestinal walls and reducing abdominal pain. Turmeric also helps with irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and diarrhea by destroying fungi and bacteria.
Ease Arthritis: Curcumin and curcuminoids lower the production of prostaglandins (responsible for inflammation, pain and swelling) in our bodies. In a study of osteoarthritis patients, the ones who added curcumin to their treatment plans had lessened pain and improved mobility, while those who didn’t take the supplement didn’t show improvements.
Strengthen Your Liver: Turmeric delays liver damage, and also helps protect the liver from the effects of alcohol, drugs and other toxins. It may also be involved in regenerating damaged liver cells and improving conditions like hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Cure for Cancer: Yep, I said that. Researchers have found that turmeric slows down the spread of tumors in mice due to its powerful anti-inflammatory powers. They’ve also discovered that curcumin induces colon cancer cell death—turmeric can change DNA regulation to kill cancer!
Decrease Alzheimer’s Symptoms: Elderly villagers in India appear to have the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s in the world, and scientists believe that curcumin may play a role in this.
Make Yummy Food: I love a good curry, and have started using turmeric in a lot of my other meals, as well. Make sure to try my recipe for Healthy-Aging Turmeric Crackers and keep checking back for more awesome, turmeric-filled recipes!
Treat Bladder Infections: Bladder infections occur when bacteria causes the bladder to become inflamed. Curcumin’s strong antibacterial properties help treat urinary tract infections and boost immune system activity.
Soothe Skin Inflammation: Turmeric paste (made with water, honey or aloe vera gel) can be applied to the skin and is effective on everything from cuts and burns to acne, eczema and psoriasis by speeding up healing and cell repair.
Prevent Diabetes: When taken with meals (even those high in fat!), turmeric can positively affect insulin and triglyceride blood levels. It’s also been shown to prevent prediabetes from growing into diabetes—something I know lots about (Read my story).
Keep You Youthful: Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years to help maintain youthfulness and beauty. It helps stop cellular aging by capturing free radicals that cause DNA damage—and ultimately age the body—to keep you looking youthful.
The next time you visit your local grocery store, be sure to stock up on this ‘holy powder’ and give yourself a powerful gift of super immunity!
Have you tried turmeric? What are some of your favourite recipes or ways to use it? I’d love to know. Share your tips below.