How To Get The Most Healing Properties From Turmeric

Holisticole - Turmeric Water Kefir

Turmeric.
 

This much talked about spice has been popping up left, right and centre with all of its benefits.
 

Now that I think of it, TURMERIC was probably my most used herb in 2016.
 

But really - is there anything that turmeric can't do? As a Holistic Nutritionist, I love seeing a spice like turmeric in the spotlight, this is one superfood that deserves to be highlighted. On PubMed alone, turmeric and curcumin have been the star in over 2,000 studies! Now that, is pretty impressive. [1]
 

Turmeric is being used for everything from pain, inflammation, depression, brain function and inflammatory bowel disease... It can even naturally whiten your teeth! (Yay antioxidants!)
 

With so much information on the internet revolving all around turmeric, it can be hard to decide how to use this herb... Is there a right way? Before answering that question, I can confidently say that this herb can provide a benefit for everyone, it is an all around superfood for pain, inflammation, cleansing, digestion, mood balancing, liver support, brain health and more!
 

Turmeric - Turmeric Water Keifer - Holisticole

As far as what to choose - your whole food option will always be best, this means utilizing turmeric in it's most natural form (whole root or organic turmeric powder) - before it has been processed into extracts and isolates. Turmeric as a whole has countless natural health-promoting components including the much talked about 'curcuminoides'.
 

As far as supplementation goes; these are meant to 'supplement' an already healthy diet, not replace the need for one. We are only just beginning to understand all of the wonderful compounds in whole foods, how they work together and react in our bodies to support our health. So in my own opinion, we are better off consuming something in it's natural whole and organic form opposed to some questionable extract in a capsule with other possible added ingredients and a large list of manufacturing processes (that's not a whole food anymore) - we can't 'man-make' our health by adding processed compounds to capsules and expect them to work as their whole food version, and as nature intended!
 

When using turmeric, there are two really important things you must know - and then there is a third secret, which I will share with you as well!
 

First, you need healthy saturated FATS to absorb the active curcumin in turmeric, so always pair fresh organic whole root or organic turmeric powder with coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee or sustainable palm oil.
 

Second, always pair turmeric with BLACK PEPPER as the piperine within (which is also responsible for the pungency in black pepper) will enhance the absorption and increases the bioavailability [2]

Turmeric - Turmeric Water Kefir - Holisticole

Now, if you've studied turmeric in the past, you may have already heard of the benefits of using healthy fats and black pepper to increase absorption. Now the third and final secret for getting THE MOST benefit from this spice is to eat your turmeric FERMENTED.
 

Yep, this takes things to a whole new level… But fermented turmeric doesn’t have to be a tricky kitchen experiment. Fermenting can actually be quite simple and a study in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology found that the bioavailability of curcumin is further increased when it is fermented [3]. During digestion, curcumin transforms into different metabolites which can be more easily absorbed by the body, rather than the whole curcumin molecule.
 

Not to mention, fermented foods also support and ease digestion. So if your GI isn't in a prime state (you get bloated, have food intolerance's, alternating constipation/diarrhea, acid reflux and gas) using fermented turmeric takes any tax off of your digestive processes and the beneficial compounds of turmeric can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream, for your bodies benefit. Remember if digestion is not in it's prime, and if you get bloated after eating - this is a clear sign that you may not be effectively absorbing your nutrition from your meal. It is EASY to eat a healthy organic diet and still be 'malnourished' if digestion is not prime.
 

Why are we into fermentation again & what's the benefit? (In other words, why should I spend pursing this?)
 

Well... The art of food preservation has been practiced for thousands of years (it's not just a new 'trend'), the simple and natural process of lactofermentation encourages bacteria to feed on sugar/starch, creating lactic acid. The process is used to preserve foods and beverages to extend shelf life (which is why it was so popular thousands of years ago). However the process also creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and various strains of probiotics.
 

Fermentation has many benefits, but the main thing to remember is that lactic acid promotes the growth of healthy intestinal flora which creates a healthy gut and immunity!
 

Consuming fermented foods and beverages is an easy way to ensure you are getting in natural 'whole-food' probiotics for gut health, along with some added nutrient value to your day!
 

Now, to the fun part! I'm going to share with you my recipe for a turmeric water kefir! A simple fermentation recipe. To read more on water kefir, click here. This tasty & fizzy fermented beverage is a simple addition to your day, it is not time consuming and you will be on point with the process rather quickly.

 

Turmeric Water Kefir - Holisticole

Turmeric Water Kefir Recipe

Makes 1 L (2-4 servings)

What you need:
1L glass mason jar
Unfluroridated & unchlorinated water (I use reverse osmosis with added Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops)
1/4 cup organic sugar (caneturbinadorapadura) - don't worry! The probiotics feed off of the sugar making the end sugar content very low
Re-hydrated water kefir grains (about 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup)

For the 2nd Ferment
1 tbsp fresh turmeric root, grated
1/2 to 1 cup freshly squeezed organic orange juice
1 small nub of ginger (optional)
Pinch of black pepper (optional) - increases absorption/alters taste

Turmeric Water Kefir - Holisticole

What to do:
FOR FERMENT #1
-Add 1/4 cup of sugar to your 1 L mason jar and dissolve with a small amount of hot water
-When the sugar has dissolved, fill the jar about an inch or two from the top with cool filtered water (saving room for flavourings in ferment #2)
-Ensure the water is at room temperature, then add in the hydrated water kefir grains
-Screw the lid & allow to ferment on your counter for 24-48 hours. The longer you leave it, more sugar will ferment out -  try not to leave longer than 3 days as this can starve the grains.
-Make a habit of burping the jars every day (this is when you get to hear their activity!)
-Pour your first ferment through a strainer, into a large glass measuring cup, save the grains and pour the fermented water kefir into a clean 1 L mason jar.  
-This is your first ferment, the second is when you add flavour! 
-Follow the steps above again and reuse the grains. (Dissolve the sugar, add water, add grains, ferment)

FOR FERMENT #2
-Add in grated turmeric, fresh orange juice, ginger + black pepper (if using) to the fermented water kefir.
-Cover again and leave on the counter to ferment for another 24-48 hours
-You can now either strain out the whole fruit, turmeric & ginger or leave it as is. 
-Store in the refrigerator after the second ferment and enjoy!

NOTES:
-Water kefir 'grains' are not actual grains, they are a combination of healthy bacteria and yeasts that form a grain-like shape! Water kefir is both gluten-free and vegan!
-The coolest thing about water kefir grains is that they keep growing + multiplying (they are living!), after purchasing dehydrated grains or already hydrated grains, you are able to re-use them over and over again throughout your water kefir journey!
-Start slow with water kefir so that your body can adjust to this new probiotic beverage, work your way towards enjoying 1-2 cups a day



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