How To Get The Most Healing Properties From Turmeric
Turmeric is that anti-inflammatory spice with many outstanding benefits..
Nope, that's not a strong enough intro for this.
It's time for you to discover, a spice so powerful, that you may just consider naming your first born child - Turmeric.
Now, I hope you're familiar with at least one highlight of this magical spice or else you may be wondering who gave a looney-toon a keyboard and access to a blog.
Sometimes you need to make a statement that makes people raise their eyebrows, because our brains like to remember weird and uncomfortable moments, and I want you to remember this blog post.
So, are you using turmeric yet?
Are ya, are ya? If you aren't, i'm sure you will be after this post. This spice is so powerful that it earned a front row seat in my spice rack, it goes right next to my himalayan salt and black pepper so that I can easily include it in my vibrant creations.
What makes turmeric so special? This root is part of the ginger family, you can even think of these two like cousins. What makes turmeric special is its natural curcuminoide content. Curcuminoides are a family of active compounds within turmeric, and curcumin is our most well-known active compound. Turmeric as a whole food can been used for what seems like almost everything under the sun. It's a powerhouse for reducing pain and inflammation, improving cognitive function, bettering digestion, supporting liver health and even naturally whitening your teeth!
As a Holistic Nutritionist, I'm giddy to see a spice like turmeric in the natural health spotlight. This is one super-root which deserves to be highlighted so that more people can benefit from its powers. However, with so much information on the internet revolving all-around turmeric, it can be hard to decide on how to use this super-root... Is there a right way?
THE BEST FORMS OF TURMERIC TO USE
Your whole-food options will always be best. This means utilizing turmeric in it's most natural form, before it has been processed into extracts and isolates. The best forms of turmeric to utilize are the fresh root or an organic turmeric powder. Turmeric root in its natural state has countless health-promoting properties and contains a wide variety of curcuminoides.
What about supplementation? Following a healthy whole-food diet is an essential. Supplements are designed to supplement an already healthy diet - not replace the need for one. When it comes to whole-foods, we are only just beginning to understand all of the wonderful compounds found within, we are still learning how they all work together and react in our bodies to support our health. So in my own opinion, we are better off making natural whole and organic foods the priority. Not to say I don't love or use supplements, but unless you've dedicated your life to researching supplements, in many cases the supplements found in healths food store are made from questionable extracts and sourced ingredients which are forced in a capsule with other stabilizing ingredients and a they undergo large list of manufacturing processes.
We can't man-make our health by adding processed compounds to a capsule and expect them to work as nature intended!
MY FAVOURITE TURMERIC RECIPES
TIPS FOR ABSORPTION
When using the spice turmeric, there are two really important tips that you should know, and then there is a third secret, which will ensure you are getting the most healing properties from your root.
#1 PAIR WITH Healthy Fats
You need healthy saturated fats to help with the absorption of the active curcumin in turmeric. Try and always pair turmeric with healthy fats such as ghee, coconut oil, grass-fed butter or sustainable palm oil.
#2 USE BLACK PEPPER
Add a crack of black pepper, the natural piperine found within, which is also responsible for the pungent taste, will enhance the absorption and increase bioavailability.
YOU'RE A SMARTY
If you've researched turmeric in the past, you probably already knew to use healthy saturated fats and black pepper for absorption. However, I will share the third tip for getting the most benefit from this spice.
#3 EAT YOUR TURMERIC FERMENTED
Yep, this takes things to a whole new level… Don't worry, fermented turmeric doesn’t have to be a tricky kitchen experiment - it can actually be quite simple and it's totally worth doing. A study in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology found that the bioavailability of curcumin is further increased when it is fermented. 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 Better Digestion.
FERMENTED FOODS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Fermentation creates simplified absorption of beneficial compounds in your body. Since so many of us are not digesting our meals optimally: we get bloated, brain fog, gassy, acid reflux, constipation and/or diarrhea... Remember that fermented foods are your friend. If you're not absorbing nutrition from your meal, here's some real talk: you can actually follow a healthy organic diet and still be at risk for being under-nourished if we do not Better Digestion.
Why are we into fermentation again & what's the benefit? It's not the year 1600 again, but food preservation is back in style, and for good reason! The natural process of lactofermentation encourages bacteria to feed on sugar/starch, creating lactic acid. The process has been used for thousands of years to preserve foods and beverages to extend shelf life. However thanks to technology and our science abilities, we have found that the fermentation process also creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and various strains of probiotics. It's less about making your harvest last through winter, and more about the bubbling nutrition within. The main point here: lactic acid promotes the growth of healthy intestinal flora which creates a healthy gut and immunity!
How can you get the best of both worlds? Fermentation + Turmeric.
You could try this Turmeric Sauerkraut or you can keep scrolling to discover Water Kefir: The Simple Fizzy Drink with Probiotic Benefits
Turmeric Water Kefir Recipe
Learn more about water kefir. This fizzy fermented beverage is super tasty & healthier than kombucha! A simple and vibrant addition to your day.
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 (cane, turbinado, rapadura) - 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 YOUR 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
-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)
-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!
-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