All about turmeric, the antioxidant powerhouse spice.
What is Turmeric?
At first, you may not be familiar with turmeric. But think again. Surely you recognize the bright yellow color of curry spice? That’s turmeric—a plant from the same family as ginger that grows in Asia and Central America. Turmeric is commonly used in Indian cooking, and it also enjoys a long history of use in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, in Hindu celebrations, and in a number of cosmetics. The main active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is hailed as a powerful natural antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Benefits of Turmeric
It’s no wonder that turmeric is highly revered, as it has been shown to provide significant benefits for both the body and the brain. In addition to a long tradition of use around the world, the potential benefits of turmeric have been the subject of numerous scientific studies. An example is this one, which not only looks at the benefits of curcumin in disease treatment, but also states that “a relatively low dose of curcumin can provide health benefits for people that do not have diagnosed health conditions.” In other words, whether you’re healthy or not, some of the benefits of turmeric are probably applicable to you.
The wide-ranging benefits of turmeric include:
Serves as a powerful block against free radicals in the body
Stimulates the body’s antioxidant defenses
Can help manage exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness
Linked to enhanced brain function and a decreased risk of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s
May help in treatment of depression
Thought to help ease anxiety and stress
May lower the risk of heart disease
Linked to a decreased risk of diabetes
May be helpful in the prevention and treatment of cancer
Used to treat symptoms of arthritis
May help prevent age-related diseases and eye degeneration
Boosts proper digestive function
Used to treat eczema and acne and promote healthy skin
Can help ease itching from insect bites and rashes
Drawbacks of Turmeric
The main drawback of turmeric is that it can be difficult for the body to absorb. It’s a problem that’s easily remedied, however, with the addition of black pepper. A compound in black pepper called piperine has been shown to help enhance curcumin absorption in the body by up to 2,000 percent. And thankfully, the spices work well together in culinary applications. Just be sure to add a dash of black pepper every time you eat curry or other foods containing turmeric in order to maximize the antioxidant effect.
How to Use Turmeric
With all the purported benefits of turmeric, you may be eager to add it to your daily routine. Want to know how to use turmeric? Here are some tips and tricks for incorporating turmeric in your day-to-day life:
Golden milk latte.
Move over, pumpkin spice latte. There’s a new drink in town—the golden milk latte (or turmeric latte), which usually contains a turmeric spice blend in steamed milk or milk substitute.
Turmeric is one of the most recognizable ingredients in curry due its bright yellow color. It’s also great in soups, stews, and sautéed or roasted vegetables like cauliflower.
Add a spoonful of turmeric to your next facial mask. Try a homemade blend of yogurt, lemon juice, and turmeric to brighten dull skin; or mix turmeric in aloe vera gel to soothe irritation.
Dab a homemade paste of turmeric mixed with lemon juice on your next breakout to reduce inflammation.
Yes, you can brush your teeth with turmeric. They’ll be bright yellow during the process (and your toothbrush will be stained), but once you rinse you’ll start to see a noticeably brighter smile—especially after a week or two.
A daily turmeric supplement is a great way to boost your intake of this super-powered spice. Just be sure to select one that also includes piperine for maximum absorption.
Smoothies and shakes.
Try our Tasty Turmeric Protein Shake recipe for a delicious antioxidant-infused start to your day, or for a post-workout recovery drink to help reduce inflammation.
In the order listed, add ingredients to your favorite BlenderBottle® shaker cup, close the leak-proof lid, and shake until oh-so-smooth.
1 cup milk of choice
1/2 mashed banana
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. agave (more to taste)
Generous dash black pepper
With all the benefits of turmeric and the multitude of ways you can use it, what are you waiting for? Add turmeric to your routine, starting today!