Turmeric is one of my favourite spices, and not only does it enhance your food, turmeric also has a good deal of health benefits, making it very good for you.
Found in South East Asia, turmeric is a part of the ginger family and is a rhizome, the main stem of a plant which grows horizontally underground with shoots growing upwards. It has a very long history of medicinal use in China and India, dating back nearly 4000 years.
You will recognize turmeric from its distinctive bright yellow colour, which, if you are not careful, will stain your hands, clothes and cooking utensils! The raw herb looks much like ginger and has a particular earthy taste.
In this blog I am going to look at some of the many therapeutic properties that this wonder-plant offers.
Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids which have powerful medicinal properties. The most well-known one is curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
Curcumin also boosts BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which is an important protein that promotes growth, survival and development of cells, especially those in the brain.
The BDNF protein plays a role in memory and learning, and can be found in areas of the brain responsible for eating, drinking, and body weight.
Good levels of BDNF equals better brain function, lowering your risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.
The benefits of turmeric
It helps fight inflammation in the body. There have been studies that have shown that turmeric can have a stronger effect on an issue than steroid medication.
It supports the immune system and is especially good at balancing an overstimulated immune system.
It helps brain health, memory and attention and has been known to help with depression.
As it’s an antioxidant, it’s good for the liver and aids detoxification, reducing the risk of liver disease.
The antioxidant nature of the herb It helps with anti-aging and promotes healthy skin.
It has been found to affect cancer growth and development and is thought to aid the prevention of cancer.
The anti-inflammatory element of turmeric means that it can help with arthritis. In a study in people with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug.
It keeps away the common cold and other viruses! Many people swear by taking ginger and turmeric at the first sign of sickness.
How to take turmeric
There are many supplements on the market which contain curcumin, which come as capsules or pills.
Turmeric can also be taken as a powder, in liquid form, or by using the plant itself.
There are many ways to add turmeric into your diet but note that it’s better absorbed into your body with black pepper, so be sure to add that too.
You can add raw or powdered turmeric to all your cooking. It is great in stir-fries, curries, soups, hummus, sprinkled over roasted vegetables, or added to smoothies. I add it everywhere. Remember, it will stain, so if using raw turmeric, wear gloves.
I add some to my morning drink of lemon and water. I do this daily to aid in flushing out toxins from my liver.
A warm cup of turmeric milk (known as golden milk, or a turmeric latte), is superb before you go to sleep, not only will the antioxidant properties help to get rid of toxins and repair your body, it also aids in a restful sleep.
I get a powdered turmeric Latter from Whole Foods, which is very good. I put one teaspoon with warm oat or almond milk.
Turmeric Paste Recipe
This paste is so easy to make. Keep it in the fridge and add it to your smoothies, almond milk, porridge, curries and soups. I even put it on my oven baked fish.
1/2 cup of organic ground turmeric
1 cup of water (you may need more)
1 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
70 ml of coconut oil
Place the turmeric and water in a pot on medium heat and stir until it becomes a paste. This should take about 8 minutes. It should not be too watery, so if it is, add more turmeric and if it is too dry, add more water.
Once the paste is ready, let it cool a little and when still warm, add the black pepper, coconut oil and ground ginger and mix well.
Once it has cooled, place in a jar and store it in the fridge. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!
I hope you have found this blog post useful, let me know your favourite ways to use turmeric. And , as always, if you have any questions, please get in touch.