Turmeric – my favorite spice!

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

Herbs and spices are unlikely have any downside to health and add interest and flavor to food with no calories or added sodium. One of my favorites is turmeric.

This bright orange spice comes from a root in the ginger family. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric that provides many of the know health benefits. It is a polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

One of the biggest benefits of curcumin appears to be related to cognitive health. Research shows regular intake of this super compound leads to increases in sustained attention and improvements in working memory and processing speed. Because of its ability to reduce neuroinflammation, it can also contribute to reduction in anxiety symptoms and may even reverse damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Another great benefit of curcumin is its therapeutic impact on reducing joint pain. Studies show that it is just as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories at treating osteoarthritis and other skeletal pain without the negative gut issues that can come with prolonged use of these drugs.

It can also be fantastic for gut health as it reduces any inflammation in the gut and helps to heal the gut lining.

One challenge with curcumin is the limitations in how our body can use it. It has low bioavailability, low intestinal absorption and rapid liver metabolism. One way around this is to pair it with piperine, an active compound in black pepper. This increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%. Pairing it with a healthy fat such as olive or coconut oil can also improve the bioavailability of curcumin.

Turmeric provides a warm flavor to a variety of dishes. Start slowly as the flavor can come on strong. A wonderful soothing drink is to make “golden milk.” Combine 1/4th teaspoon turmeric with other warm spices such as ginger, cinnamon and a pinch of black pepper. Add it to a small saucepan and create a paste with a small amount of warm water. Add a plant milk of your choice and 1 tsp of a natural sweetener such as honey or pure maple syrup. Wisk until blended and warm over medium heat.

Turmeric and a pinch of black pepper can also be added to soups, curry, smoothies, scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese. A high-quality curcumin supplement in blends with improved bioavailability can often be beneficial as well. If you need guidance on a curcumin supplement, reach out to tamibest@promiseofvitality.com

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