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Turmeric - the Golden Spice


Although most of us might associate Turmeric with being a golden spiece due to its rich yellow color, the color is merely the tip of the iceberg when we consider all the wonderful properties of Turmeric that, at least in my opinion, really make it Gold.


If you've ever been put off by the pungent taste of this spice, I get you, I used to be the same. But ever since, many years go, I learned, and experienced on my own skin, the miraculous effects of this spice, I've taught myself to love it and use it on a regular basis- most days for sure and during the colder months I can honestly say I use it every singe day.

I'd known Turmeric helped with colds and had some anti-inflammatory qualities for many many years, but it's only recently, along with studying nutrition and then later specifically Ayurveda, that I've began actually reading up on and learning about all the goodness this spice has to offer.

It's now become an inseparable part of most of the meals I cook, but also things that you maybe normally wouldn't think to have with turmeric, for instance oatmeal. I drink my Golden Milk almost every single day, especially in the winter time and during the transitional stages between seasons when our body is extra prone to feeling not-so-great and our immunity tends to be a little low. I also am a big fan of another kind of turmeric-ginger concoction that I recommend all around and use myself every time I feel like I might be coming down with something- I'll share that in a different post soon!


There's so much information on Turmeric out there, but in case you don't feel like doing all the research here's a quick little compilation of all the goodness Turmeric has to offer and how to make sure your body gets the most of it.


Turmeric is fantastic when you want to strengthen your immune system. It helps you stay healthy as well as beat a cold if it's already managed to get you. It's good for fevers, sore throats and various kinds of infections. All this thanks to Turmeric's antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also relieves congestion, acts soothing when you have a cough, or even asthma. It can help you fight off inflammation from the inside (if you consume it) but it can also help from the outside, for example when applied on a wound or a bruise or swelling on the skin. It also can help alleviate the pain you may experience in that area.

Turmeric paste (made simply of turmeric and water + sometimes other ingredients are also added) has been used in place of face/body masks and creams to reduce redness and nourish the skin.

On top of all that, turmeric also helps regulate your blood sugar levels, aids digestion (can help you digest high-protein foods and prevent gas formation), has blood purifying qualities, stimulates blood formation and improves circulation by stimulating blood flow acting as an anticoagulant (thinning the blood). It also helps in cleansing your lymphatic system, as well as your liver.

Turmeric also has anti-parasitic and anti-arthritic properties.


A few tips on consuming Turmeric:

If we really want to take in all the wonderful goodness of turmeric we should be aware of the spice's low absorption/bio-availability. What it means is basically that it's not supereasy for our body to actually access all turmeric has to offer, in this case it's mostly due to the fact that it passes through our body very quickly- before we manage to actually make use of it. (if you're interested in the research and the actual chemistry behind these processes I invite you to check out the resources I used for this post). The good news is that there are a few simple tricks we can easily use to increase turmeric bio-availability and give our body a better chance to take advantage of its benefits.



Adding BLACK PEPPER

Studies show that black pepper (piperine) acts as an adjuvant in the case of curcumin (most active component of turmeric) and therefore, when consumed together with turmeric, increases its bio-availability by helping your body keep it in for longer.


Consume with healthy FATS

Turmeric is fat soluble and therefore consuming it along with healthy fats (eg coconut oil, sesame oil, olive il, etc) will make it easier for our body to absorb it.


WARM IT UP

Studies also show that heat increases the solubility of curcumin in water. While this does not directly translate to better absorption, it makes sense to assume that it could increase its availability. It also, in my opinion, tastes better with warm things, whether it's drinks- water or plant milk, or warm meals.



If you're not using Turmeric in your kitchen (and/or self-care) you're really missing out.

The recommended daily dose of turmeric is about 1/4 of a teaspoon.


You should be careful with turmeric if you're either pregnant, experiencing gallstones or if you're on blood-thinning medication, in which case turmerics anti-coagulant property might intensify the drugs effect on your body. Other than that, when consumed in moderation it can only benefit your body, its immune, digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems and, by doing that, it really can contribute a great deal to your overall well-being:)





Ayurvedically Speaking;)

For those of you who speak Ayurveda: although too much of it can aggravate Pitta, turmeric is considered a tridoshic spice. It's warming and dry, definitely good for balancing Kapha and Vata, (maybe for Vata consume with some extra fats to counter balance the dryness). In terms of the 6 tastes it's pungent, bitter and astringent.




 

Interesting in reading more? Here are some of my favorite resources for this article:


https://www.turmericforhealth.com/

https://www.joyfulbelly.com/

https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/turmeric/

Lad, Vasant. (2009). Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.

Lad, Vasant. (2006). The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Piatkus Books.

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