Turmeric is a magical spice. From the same family as ginger, this root herb is warming and bitter in nature, but has a lovely mild, woody flavour. The healing properties of turmeric have been greatly researched, and it is used widely by natural therapists, both in liquid, capsule and powder (dietary) form. It has a long tradition in India, where it is used generously and daily in the diet.
Turmeric is a beautiful antioxidant, scavenging free radicals and protecting our DNA. It is also massively anti-inflammatory (great for arthritis, menstrual pain), is protective of our liver, improves liver detoxification, and can decrease blood lipids – improving cholesterol levels. Not only that, but turmeric can promote wound healing, is antimicrobial, and its active component curcumin can be used in cancer treatment.
The great thing about turmeric is that it is fairly easy to get through your diet. You need around one teaspoon daily to have a therapeutic effect, or less for general wellbeing. Apart from adding it to your curries, stews, soups, and rice or grain dishes, turmeric is also great friends with cauliflower, and egg, so feel free to sneak some into your omelettes.
One potential downer of this superhero called turmeric, is that it can be quite poorly absorbed by the body. Lucky I have a couple of fancy tricks for you. First of all, turmeric is fat soluble, so be sure to consume it together with some fat – usually the meals that you would be adding it too do have fat of some kind, so this is great. Secondly, black pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric by over 1000% – wowsers, so add some black pepper into the same meal.
Another idea is this golden milk, an ancient, traditional drink. This is my version. It is a lovely, chai-esque kind of deal. I have included healthy fat, black pepper, and made it with coconut water as well as the milk, for extra goodness – however you can easily replace the coconut water with plain water if you don’t have any on hand.
Golden Turmeric Milk
3 black peppercorns
1 cardamom pod
1 tsp fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground)
1 tbs fresh turmeric (or 2 tsp dried ground)
1 cinnmon stick (or 1/2 tsp ground)
1 cup coconut water
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
Slightly bash up all the spices together using a mortar and pestle, or if you don’t have one just by crushing under a rolling pin gently on a chopping board.
Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan and gently bring to a low simmer. As soon as you see any bubbles, remove from the heat and let it set and the spices infuse for 10 minutes or so.
Strain out the spices and enjoy! I like to add a little coconut oil to mine as I just love it, but this is completely optional – there will be enough fat in the coconut milk to aid absorption. This recipe will make enough for several servings. Store in a glass jar in the fridge and reheat as needed. x