Turmeric is a health- and beauty-boosting superfood that provides our bodies with a myriad of benefits. Long used in ancient systems of medicine to cleanse the body, reduce inflammation and support digestion, turmeric is a spice that we should all have on hand.
Turmeric is typically used in curry blends, but I’ve created three recipes that use turmeric, also known as Indian saffron on its own.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Have you ever noticed that when you cook with turmeric, something inevitably gets permanently stained? That’s its active ingredient called curcumin at work. Curcumin is responsible for the bright yellow colour of curry powders and ballpark mustard. Its colour is so potent that it’s used to dye many textiles. So, if turmeric stays on that white shirt, imagine what it’s doing on the inside of your body:
- Reduces inflammation – curcumin has been found to be as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin and hydrocortisone. It’s been found to be a safe and effective osteo and rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Turmeric also reduces inflammation throughout the digestive tract.
- Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s – researchers found that people in South Asian countries had a much lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s no wonder – many SA countries make ample use of turmeric in their curry blends. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been found to reduce the accumulation of amyloid beta plaque, a marker of Alzheimer’s. I think us North Americans can learn a lot from this, especially because this devastating disease is expected to rise as our elderly population increases.
- Increases antioxidant activity – our modern lifestyles put us in near constant contact with free radicals. The food that we eat, the polluted city air that we breathe and even by-products of normal metabolism can create cellular damage. But eating foods that are high in antioxidants can improve our body’s antioxidant capacity. Turmeric has been shown to prevent cancer and heart disease.
Turmeric needs three things in order to activate its power:
- Black pepper
When it comes fresh or dried turmeric, you can choose either. Just make sure that whatever you’re buying is organic.
- 1 mango, roughly chopped
- ½ small fresh turmeric root (or ¼ tsp powder)
- ¼ cup yogurt* (or ½ cup kefir*)
- 1 cup water
- Handful of ice cubes
- Dash of black pepper
- Optional: 1 tsp honey
- Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
- *ensure that your yogurt or kefir contains fat
- 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup black rice
- ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 2 cups water
- Fresh lime juice
- Drizzle of hot sauce (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Cut the cauli into small florets. Add to a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle turmeric, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. *Wear gloves or use some big spoons to do this – the turmeric will stain everything it comes in contact with.
- Transfer the turmeric cauliflower to a baking tray and pop in the oven.
- Meanwhile, combine all rice ingredients in a small saucepan and cook according to package directions. This rice generally takes 45-55 minutes to cook through.
- You may need to pull the cauli out of the oven and give it a stir and rearrange to ensure that all pieces are cooked thoroughly.
- The stars will likely align to bring you perfectly cooked rice and cauliflower at around the same time. Remove both from heat and give them a few minutes to cool down a bit.
- Divide rice and cauliflower among four plates, or get fancy and pile everything onto a large platter, with plenty of lime wedges, cilantro and a pinch of pepper and crunchy sea salt.
- Cauliflower and turmeric combine to provide super-potent prostate cancer protection.
- 3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
- 1 onion
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 2 lbs of carrots, roughly chopped
- 1L water (or enough to cover)
- 1 large orange, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh turmeric (or 1 tsp dried)
- Ginger to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion. Cook until translucent, around 4-5 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic, with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. If you’re using the dried turmeric, add it now.
- Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft, adding more water if needed.
- Remove the pot from heat and let everything cool enough to blend. Throw in the orange and raw turmeric and blend until smooth (you may need to do this in a few batches).
- Return everything to pot, turn the heat to low and grate in some fresh ginger to taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste and let the soup heat through.
- Serve with a big pile of greens wilted into it, some fresh cilantro and a definite drizzle of olive oil.
Wishing you less inflammation. xo Andrea