Sea Gal Superfoods: The Golden Spice

Check out this awesome blog on "the Golden Spice" from our golden queen Lauren Bristowe! 

As our society becomes more concerned with wellness in general, the search for healthy alternatives begins. Supplements, minerals, vitamins, powerful antioxidants, second home at the gym, all means in which to achieve optimal health.

While we are excited to be trying the newest health trends and thinking about the WHAT, it is also important to educate ourselves on WHY we are taking a certain vitamin, WHY we need a certain amount of cardio a week, WHY yoga isn’t just about stretching.  That way we approach our health with a more in depth and purpose based understanding of why something has specific benefits and how those benefits correspond to your health and wellness plan.

 

Today, we will be focusing on one of my favorite spices, Turmeric aka “The Golden Spice.”

A Quick Historical Look at Turmeric:

The dried root is ground into a powder and most commonly used as a spice in South Asian cooking and for dying. Turmeric is referred to as the “golden spice “or “spice of life” as it is associated with the sun, particularly during the Vedic era in India where the most common indigenous uses were rites and rituals intended to produce fertility and spiritual purification.

Turmeric has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a remedy for various ailments.  Ayurveda translates to “science of life”– ayur meaning “life” and veda meaning “science or knowledge.” Inhaling fumes from burning turmeric was said to alleviate congestion, turmeric juice aided with the healing of wounds and bruises, and turmeric paste was applied to all sorts of skin conditions – from smallpox and chicken pox to blemishes and shingles

In Hinduism, Turmeric is a common fixture in wedding rituals and prayer ceremonies as it has great religious and spiritual significance. On a woman’s wedding day, a string dyed yellow with Turmeric paste, known as a mangala sutra, is tied around the bride’s neck by her groom. This tradition signifies that a woman is married and is capable of running a household.  Turmeric has also been used to dye clothes and threads for centuries.

This ancient spice has been a staple for centuries as both a food and as a medicine.  Known in India as haldi, Turmeric is a root of the ginger family native to South Asia.

Despite its use in cooking for several thousand years, Turmeric continues to surprise researchers in terms of its wide-ranging health benefits.

Why Turmeric is the Most Bad Ass Spice Around

  1. Turmeric is an excellent source of both iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, copper, and potassium. The phytonutrients (a substance found in certain plants which is believed to be beneficial to human health and help prevent various diseases) in Turmeric include curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin, tumerones, and tumenorols.

As previously mentioned, Turmeric contains compounds known as curcuminoids, specifically curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient and is a powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant. It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions.  Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases.

Other benefits include decreased cancer risk and support in detoxification and now studies are showing that Turmeric intake now includes its potential for improving cognitive function, blood sugar balance, and kidney function, as well as lessening the degree of severity associated with certain forms of arthritis and certain digestive disorders including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colotis and inflammatory bowel disease.

The use of turmeric as a recipe spice has been shown to lower loss of beta-carotene in certain cooked foods. Beta-carotene is the yellow/orange pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their rich colours. The human body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which we need for healthy skin, mucus membranes, our immune system and maintaining good eye health. It is the antioxidant properties of numerous compounds in turmeric that researchers pointed to as the mostly likely cause of better beta-carotene preservation.

Tips, and Tricks for Tumeric

If you want to buy a turmeric/curcumin supplement, then you can get it online or from various health food and supplement stores. It is recommend that you find one with bioperine (another name for piperine), which is the substance that enhances absorption of curcumin by 2000%.  Without this substance, most of the curcumin just passes through your digestive tract due to its low solubility in water. This means that Turmeric is fat-soluble. When something is fat-soluble, that means it dissolves in fat. Without fat, the active component in turmeric, curcumin, has a difficult time making it past the stomach, into the small intestine, and into the blood where it can offer the greatest benefits. Here are a few suggestions to aid in the intake of curcumin.

Black Pepper: One can use the mixture of curcumin with pepper. Bioperine is an extract from the fruit of Piper nigrum (black pepper). It is one of the best ways to take turmeric by mixing it with Bioperine. Including black pepper in your diet or taking it with turmeric should help in absorption of turmeric in body.

Mixing with fats: Also mixing curcumin with fat will do. Curcumin can be mixed with coconut oil, flaxseed oil, olive oi, butter etc.

I leave you with my favorite way to enjoy Turmeric, the Turmeric Latte also known as “Golden Milk.” It aids in relaxation, and helps boost immune system. Here is a very easy and pain free Golden Milk recipe!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 heaping tablespoon fresh turmeric root, grated (or use approximately 2 teaspoons turmeric paste – see below)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 tablespoon coconut oil/butter
Raw honey or sweetener of choice to taste
Pinch of black pepper (optional)

METHOD

Gently warm the almond or coconut milk in a small saucepan. Do not boil. Add turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. Next, combine coconut oil with the mixture and gently heat together until melted. Add mixture into blender and blitz to create a foam. Stir in honey or sweetener of choice to taste. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Sip, savor & enjoy.