Also called ‘holy powder’ in India, turmeric is a powerful spice that contains the active compound curcumin. Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory which makes it great for those struggling with inflammatory conditions. It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various health problems because of its therapeutic properties. Among its many beneficial and therapeutic properties, turmeric’s ability to fight inflammation is by far its most significant benefit and also the reason why it’s my best friend in the kitchen.
It’s super easy to add turmeric into our daily diet to take advantage of the many health benefits of curcumin but one of the main problems we face is its low bioavailability (rate of absorption in the body). With its numerous benefits, I like to make sure I am absorbing and getting as much as I can of this potent spice into my cells.
Here are a few ways to boost the bioavailability of curcumin so you can get the most out of it –
• Consuming turmeric in its whole food form (fresh or dried)
• Adding ground black pepper to it- this increases bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%!!!
• Consuming it in the presence of organic healthy fats – Turmeric is fat-soluble and for our body to fully absorb the compounds, we need to add it with a fat source (a few options are raw goats milk, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut oil, ghee). When it’s eaten with a healthy fat, the body directly absorbs curcumin into the bloodstream. Please use organic wherever possible.
• Adding heat – Your body can get the most benefit out of turmeric when its added to your cooking. I use it extensively in my heat based cooking.
Here are a few ways I like to add turmeric to my foods –
• In my cooking – curries, soups, sautéed vegetables, oven roasts, eggs, porridge and even to my homemade popcorn!
*Make sure to add black pepper
*Make sure to add a healthy fat
• Morning Smoothie
I use organic ground turmeric powder in my smoothie. To increase bioavailability, heat coconut oil and mix turmeric into it before blending or use avocado for healthy fat. I also grind in some black pepper.
• Vegetable Juice
I use fresh raw organic turmeric in my juices and add ground black pepper in order to increase bioavailability.
• Night time Turmeric Tea (Golden Milk)
Turmeric Tea is an ancient Ayurvedic recipe that is loaded with anti-inflammatory goodness. I love to enjoy this warming, wonderfully nourishing, gut healing drink before bed. I also find it’s a great way to tackle sugar cravings at night. There are many variations of this recipe online. The one I am sharing with you is the one I grew up drinking at my home. Recipe here.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of turmeric also make it great for treating skin conditions. When nothing else has worked, turmeric has always come to the rescue!
Note – Turmeric can stain your skin/clothes but don’t let this scare you from trying it and reaping its many benefits.