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Cooking with Turmeric, Yellow Spice

How can you add more turmeric to your diet?

Turmeric is everywhere these days. The photogenic yellow spice pops up everywhere from Instagram feeds and wellness blogs to smoothie counters nationwide. You probably have a forgotten bottle of turmeric powder lurking in your kitchen cabinets right now.

But turmeric isn’t just a newly-trendy kitchen standby. It’s also a powerful health-enhancer whose beneficial properties have been recognized for thousands of years.

Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since 500 BCE. It’s also used in Chinese medicine as well as the cuisines of many Asian countries. Its health benefits have been widely studied, and the science adds up—turmeric’s active component, curcumin, has been shown to be beneficial for arthritis, metabolic syndrome, and inflammation-related illnesses, as well as improving mood and energy for healthy people.

For the full story on all of turmeric’s benefits, check out What’s so good about turmeric? But if you’re ready to hop on the turmeric train, read on.


Take turmeric supplements

If you take turmeric as a supplement, you’ll miss out on the flavor, but you’ll also probably be getting a higher and more effective dosage of curcumin.

Make sure you find a blend that combines turmeric with other ingredients to improve bioavailability. Good options are blends that include piperine (the active ingredient in black pepper) or quercetin-rich Gotu kola.

Crystal Star’s new Turmeric Complex is a simple way to incorporate turmeric’s health benefits daily. Turmeric Complex combines curcumin with Bioperine® black pepper extract to increase your ability to absorb curcumin by up to 2000%.


Cook with turmeric root

Studies show that raw turmeric has the most potent antioxidant effects, followed by boiled, roasted, then fried.
You can keep turmeric root fresh for up to four weeks by storing it in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Recipe ideas: 

  • If you don’t want to add black pepper to your breakfast juice blend (understandable), a great alternative to increase bioavailability is to blend turmeric root with apples or berries. These fruits are high in the flavonoid quercetin, which is also shown to increase turmeric’s benefits.
  • Stir grated turmeric root into your salad, or add it to your vinaigrette. Just make sure you add black pepper to maximize its effects.


Season with turmeric powder

If you buy turmeric powder, make sure it’s organic from a reputable source since some turmeric powder has been found to be adulterated with lead.

Recipe ideas: 

  • Turmeric makes a great addition to scrambled eggs. Just add ⅓ teaspoon of turmeric powder per egg, plus salt, pepper, and a splash of water, milk or cream.
  • You can pre-make a paste for turmeric lattes (a.k.a golden milk) by mixing one part black pepper to two parts each of ginger powder and ground cinnamon, three parts coconut oil, and twelve parts turmeric powder. Keep it in the refrigerator, and heat a spoonful with milk and honey or maple syrup.


Cooking for integrated health: turmeric’s just the beginning

In Western countries, diet and medicine are often separate, but that isn’t the case in other parts of the world.

Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medicine uses turmeric as one of many natural-food ingredients that can safeguard your health. In Ayurvedic cooking, you can find recipes and diets that, in concert with other treatments, can help address just about any health condition. If you like cooking (or if you’re trying to like cooking), it can be incredibly motivating to make a dish that helps guard you and your family against illness. Chances are, it’s tasty, too.



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