• Emily Ranucci, MS, RD

Why You Should Be Eating Turmeric (And How to Consume It Properly) | Turmeric Paste Recipe

Updated: Jan 31, 2019


Turmeric, a plant in the same family as ginger, is one of the most incredible healing foods on Earth. Its medicinal uses date back nearly 4000 years to the Indian Vedic culture. Yes, a plant was used as medicine to treat a variety of health conditions. Imagine that!


Turmeric has since been the subject of several quality, peer- reviewed research studies, which support its medicinal (and preventative) uses. Today, this vibrant orange root remains widely recognized for its natural healing properties and can be incorporated within the diet in many delicious ways. Don’t forget to combine with an adjuvant for the full benefit (see below)!





Optimize The Body With Turmeric


The most exciting benefit of Turmeric comes from its key bioactive compound, Curcumin. This compound is an incredibly powerful antioxidant, making it a popular and scientifically supported choice to fight inflammation, and inflammation- related conditions.


Chronic inflammation within the body has been labeled as the ‘silent killer,’ as it is a breeding ground for diseases such as obesity, diabetes, joint conditions, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. This inflammation slowly creeps in over time through daily stressors that we are exposed to such as processed foods, environmental toxins and emotional stress. Consuming foods such as Turmeric, with potent anti-inflammatory properties is imperative to offset this burden.



Some of the many ways Turmeric can benefits our bodies:


Cancer. Studies suggest that Turmeric may reduce the risk of developing cancers (1), as well as prevent the spread, and promote the death of cancer cells (2).


Joint Pain. Symptoms of inflammatory joint conditions, such as in Rheumatoid Arthritis, have been shown to be reduced with Turmeric intervention (3).


Depression. Curcmin has shown to reduce symptoms of depression, and stands aside mainstream medications (4).


Alzheimer’s. There is unfortunately no treatment for Alzheimer’s yet, however the disease is known to have inflammatory characteristics, which may be reduced and prevented with Turmeric (5). Curcumin is also known to have the ability to cross the blood- brain barrier (6).


Heart Disease. Studies have shown Turmeric to improve endothelial function (7), and reduce systemic inflammation (8), both of which are major factors in heart disease onset and progression.


Delays the Aging Process. Oxidative damage within the body physically degrades the body’s structures. So it’s no secret that antioxidants, including Curcumin have shown to significantly reduce this, preserving the body’s structures and promoting a more youthful appearance (9).



Adjuvants to Increase Absorption (4 ways)



An adjuvant is simply a substance that helps to increase the potency or effectiveness of another. Curcumin is poorly absorbed by the body when Turmeric is consumed alone. The good news is that there are 4 easy ways to overcome this:


1. Combine with black pepper. Black pepper contains a compound called Piperine, which increases the absorption of Curcumin by nearly 2000%! Just a few sprinkles will do, which even makes it possible to sneak it into sweeter recipes such as a Turmeric Latte. You won’t even taste it, I promise :)


2. Combine with fats. Curcumin is fat soluble, which means it can only be absorbed in the presence of fat. Add a touch of coconut oil to that latte, or just make sure the meal you are consuming has some fats!


3. Combine with Quercetin- rich foods. Quercetin is a compound found in many plant foods such as onions, peppers, apples and green tea. A curry meal (contains Turmeric) with onions and peppers is a great option.


4. Warm it up. The bioavailability of Curcumin within the body has been shown to increase when it is warm. However, refrain from blasting it with heat, as some studies suggest the compound is deactivated when exposed to long duration, high heat. Try adding this spice towards the end of your cooking procedure.




Turmeric Paste Recipe:


This is my #1 hack to making Turmeric a consistent component in my diet. This paste is versatile and very easy to make. Whip up a batch at the beginning of the week, then throw a tbsp or two in a latte, a dinner meal, muffins, etc when you have the opportunity. The possibilities are endless, really.


Ingredients:

½ cup water

⅓ cup turmeric powder


Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, add water and Turmeric powder.

  2. Cook on low heat, while consistently stirring for 6-8 minutes until a thick paste has formed (consistency of pumpkin puree).

  3. Transfer to small glass jar (4oz is a good size) and let cool on the counter for 15 minutes.

  4. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days.


And there you have it. Food as medicine in full swing with this one. Try out the Turmeric paste, combine with an adjuvant, and reap the benefits. Your body will thank you!



Resources:

  1. Ravindran J, Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin and cancer cells: how many ways can curry kill tumor cells selectively?. AAPS J. 2009;11(3):495-510.

  2. Carroll RE, Benya RV, Turgeon DK, et al. Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011;4(3):354-64.

  3. James W. Daily, Mini Yang, and Sunmin Park.Journal of Medicinal Food. Aug 2016. doi:10.1089/jmf.2016.3705

  4. Sanmukhani J, Satodia V, Trivedi J, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytotherapy Research. 2013;28(4):579-585. doi:10.1002/ptr.5025.

  5. Mishra S, Palanivelu K. The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer's disease: An overview. Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2008;11(1):13-9.

  6. Farooqui AA. Therapeutic Importance of Curcumin in Neurological Disorders Other Than Alzheimer Disease. Therapeutic Potentials of Curcumin for Alzheimer Disease. 2016:297-334. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-15889-1_8.

  7. Akazawa N, Choi Y, Miyaki A, et al. Curcumin ingestion and exercise training improve vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal women. Nutrition Research. 2012;32(10):795-799. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2012.09.002.

  8. Usharani P, Mateen AA, Naidu MUR, Raju YSN, Chandra N. Effect of NCB-02, Atorvastatin and Placebo on Endothelial Function, Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Markers in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Drugs in R & D. 2008;9(4):243-250. doi:10.2165/00126839-200809040-00004.

  9. Sikora E, Scapagnini G, Barbagallo M. Curcumin, inflammation, ageing and age-related diseases. Immun Ageing. 2010;7(1):1. Published 2010 Jan 17. doi:10.1186/1742-4933-7-1


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©2018 by Emily Ranucci