It’s true that adding more turmeric to your diet isn’t going to instantly transform your health, but over time it could certainly make an important difference. Research shows this flavorful spice, famous for giving curry its rich color, may help with everything from warding off dementia to reducing your risk of cancer.
The active ingredient in turmeric, known as curcumin, is a potent antioxidant, has demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, and can exert a pretty powerful anti-inflammatory effect. In fact, in one study, turmeric extract supplements taken for six weeks worked just as well as ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
While supplements are one way to put curcumin to work for you, adding some fresh or powdered turmeric to your dishes every day might be an even more powerful method. That’s because turmeric is fat soluble; meaning when accompanied by some fat, curcumin has an easier time making it past the stomach, into the small intestine and into the bloodstream, where it can be of the greatest benefit.
In addition to eating turmeric alongside healthy fat like coconut oil or avocado, to ensure optimum curcumin absorption you should also add a bit of black pepper. Research has shown that the compound piperine in black pepper helps make curcumin more available, so it can be better absorbed before it is metabolized by the liver.
Eating extra turmeric doesn’t have to mean whipping up a complicated curry. Here are a few simple ways to get more of this healthy spice into the mix every day.
Sprinkle on an Avocado
Simply halve a ripe avocado, sprinkle with a bit of turmeric, salt and black pepper and enjoy.
Add to Scrambles
Tossing in a pinch of turmeric when making tofu or egg scrambles will add a subtle flavor and a bit of color. Don’t forget to add some ghee or olive oil and a bit of black pepper.
Blend into a Smoothie
Fresh turmeric root is great in juices and smoothies, or add a pinch of the powdered variety dissolved in a tablespoon of coconut oil. Check out this recipe for our anti-inflammatory smoothie.
Make a Turmeric Tea
Simmer fresh turmeric root with your milk of choice and a bit of honey to create a warm, comforting beverage.