Turmeric: the spice that gives curry its rich pigment. Traditional Indian culture has been using it for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb, but just recently, science has started to research what Indians have long known: it really does contain medicinal properties.
What makes turmeric so powerful?
The main compound/active ingredient is curcumin, a powerful antioxidant. Curcumin can help in your body’s fight against inflammation, which we know plays a major part in almost every chronic disease. It also delivers a strong defense against free-radicals, which are to blame for aging. Curcumin not only blocks free-radicals directly, but also stimulates the body’s own antioxidant defenses. Additionally, this compound can help brain function by increasing levels of BDNF, which is a type of growth hormone in your brain that helps you create new connections between neurons.
Fresh turmeric can be grated into soups, salads, teas, or tonics. We love to make “golden milk,” a warming latte-style drink made with turmeric powder. Add almond milk and cinnamon for a cozy, anti-inflammatory replacement for coffee.
Pro-tip: try to consume turmeric with black pepper. Black pepper contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by about 2,000%. If you are using a pre-packaged product, make sure it has black pepper in the ingredients. If you are using fresh turmeric, don’t forget to grind some black pepper, too!