If you haven’t already started incorporating Turmeric into your diet, you may want to consider it.
Turmeric is a spice that has been used medicinally for centuries and extensive research has proven what our ancestors already knew to be true. Studies show Curcumin (the polyphenol found in Turmeric) has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal activities. It’s been proven to aid in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and high cholesterol - plus a myriad of other health conditions.
If you’re a generally healthy person with no diagnosed health condition, you can benefit from incorporating a low dose of curcumin into your routine as well. Curcumin enhances recovery and performance in active people by reducing exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness. Meaning, it can help you push harder while you train, and also help you recover faster so you can get back at it the next day!
Unfortunately, the turmeric spice you buy at your local grocery store alone just won’t cut it if you want to see any real health benefits. Curcumin by itself is poorly absorbed, and rapidly metabolized and eliminated. Unless you ingest your turmeric with something that increases its bioavailability, most of the curcumin will be absorbed directly into the stomach wall and the lining of the liver, instead of the bloodstream, where you need it.
So, what activates curcumin? Black Pepper is most commonly used to increase curcumin’s bioavailability. Piperine, a compound found in pepper, has been shown to increase curcumin’s absorption rate by 2000% when the two ingredients are combined. Whenever using turmeric, whether in a juice, smoothie, curry, or latte (recipe below)- a light sprinkle of black pepper will go a very long way.
Consuming your turmeric with some high-quality fats is also very beneficial. Turmeric is fat soluble so the fats will help bind the turmeric and guide it through the stomach and liver and into the bloodstream where the curcumin can be absorbed optimally. Coconut or avocado oil are great options to combine with your turmeric to make it more bioavailable.
If you choose to use a turmeric supplement, make sure to look for one that includes black pepper, and/or quality fats.
My favorite turmeric supplements are: Curcumin Gold, by Pura Thrivehttps://purathrive.com/liposomal-curcumin-gold/
Mega Food Daily Turmeric - Nutrient Booster Powder (great for making Golden milk lattes!) https://www.megafood.com/
Here are two of my go-to turmeric recipes:
¼ tsp TurmericDash of black pepper¼ cup frozen mango¼ cup frozen banana1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender.
½ cup organic coconut milk½ cup water¼- ½ tsp turmeric powder (+ black pepper if not already in powder)1 Tbsp Maple Syrup1/4 tsp cinnamon1 ½ tsp coconut oil or butter
Heat coconut milk and water until hot but not boiling.
Add turmeric, maple syrup & coconut butter (add black pepper if powder does not have it)
Blend all ingredients in a heat-safe blender until froth forms. (starting on low, slowly increasing the speed)
(The Source Café also makes a delicious Turmeric Latte)
Kara Lang Romero is a holistic nutritionist, former professional soccer player, Olympian, sports broadcaster, mom, yogini, and plant-based foodie.
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