Turmeric, the Indian spice which serves as the main ingredient in curry, is a powerhouse of an herb, and one which is certainly worth including in your daily spice palate. The yellow/orange herb is a beautiful blend of earth and fire in taste, and and is wonderful mixed with peppers, cumin, coriander, and oregano. It also pairs extremely well with cinnamon, but it’s more than its versatility as a culinary ingredient that makes this herb so wonderful.
Turmeric’s Long-List of Can-Do’s
Turmeric has been shown to be fairly effective at lowering cholesterol, and is generally championed as a great preventative spice for cardiovascular issues. It also helps lower triglycerides and may help balance blood sugar, meaning it’s a great spice for diabetics. Perhaps its most notable effects is in its ability to lower inflammation, which makes it very useful in helping people who have inflammatory sources of pain, such as arthritis or sprain/strain injuries. Turmeric, or its main constituent, curcumin, is often put in herbal supplements for pain.
Turmeric for Metabolic Diseases
Because it’s known to help lower inflammation, it’s likely that turmeric helps with a great number of metabolic diseases which have foundations in increased inflammatory states. Its also a great herb to include in workout powders and protein supplement shakes.
Try Turmeric with Black Pepper
When cooking with turmeric, try and use black pepper as well, since the constituents in pepper help make the turmeric more bioavailable to the body. Here is a wonderful recipe that has been circulating around the internet, and is absolutely delicious:
Turmeric Mango Smoothie
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup mango
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp chia seeds
For more of a smoothie texture, use frozen mango and frozen bananas.
And here is a more savory recipe for a curried carrot soup, which I absolutely love:
Carrot Turmeric Soup
6-8 big carrot sticks
1 large sweet potato, or 2 small
(total – about 1.25 lbs of carrots and sweet potato)
2 large cloves garlic
1 medium onion
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp turmeric
½ tsp black pepper
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
4 cups veggie stock plus 2 cups water
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake carrots, sweet potatoes, and ¾ of the onion at 400 degrees with olive oil and salt and pepper. All of these will take about 25 minutes. Bake the garlic as well, but take this off in 10 minutes so it does not burn.
Dice up the remainder of the onion and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat a bit of oil over low heat, saute the remainder of the onion until translucent (with salt) . Add the turmeric, garam masala, and ginger and heat just until fragrant (30 seconds). Add the water and stock, and bring to a gentle boil, cover, and reduce to a low simmer.
Add the roasted garlic and all of the roasted veggies to the pot. Allow to cool slightly and then puree in blender.
Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.