Today I’m teaming up with AlgaeCal to talk about the health benefits with turmeric and to share a superfood drink recipe with you.
Turmeric has been on my radar since about 2009 or 2010, when I was shadowing an integrative medicine doctor who specialized in HIV care at a comprehensive care clinic. She was from India and incorporated many Ayurvedic practices along with Western medicine approaches to disease management and to manage side effects from medications. It was an eye-opening experience that definitely influenced my desire to continue to learn more about complementary and alternative medicine in grad school and in my career. I also was introduced to some healing recipes that have become some of my go-to remedies.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that’s been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. Native to southeast Asia, it’s a root that comes from the Curcuma longa plant and has a warm, golden color when sliced into and a pleasantly bitter, peppery flavor. It’s what gives many curries their distinct color and taste. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been used for thousands and years to treat many conditions and has been studied extensively for its disease-fighting potential and preventive properties.
Some of the most common conditions turmeric is used to treat include:
- Pain and Chronic Inflammation
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Its anti-inflammatory benefits are also important for promoting bone health by guarding against the formation of osteoclasts, which are cells that break down bones.
During my time at the clinic, I was introduced to all kinds of ways to incorporate turmeric. Try it cooked into soups, grain dishes, or even added to a smoothie. It pairs well with spices like garlic and ginger, which have also been noted for their anti-inflammatory effect. Just not digging the taste or want to higher dose? You could also use it to make a tea or beverage.
The folks at AlgaeCal made this handy infographic about turmeric and its uses.
Everything You Need to Know About Turmeric Curcumin – An Infographic by the team at AlgaeCal
As I wrap up my year-long health coaching certification program this month, my experience at the comprehensive care clinic and what I learned there has been on my mind a lot. I’d ended up there through a random turn of events after a nutrition volunteer opportunity fell through and was only going to be there a few weeks, but I stayed a year! Sometimes I wonder which direction I might have gone in had I ended up doing something else with that time. Everything for a reason, right?
Since we’ve been talking about turmeric and ways to use it, I want to show off my amazing accountability partner and fellow dietitian, Jenna Madore, MS, RDN, LD , of Savor Food Life & Health in Maine. It’s been wonderful to get to know her on this journey of a year, and I’m super-excited to be sharing her turmeric drink recipe with you today! This makes a great concentrate you can mix with water and enjoy through the week to add a little anti-inflammatory boost to your day.
- 1 chunk of ginger, roughly chopped
- 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 32 ounces boiling water
- Halve lemons and squeeze. Place lemon juice into a quart mason jar.
- Place all remaining ingredients into jar.
- Add boiling water, cover and shake.
- Keep covered and refrigerated.
- To serve, add 1/4 cup of concentrate to a glass of ice water.
As a dietitian, I’m all about that food-first approach, so sometimes for patients dealing with inflammation, I’ll encourage them to try adding turmeric and certain other anti-inflammatory foods like blueberries and beets. If it’s something new to you, start with a little and work your way up to more to give your tastebuds and body a chance to to adjust. That said, supplements are also available for those who need a higher and/or consistent dose.
For people who do use medications and supplements, how something tastes can be a major in factor in whether they’re able to stick with the regimen recommended by their healthcare provider. AlgaeCal’s Triple Power Fish Oil supplement combines the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil with curcumin. It has a pleasant mango taste so it won’t give you that fishy burp thing you get with a lot of other fish oil supplements.
As with any supplement or dietary change, it’s always a good idea to touch base with your doctor to make sure you’re aware of any potential interactions. While side effects are fairly rare with turmeric or curcumin supplements, a few that have been noted are nausea, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea.
One thing I want to make sure I mention is that, while using dietary changes and supplements, when appropriate, to support your health goals, getting to the root cause of a health condition such as inflammation is super-important. Whether it’s related to diet, being overweight, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, or some other underlying cause, you could be eating all the turmeric in the world and it wouldn’t be the magic cure.
Have you ever used turmeric either in food or a supplement?
***Disclosure. This post is sponsored byAlgaeCal . I was paid to write about turmeric’s health benefits and when to use a supplement. Opinions are my own.
This has been another installment of the Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.
**This post may contain affiliate links.