Our last post noted that the spice turmeric, which contains the active compound curcumin, is exploding in popularity as a super-healthy “functional food”. Many studies have been done showing multiple health benefits, and while not proven, it’s highly likely that if you regularly add turmeric to your diet, that you will enjoy some significant health benefits.
The basic challenge is that the active healthy substance in the turmeric root, curcumin, is not well absorbed, but there are tricks to improve that.
1) Curry powder is ok, but pure turmeric powder is much better
Curry powder contains turmeric, which gives the intense yellow color, but much better is pure turmeric powder, with a much higher curcumin content.
2) Raw turmeric root is best
Fresh turmeric root looks like a tiny carrot, and not found at supermarkets, but often at farmer’s markets. Store in the refrigerator.
Wash the raw turmeric well, then grind it in a blender or coffee grinder either raw or after boiling it and letting it dry. You can also slice the root and add it to many foods.
3) Add black pepper and/or oil to improve curcumin absorption
Adding black pepper to turmeric increases the absorption and bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2000%. You don’t need to add much, just a few shakes to each serving. Since curcumin is fat-soluble, eating it with fat also improves absorption. Add turmeric to a fry pan with sunflower or better, canola oil, then add vegetables. Or mix it in with extra-virgin olive oil (olive oil is healthier uncooked).
4) Optimal “dose”
Most of the studies showing health benefits have involved fairly large doses. For an adult, 1.5 to 3 grams is considered the optimal daily amount; best if divided over several meals, to prolong the time the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are working in your body.
5) Turmeric paste
Mix ground turmeric root with water, extra virgin olive oil, and black pepper. Experiment to find the best taste combination, and store it sealed in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You then have a quick source to add to various foods.
6) Mix turmeric with these foods, even popcorn
Add some of the paste, sliced root, or powder to a frying pan when cooking vegetables, rice or grains, eggs, soups, or mixed with a little olive oil over popcorn (and a few shakes of pepper).
7) Pinterest has good recipes
Search for “acafrão” or “turmeric” and you will find a wealth of recipes for breads, cakes, biscuits, soups, smoothies, teas, and more.
8) Tumeric latte or milk is trendy and good
Check Pinterest, or try:
- 2 cups of whole milk, soymilk, almond or coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon raw honey to taste
- Pinch of black pepper
- Tiny piece of fresh, peeled ginger root
- Blend all ingredients at high speed until smooth.
- Pour into a small saucepan and heat for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Drink immediately.
9) Health cautions
Turmeric can thin the blood, so avoid before surgery. Check with your doctor first if you take blood thinners, are on chemotherapy, have gallbladder problems, or are taking medications for diabetes or stomach disorders. Also, you will quickly learn that turmeric will stain appliances and surfaces, so wash it off without delay.
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)