If you or your kids have inflammation, turmeric could become your most delicious, healing friend. Cooking with turmeric is an easy, healthy way to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is largely a diet of foods (wheat, sugar, dairy) that create inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation becomes allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, arthritis – and that’s just some of the As!
Wherever possible, it’s better for you and your family to eat whole-food forms of a nutrient rather than lab-produced extracts and supplements. In the case of turmeric/curcumin, it’s easy to get the benefits in the whole-food form, and learning to cook with turmeric outside of curry gives you taste options you may not have realized. I would recommend to use the fresh root when you can get it and ground powder when you can’t – in everything from smoothies to teas to entrees.
Until recently, turmeric was known in the West primarily through pre-mixed curry blends – that include chilies and are often too spicy for kids, yet turmeric can go sweet as well as savory. By using turmeric individually and adding only the spices your kids like (e.g. cinnamon), you can control how much overall heat you’re getting.
The yellow-orange pigment that gives turmeric its distinctive color is known as curcumin – a powerful antioxidant that lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. That same strong pigment can also dramatically stain fabric, skin, and other foods it is cooked with – so take care as you learn to use it. Apply hand lotion beforehand or use gloves to lessen staining of your hands and store turmeric-laden food in glass containers, as it will stain plastic.
Heating the turmeric and combining it with other ingredients can give it a bigger anti-inflammatory punch. The many ways turmeric is traditionally used and combined with other spices increases the bio-availability of the curcumin. The Ginger Turmeric Lemonade recipe below is great for the family and heats the turmeric and ginger to further activate their healing properties.
Ginger Turmeric Lemonade (Yield: One quart)
1 quart water (+ 1/2 cup for evaporation)
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder or 3 inches of fresh root, peeled, diced, and pressed*
1 teaspoon Ginger powder or 2 inches of fresh root, peeled, diced and pressed*
Juice of 1 fresh lemon or 2 fresh limes
10-20 drops of dark stevia liquid, to taste
1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan on the stove. Add the ginger and turmeric and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Remove pot from the stove and strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer to remove solid particles.
3. Add sweetener and lemon juice to taste. Note: Do not use white sugar, as that increases inflammation.
4. Drink warm or chilled.
This lovely buttery orange colored drink is both warming and stimulating, so is probably best taken earlier in the day.
* The potency of these ingredients varies according to freshness, season, etc., so experiment about what works best with what you have.
Try drinking this ginger turmeric lemonade for at least three mornings in a row to start feeling the effects. If you would like to learn more about turmeric you can also go to http://healingcatalyst.com/turmeric/
Image Credit: Denise LaBarre