One of the most revered spices for both cooking and healing, turmeric has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Finally, the Western world has begun to recognize its health benefits, many of which are backed by a strong body of scientific research.
Keep reading to find out why you may want to imbibe this golden spice regularly, and to discover some delicious turmeric-inspired drinks recipes.
Benefits of Turmeric
Chronic inflammation throughout the body is linked to a whole host of illnesses like asthma, allergies, heart disease, cancer, premature aging and more. This silent yet prevalent condition can be prevented or cured by eating primarily anti-inflammatory foods – including turmeric, a superstar in the fight against inflammation.
A whole body of research highlights the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric that is responsible not only for the spice’s health benefits, but for its golden yellow hue.
Of course, this means that turmeric can help kill the pain associated with inflammation in a variety of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and even post-workout muscle pain.
Turmeric has been used for centuries to relieve gas and bloating – with research confirming the validity of this old folk remedy.
In addition, the German Commission E, which determines which herbs can be safely prescribed in Germany, has approved turmeric for digestive problems. It’s thought that the curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, aiding digestion.
Rich in Antioxidants
The curcumin pigment is a powerful antioxidant which destroys free radicals in the body – those rogue molecules which damage cell membranes and DNA, and cause cell death.
For Liver Health
Long considered a tonic for the liver, turmeric has been found to improve symptoms of liver function, even in those with already impaired livers.
With antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, it should come as no surprise to discover that turmeric can provide a boost to the immune system when taken regularly.
Protect the Heart
Curcumin may help prevent cardiovascular diseases – the leading cause of death worldwide. This pigment has been found to improve the function of the endothelium (the lining of the blood vessels), helping the body to regulate blood pressure and blood clotting.
It’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are also vital in the fight against heart disease.
Protect the Brain
Curcumin has been shown to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), responsible for the growth and maintenance of nerve cells, which can improve cognitive function, memory and mood.
What’s more, it may even prevent cognitive decline.
Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia – which causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior – is associated with a chronic inflammatory response in the brain. It makes sense, therefore, that turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and circulatory effects may help prevent and treat this condition.
Improve Symptoms of Depression
As we’ve seen above, curcumin can increase BDNF, which improves mood. It may also boost the ‘happy hormones’, the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
In one small study, researchers found that depressed patients experienced similar improvements when taking either curcumin or Prozac! However, the patients that took both experienced the greatest improvement in mood – highlighting the potential of turmeric to boost mental health.
While many herbs, spices and other foods provide natural relief for asthma sufferers, turmeric may be one of the most potent spices asthmatics can use. It improves air flow, relaxes muscle spasms, restores normal breathing patterns, thins the blood and relieves asthmatic inflammation.
For the healthiest skin around, make turmeric an integral part of your daily beauty routine. When ingested or applied topically, it can speed up healing, reduce the signs of ageing, correct oily skin, and calm the symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, scleroderma, rosacea and other skin diseases. Turmeric can even reverse UV damage and is applied topically to treat hirsutism (abnormal hair growth) in women.
For more reasons to use turmeric for your skin, check out this post.
Even More Benefits…
The health benefits of turmeric don’t end there! From healing ulcerative colitis to lowering cholesterol, check out these 10 reasons to add turmeric to your daily diet.
16 Ways to Drink Turmeric
Now that you know what turmeric can do for your physical and mental health, it’s time to check out these tasty inflammation-fighting spiced drinks!
Golden Milk – this traditional turmeric drink, used in Indian households as a wellness tonic, is an infusion of either dry turmeric powder or fresh turmeric root in milk. Easy to prepare and highly palatable, it leads to better sleep, headache relief and much more.
Iced Turmeric Latte – on cooler days, try this iced turmeric latte, a chilled vegan version of Golden Milk. Made with cashew milk, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, lemon juice, sugar (optional) and just a pinch of cardamom and salt, it’s as refreshing as it is healing.
Wellness Shot – for a quick hit of health, down this detoxing shot upon waking. Packed with nourishing ingredients like coconut water, turmeric, ginger, lemon, sea salt and honey, it has an earthy flavor with a ginger zing and gentle sweetness. As it’s gone in one gulp, this shot is ideal for those who want the health benefits of turmeric but can’t stand the taste!
Hot Detox Tonic – if you want to feel warm, energized, and ready to tackle the day but don’t have any fresh ingredients on hand, then this ‘pantry drink’ is for you. Using ginger tea, cinnamon, ground turmeric, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup, it’s guaranteed to rev up your metabolism and boost circulation.
Black Pepper and Turmeric Tea – this spicy tea contains cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, raw honey and coconut milk along with an unusual addition … black pepper. Studies have found that the piperine in black pepper increases curcumin bioavailability by 2000%…meaning you get more bang for your buck with this tea.
Ginger Turmeric Lemonade – feed your soda cravings with this healthy sparkling refreshment. Along with turmeric, it contains anti-inflammatory ginger which aids in digestion, and lemon juice, which is both alkaline and detoxifying. A teaspoon of raw honey and some carbonated water add both sweetness and fizz so it tastes just like the ‘real deal’.
Cold & Flu Fighting Apple Green Tea Turmeric Tonic – take this on a weekly basis during the fall and winter months, and say goodbye to colds and flu. Sweet apple, fragrant cinnamon, tangy lemon, raw honey, earthy turmeric, creamy coconut oil, and spicy ginger, cayenne, and black pepper create a tasty blend of flavors that really complement the organic green tea. An absolute superfood tonic!
Golden Milk Kefir – take your Golden Milk up a notch by adding in the power of probiotics – those friendly little bacteria that improve the health of your gut and your whole body. Simply blend milk kefir with turmeric paste, coconut oil and raw honey for a seriously healthy cultured drink.
Turmeric Pineapple Water Kefir – like ginger ale but with the added earthiness and healthfulness of turmeric, this gut-friendly drink mixes raw honey, lemon, lime, pineapple, ginger and turmeric for a kefir soda that kids and adults will gulp down. Blend together a batch of concentrate to keep on hand for whenever you need a boost.
Turmeric Green Juice Cooler – cool down with this medicinal cocktail – a healthy green vegetable juice which harnesses the properties of cucumber, carrot, romaine, lemon and, of course, turmeric!
Carrot, Beet, Blood Orange, Ginger and Turmeric Juice – put some pep in your step and clear out your stuffy nose and head with this vibrant fresh juice which is packed full of vitamins, minerals and heat!
Golden Mango Smoothie – a meal in a glass, this tempting smoothie packs in plenty of nutrition – including Vitamins A, B6 and C, potassium, manganese, healthy fats, and even four grams of protein! Made with mango, banana, almond milk, coconut oil, chia seeds, turmeric, cinnamon and optional chili.
Tropical Cleanser Green Smoothie – this exotic tasting smoothie contains mango, coconut milk, ginger, lemon and turmeric, along with pineapple – which aids digestion and is rich in the powerful painkilling compound bromelain; and kale – the poster child of superfoods, containing Vitamins A, C and K; the minerals copper, magnesium and calcium; and essential omega 3 fatty acids.
Healthy Bloody Mary – this twist on a classic combines kale, fresh ginger, black pepper, turmeric, vodka, tomato juice and celery to make the healthiest cocktail you’ll likely ever consume!
Turmeric Bee’s Knees with Lavender – for a less saintly alcoholic beverage (but still pretty healthy nonetheless) try this aromatic tipple, made with gin, fresh lemon juice, turmeric, honey and lavender.
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