that weird spice that came with your spice rack that you have no idea what to do with.
I got mine as part of a kit from Penzeys Spices, given to me as a gift (thanks Margaret!). I blasted through the garlic, oregano, pepper and cinnamon. But the bright orange cheese (and by that I mean turmeric) stood alone.
And so it remained until a few months ago when I found very good use for it. You see, back during fall allergy season, I was waking up with this swollen feeling in my upper respiratory area every single morning. I felt like I couldn’t swallow. And no amount of water would make it better. I knew I wasn’t sick, because the symptoms would always subside throughout the day.
Through writing this blog, I’ve learned one very important lesson:
Food and drink can heal, or at least minimize, a lot of ailments.
So I skipped the allergy drugs, and decided to do a little bit of research. I eventually found this beauty that I told you about on my spicy smoothie post.
SINUS RELIEF TEA
- 1 cup of hot water
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- squeeze of lemon juice
- pinch of cayenne
- pinch of turmeri
As you may have guessed, IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY. The swollen feeling immediately felt soothed, and it was all gone before I left the house for work. The reason I was told this combination worked was in large part to my red-headed-step-child spice: Turmeric.
Why Turmeric is Awesome
The bright yellow orange pigment of turmeric is called curcumin. THIS is what does a lot of the heavy lifting. Studies have shown that curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects can be comparable to hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone, as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin (1). But since it’s coming from a plant, it’s not toxic, and you’re not going to experience toxic side effects (i.e. ulcers, intestinal bleeding, etc). Drug benefits without drug side effects? THAT’S AWESOME.
At it’s very best, this is GREAT news for people suffering from more serious illnesses such as Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis (2)(3). But I also believe it can be a great benefit to a lot of us who – whether we realize it or not – are struggling with inflammation on a regular basis.
Don't get me wrong, we need inflammation. It's our bodies way of protecting and healing itself. But sometimes, our body goes haywire and the inflammation doesn't stop. If you have allergies and sinus issues, arthritis, bloating, gas and constipation, or muscle aches and pains, you're experiencing inflammation. And fortunately, there are easier ways to address these issues without resorting to drugs (Given that your condition is not serious, of course. Please consult with a medical professional if it is as I AM NOT ONE).
When I find something I like (especially if it’s good for me), I tend to get a little obsessive. Basically, HOW CAN I PUT THIS IN EVERYTHING I EAT? Best part is, I love the taste just as much as I love the health benefits. It’s peppery, a little spicy and slightly reminiscent of my favorite flavor in the whole world: ginger. I have found it pairs really well with cayenne if you want an extra kick.
NOTE: Turmeric does come in supplement form and some recommend that this is the best way to experience its health benefits. This is something I plan on looking into. But it’s still effective, so much more fun, and cheaper to incorporate it into your kitchen. Right? So with that, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite turmeric uses so you can give it a try.
Another Note: You can buy real turmeric root at the health food store. It will need to be peeled and chopped before use. It does taste fresher and food is always better in its original form. However, there is nothing wrong with going with a good ground turmeric powder for convenience. My favorite is Frontier because they don’t have GMOs or artificial colors or preservatives.
1. ROASTED TURMERIC SWEET POTATOES: Roll sweet potatoes in melted coconut oil and sprinkle with ½-1 tsp. turmeric, ¼ tsp. cayenne, salt and pepper (to taste). Roast for 30 minutes at 425, turning them over halfway.
2. ROASTED TURMERIC BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Roll Brussels Sprouts in melted coconut oil and generously sprinkle with ½-1 tsp. turmeric, ¼ tsp. cumin, ¼ tsp. cayenne, salt and pepper (to taste). Roast for 20 minutes at 375, turning them over halfway. Also works great with broccoli.
3. SOOTHING TURMERIC SMOOTHIE: 1 cup of greens (like spinach or kale), handful of frozen pineapple, ½ inch of fresh ginger root OR ½ tsp. ground ginger, ½ inch of fresh turmeric root OR ½ tsp. ground turmeric powder, ½ tsp. cinnamon, dash of pepper
4. KICK IN THE PANTS TURMERIC TEA: Hot water, lemon slice, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, dash of cayenne, dash of turmeric and honey (to taste, if you need a sweetener)
5. GOLDEN (TURMERIC) EGGS: No real recipe here. I just find that the peppery flavor compliments omelets and fried eggs well. I sprinkle it on top of my eggs right before they’re done cooking, along with a dash of cayenne and salt and pepper.
Turmeric is better digested in the bloodstream with two things: BLACK PEPPER (contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin) and FAT (such as oil, butter, avocado, etc) because it is fat soluble.
Okay, your turn! Does anybody else use Turmeric? Do you have achy inflamed muscle pain or a bloated stomachache and want to be my turmeric test subject? PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!