By now, you’ve probably heard about the amazing things turmeric can do for you.

But, just in case you haven’t, here’s the lowdown. Turmeric is an orange colored spice, made orange by a little thing called curcumin (more on that later). The plant grows naturally in Southeast Asia, but you can grow it at home too (instructions here). If you’ve ever had any curry before, you’ve probably eaten at least a little turmeric before. It’s also found in some foods just for the golden coloring, since it has the tendency to leave a little trace wherever it goes (more on that later).

So, what’s all the fuss about??

Health Benefits

Curcumin-that thing that makes it orange- also has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can be caused by a number of things, and can manifest in a host of symptoms that affect your entire body (hopefully not all at once): fatigue, muscle soreness, acne, joint pain, bloating, the list goes on. It’s recommended as part of a holistic approach to managing autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

In conjunction with the anti-inflammatory benefits, turmeric also helps with detoxing (which makes your liver/intestines happy), and can help block pain. Nutritionists recommend adding black pepper to your food/drinks when using turmeric, because it helps your body absorb all the good stuff.

“Health is wealth,” and adding this spice to your diet is an easy way to increase your wellness efforts (and your overall health).

Recipes

Golden Milk. This is a tasty, spicy hot drink that I’ve replaced hot cocoa and chai with as a fall/winter comfort drink. By making the turmeric past (made with water, pepper, and turmeric) a little in advance, you can whip this up any time during the week. I use this recipe from Healthy Holistic Living.

Detox Drink. I don’t have a name for this one, unless you count “that weird thing I drink every morning.” This is a bit of a whimsical drink, but all you need is warm water, 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon turmeric, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Once you mix it together, drink it first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach if you can). It’s not the best tasting concoction in the world, but all the ingredients help flush out your digestive system, and it’s been a good cold remedy for me in the winters.

Baking Soda Turmeric Face Mask. Last year I was dealing with really bad acne- like the “before” pictures you see in Proactiv commercials (a dermatologist later found that it was due to a hormonal imbalance). Desperate for some relief, I tried almost everything, including a turmeric face mask. All you need is water, baking soda, and turmeric. I made this mask once a week for two months, and one important takeaway: do NOT try this if you’re planning on going out in public afterwards. The turmeric leaves your face a slightly orange tint which takes a bit to disappear in spite of your best scrubbing efforts, so you’ll look like you had a rough encounter with self-tanner.

If you’re dealing with painful, cystic acne, this mask is amazing (remember how turmeric helps block pain? Boom). There was a noticeable difference in redness and swelling, but the paste dried out my skin and the baking soda irritated it a bit (I have sensitive skin so I probably left it on too long).

This mask looks a bit friendlier, and adds raw honey so I might give it a try (once or twice a week I use a raw honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg mask to help redness and it gives my skin a good clean without drying it out).

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower. I’m all about roasted veggies, and like to alternate between broccoli and cauliflower especially. A lot of people I know have mixed feelings, or blatant dislike, for cauliflower (“It’s bland!” “I don’t know how to eat it!”  (if you’re lucky, you may even have leftovers). This turmeric roasted cauliflower recipe adds spice AND color to an otherwise “bland” veggie. Talk about good and good for you 🙂

Smoothie. No matter what flavor smoothie I’m making, I always throw in about 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric. It’s such an easy way to include it in my diet. My all time favorite smoothie recipe for integrating turmeric is this mango smoothie, just add 1-2 teaspoons of which is a spring/summer go-to!

**Keep in mind that the Ingredient of the Week is not meant to replace any medication or doctor’s advice, this is just based on what I’ve found works well through my own trial and error**

What are your favorite turmeric recipes? Please share in the comments!

Any recommendations for upcoming Ingredients of the Week?

 

Ingredient of the Week: Turmeric
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