First, let’s discuss –

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a root plant related to ginger that has a dark brown skin and a deep sunset orange inside. It’s been used in  Ayurvedia (the sister science to yoga) for thousands of years as a functional food supplement for inflammation. You’ll find turmeric in most curry powder blends and that deep orange color present in many Indian and Asian cuisines can be attributed to turmeric. More specifically, it’s the curcuminoids that give food and cosmetics that bright hue.

You can find turmeric in capsule form, but for today, we’ll be focusing on the fresh stuff and I’ll not only tell you how to buy and store it but also give you a few of my go-to “no recipe recipes.” If you’re new around here, no recipe recipes are straightforward and give you a lot of freedom and flexibility to adapt and change per your preferences and eating styles but still give you an amazing dish with ease!

Turmeric Benefits for Everyone

The biggest benefit is that turmeric has been proven in multiple research studies to decrease inflammation (just as good as medications in some studies!) on a powerful level. Like many functional foods, the curcumin in turmeric has a huge antioxidant effect on the body by not only neutralizing free radicals but the compounds in curcumin increase the body’s own defenses.

Curcumin has been studied to potentially prevent heart disease and prevent and possibly treat certain types of cancer and brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Those are some pretty hefty benefits!

Turmeric Benefits Specifically for Men

Turmeric helps support a healthy prostate but has been shown to treat erectile dysfunction better than Viagra and Cialis in studies.

Turmeric Benefits Specifically for Women

Turmeric has been shown to slow down the progression of endometriosis, decrease menstruation pain and symptoms, helps with UTIs, and can be helpful in managing PCOS symptoms.

Feel free to look up further studies and information for any of these conditions with curcumin in turrmeric, or reach out to me with questions but I’m sure by now you may be thinking…what doesn’t this plant do?! (I know that’s how I feel sometimes).

Buying Turmeric

Fresh turmeric can be found loose in the produce section of a large grocery store, a farmer’s market, or in an Indian/Asian grocery store. I tend to find it near the ginger and by the herbs in the refrigerated section.

Aim for turmeric that is firm and isn’t shriveled or soft. If you see it’s dry or if they use a styrofoam and plastic wrap, it may contain excess moisture and you’d want to avoid both of those if possible.

Choose firm rhizomes and avoid soft, dried, or shriveled ones. Store fresh turmeric in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or airtight container for a week or two, or freeze it for several months.

Storing Turmeric

Store turmeric in your refrigerator in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. Turmeric can be frozen for several months but I find that I like to peel it prior to freezing so it’s ready to use in things like smoothies, teas, tonics, and juices.

Using Turmeric

Few key points:

  • The bright pigmentation can stain white plastic cutting boards/utensils. I like to hold the turmeric with gloves or a paper towel to avoid staining my fingers but I would suggest prepping turmeric on a glass, metal, or a non-porous surface. So if you usually cut herbs and produce on a plastic cutting board or on your counters – beware! Avoid this to avoid staining.
  • Turmeric/curcumin is better absorbed with black pepper
  • Curcumin in turmeric is fat soluble, which is why it can be helpful and better absorbed when combined with a fat source like the coconut milk in the turmeric milk.

2 easy ways I love using turmeric:

Golden Ginger Turmeric Tonic

I don’t have a juicer, but I’ve found I can make a clear juice/tea/tonic by blending up the ingredients and then using a cheesecloth or paper towel lined strainer to separate the pulp from the liquid. That’s what I did here and I would encourage you to try it too – I promise, it’s easier than it seems!

1 cup cubed pineapple, fresh or frozen

1 apple, chopped (optional but recommended if you like less tang)

1 inch+ piece of ginger, peeled

1 inch+ piece of turmeric, peeled

3 -4 cups of water.

Blend, strain, warm in medium saucepan and serve warm. Yep, warm. Soooo soothing for any cold, flu, or self care regimen that helps mega-boost your immune system and fight inflammation. Save leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week for a soothing elixur on demand….just warm back up! I do this sometimes as a part of meal prep, so I can have an immunity boost handy on crazy busy weeks.

This bright color is thanks to the antioxidant powerhouse turmeric – no filter needed!

Turmeric and Ginger Milk

1 inch+ piece of ginger, peeled

1 inch+ piece of turmeric, peeled

1 can of full fat coconut milk

big dash of cinnamon

dash of black pepper

water to thin out as necessary

Blend ingredients and warm in medium sauce pan over medium. Serve with drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Enjoy and keep leftovers in airtight container for up to a week.

Option B: skip the blending and chop the ginger and garlic before adding the coconut milk straight into the sauce pan.

Both of these recipes are so so sooo good and will have you consuming more turmeric than you possibly could by simply cooking with it. Plus, I always think fresh food first and I’d much rather drink a warm and soothing ginger turmeric tonic than take a silly pill. If you’re with me, try one of these in the next week and let me know what you think! Hopefully you’ll be making them on repeat like me. 🙂

 

My 2 Favorite Ways to Use Turmeric and Benefits of Turmeric for Men, Women, Everyone!

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