Although stress is part and parcel of today’s modern society, that doesn’t mean we should just accept it. Stress wreaks havoc with our brains and our bodies, so it is imperative that we take every step possible to protect ourselves from the irreversible damage that could occur. It’s proven that stress changes our brain in damaging ways, but studies on both animals and humans have shown that the active ingredient of a humble spice can reverse the brain damage caused by chronic stress.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in the golden yellow spice Turmeric. As well as reversing damage to brain cells, the polyphenol has also been shown to stimulate the formation of new brain cells. While Curcumin supplementation is recommended for maximum benefit for the brain, there are proven benefits to incorporating more Turmeric into your diet for general good health too. Benefits range from alleviating symptoms of the common cold and curing headaches, right through to helping prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are five ways to incorporate the golden goodness of Turmeric into your daily diet.
#1 Blend into a smoothie
The most commonly recommended amount in most smoothie recipes is 1/2 tsp of ground turmeric, or you can grate about a thumbnail size piece of raw turmeric into the blender. Be aware that if you use more than the recommended amount the other ingredients will not mask the pungent and slightly bitter flavor of the turmeric as well as they would normally.
#2 Brighten up plain food with a bit of color
Turmeric has long been used to give color to curries and plain rice (as well as used as a textile dye!), but why stop there! Sprinkle a dash of ground turmeric into mashed potato, or scrambled eggs if you want it to go unnoticed by the kids. You could also try it in bechamel sauce next time you make a lasagne.
#3 Keep calm and drink turmeric tea
There are many commercial brands of turmeric tea available nowadays, including organic. However, it’s just as easy to make your own. Add 1/4 tsp ground turmeric and 1/4 tsp ground ginger to a cup (250ml) of water and heat until boiling. Reduce the temperature to a simmer for 10 minutes then strain the mixture into a cup or mug. You can add a splash of almond milk if you need, as well as sweetener or honey if you wish. You’ll no doubt find plenty of different variations on this recipe, but whichever you prefer, there’s no denying the calming effects of Turmeric Tea.
#4 Season to taste
If you’re big on having the salt and pepper mills at the table why not add some turmeric to the mix – literally. According to Herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt “Black pepper improves the bioavailability of turmeric, making smaller doses more effective.” Simply add about 1/2 tsp black pepper to 1/4 cup of turmeric and transfer to a shaker for easy use at meal times.
#5 Mustard your meats
Mustard is the perfect companion to hot or cold meats, and most ready-made commercial mustards include turmeric as an ingredient. However, it’s super easy to make your own in small batches, so you don’t have to worry about preservatives. Blend 1/2 cup of ground mustard with 2 tbsp of vinegar (white wine vinegar gives a slightly sweeter taste), 1 tbsp water, one tsp of salt and one tsp of turmeric. Keep refrigerated. Tip: if you want to use mustard seeds, make sure to soak them beforehand so they can be ground. Yellow seeds are milder than dark seeds.
Turmeric is a very inexpensive spice and probably one of the cheapest Superfoods you can buy weight for weight. Now you know just how easy it is to incorporate the many health benefits of this wonder spice into your daily diet, there is no excuse not to get on board the Turmeric and Curcumin train.