Turmeric, one of the best anti-inflammatory foods and supplements, isn’t just for adding flavor to curries and teas. I’ve called in my friend Andrea Donsky, founder of the natural and organic living site NaturallySavvy.com, to share 13 surprising turmeric uses that you can integrate into your diet and lifestyle today. Take it away, Andrea!
Note: This post was first published on Naturally Savvy and has been republished with permission.
Turmeric is the super spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound.
Whether it’s in your kitchen, medicine cabinet, or makeup kit, turmeric can play a significant part in making your life better, tastier, and healthier.
13 Surprising Turmeric Uses
Turmeric Uses #1: Turmeric tea. When you combine turmeric with certain spices, the result is a tantalizing tea or tonic that you can enjoy for pleasure and health. Want to boost your immune system against the cold and flu? Whip up a batch of turmeric tea or tonic by combining 1 teaspoon each of turmeric, cinnamon, and fresh ginger (optional), along with a pinch of clove and fresh ground black pepper (which boosts the bioavailability of curcumin). Simmer in 8 ounces of water for 10 minutes, strain, and add honey if desired. Turmeric can knock your socks off, so start slow the first few times. You can always increase the amount of turmeric if you want something more potent.
Turmeric Uses #2: Turmeric smoothie. Turmeric is a powerful spice, so a little goes a long way. Choose your favorite greens-based smoothie and add ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric. The more turmeric you can add, the more anti-inflammatory benefits you can get. Read more about the benefits of turmeric and other spices here.
Turmeric Uses #3: Popcorn topper. If you want to skip the butter and jazz up your hot popped corn, mix ground turmeric with sea salt and nutritional yeast. The proportions can be altered to suit your taste, but one suggestion is ¼ cup nutritional yeast, ½ tsp salt, and 1 Tbs turmeric. This combination also tastes great on veggies and grains or stirred into dips.
Turmeric Uses #4: Super juice. If you have a blender or a juicer, then make a citrus and turmeric juice. Combine 3 large carrots, 3 peeled oranges, 1 small zucchini (or 2 stalks of celery), and one ½ inch piece of fresh turmeric root. Blend or juice and enjoy. You can substitute yams or sweet potatoes for the carrots, and the juice of a half lemon adds some zest to the juice.
Turmeric Uses #5: Spice mixture. Make your own spice mixture by combining turmeric, basil (dried), cayenne, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel (dried), garlic powder, and oregano (dried).
Turmeric Uses #6: Curried nuts and seeds. Love nuts and seeds? Make your own curried nuts and seeds. Mix them in a bowl with a small amount of sesame or olive oil, ground turmeric, and sea salt. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast them for several hours in a low oven (200° F).
Turmeric Uses #7: Curried oatmeal. Stir in a ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric into your oatmeal (or quinoa or buckwheat), top with apple or pear slices, and enjoy this exotic cereal.
Turmeric Uses #8: Glowing skin. If you want your skin to glow, or you are tired of having uneven skin tone, turmeric can help. Prepare a face pack by combining one teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of milk, and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric. Spread the paste on your face and leave it on for 25 to 30 minutes, then wash off. Repeat every two days until you notice results.
Turmeric Uses #9: Improved acne. Turmeric has anti-bacterial properties, which makes it helpful in treating acne. Combine ½ teaspoon of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of sandalwood, and enough milk to make a paste. Apply to your face and let it dry. Wash it off and repeat every two to three days until you see results.
Turmeric Uses #10: Softer heels. Cracked heels can hurt, and turmeric can come to the rescue. Combine coconut oil and ground turmeric until you have a paste. Apply the paste to cracked heels or other dry skin and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Wash off with warm water. Repeat as necessary.
Turmeric Uses #11: Depression. In a study of 60 individuals with major depressive disorder, the participants were randomly assigned to take either curcumin (1,000 mg), fluoxetine (Prozac, 20 mg), or both daily for six weeks. A positive response was highest in the combination group (77.8%), but it also was nearly the same in the individual groups (64.7% for fluoxetine, 62.5% for curcumin). The authors concluded that “curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment” in people with major depression. We recommend speaking to your doctor or health care provider about this possible treatment.
Turmeric Uses #12: Brain booster. Numerous studies indicate that turmeric/curcumin has the potential to help fight Alzheimer’s disease as well as boost brain function and memory. For example, in a 2017 report published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the authors noted that “recent discoveries point to the relevance of curcumin…in controlling oxidative stress and improve cholinergic function,” both of which are critical for brain health. A review of what we know about curcumin and the brain thus far “suggest that curcumin could be a potential compound for prevention of cognitive disorders associated with AD.” Read more about turmeric and Alzheimer’s here.
Turmeric Uses #13: Diabetes protector. Use of turmeric can lower blood glucose levels, reverse insulin resistance, and help prevent diabetes. A new review (October 2017) reports there have been “a number of pre-clinical and clinical investigations that have shown the beneficial effect of curcumin” in warding off weight gain, improving insulin resistance, and preventing the development of diabetes in animals and people with pre-diabetes.
Curcumin / Turmeric Supplement
You should talk to a knowledgeable health professional or doctor about the most appropriate dose for you. Suggested dosing for adults:
Supplements: not to exceed 450 milligrams of curcumin daily
Root or powder: no more than 3 grams daily
Tea: no more than 1 to 1.5 grams dried root in 8 ounces of water twice daily
That’s a wrap – thanks so much Andrea for sharing your wisdom!
If you’re looking for a turmeric supplement, check out my favorite line called Truvani–the first ever USDA certified organic, glyphosate residue-free turmeric supplements. They’re non-GMO, vegan, cruelty-free and regularly tested for heavy metals and other contaminants.
– Jin T et al. Curcumin and other dietary polyphenols: potential mechanisms of metabolic actions and therapy for diabetes and obesity. American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism 2017 Oct 31
Morales I et al. The natural product curcumin as a potential coadjuvant in Alzheimer’s treatment. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2017; 60(2): 451-60
– Sanmukhani J et al. Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depression disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research 2014 Apr; 28(40: 579-85
– Telpner M. 19 unexpected ways to use turmeric.
– Turmeric powder for beauty: how to use it for your face and skin, NDTV News Desk 2017 Dec 4
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