Look, I’m aware turmeric is fast becoming the new kale, that is, an over-hyped “superfood”. I guess, though, unlike kale, turmeric has some unique health properties grounded in a long history of healing cooking (nothing against kale, but it doesn’t really stand apart substantially on any front from good old silverbeet).

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I use a fair whack of turmeric because of its great anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. But the one thing that stands out for me is that it’s anti-inflammatory. It inhibits the enzyme responsible for inflammation, puffiness and throbbing. Stacks of recent studies are showing how effective it is in bringing down swelling in the cells.

If you have auto-immune disease of any sort, turmeric is your friend.

In the Ayurvedic tradition it’s also used for digestive issues, inflammation, joint pain and blood purification.

But before getting too sucked in by such claims, I did look into a few studies and found that turmeric always needs to be fermented, and eaten with fats and pepper. And that you shouldn’t have too much.

If you’re wondering how much you can have, in which form, note:

  • maximum 2-3 grams (1 – 1.5 teaspoon) of fresh turmeric per day
  • maximum 1-2 grams (1/2 – 1 teaspoon) of dried, powdered turmeric per day (this includes turmeric powder or spice forms)

If you’re feeling particularly inflamed, up your dosage to 2 teaspoons a day for a few days. But do remember to drop back down.

Because I’ve been asked to share such information a bit lately…here, a rundown of how I (try to) get my teaspoon or two into a day.

1. Sweet coconut and turmeric yoghurt. I mix 1/2 – 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and turmeric powder into coconut yoghurt for breakfast or dessert. I do the same with normal yoghurt, too. I travel with both (turmeric and cinnamon) and use it to add to yoghurt at hotel breakfasts or if I need to grab breakfast on the run (you can buy a tub of plain full-fat yoghurt anywhere).

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While travelling in Europe recently, I added cinnamon and turmeric to a serve of yoghurt that I ordered in a cafe.

2. Turmeric tonic. The bioavailability of turmeric increases when it’s fermented. I’ll often make up a batch of my fermented Turmeric Tonic … bound to pacify pain and cool the angry inflammation.

3. Fermented turmeric. I then take the leftover turmeric from making the tonic and puree it into a paste that I then use in curries and stews etc. It will keep for ages (it’s fermented!). Just as long as it still looks and smells fine…

4. Turmeric caramel bark. I follow this recipe, but use shredded coconut, salt, a bit of pepper and turmeric powder to taste.

My Turmeric Caramel Bark

5. Golden milk. This is a recipe in my I Quit Sugar: Simplicious book. Simply heat 1 cup milk (coconut or dairy is best), 1 teaspoon coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon of fermented turmeric paste and a generous sprinkle of pure vanilla powder and ground cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Serve warm.

6. Turmeric eggs. I add 1/2-1 teaspoon of powder (or 1-2 teaspoons of fresh stuff) to scrambled eggs, producing a wonderful colour!

7. Turmeric and chilli chocolate. Use this basic chocolate recipe and flavour with a good sprinkle of turmeric, salt and cayenne pepper.

Any extra tips you’d like to share? Add them to the comments below. 

 

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • Niikii

    Add it to everything I say!

    ALWAYS WITH BLACK PEPPER, as it multiplies it potency by like a CRAY-ZYYY 3000!!

    -Stir-fry (yep it goes, somehow) – Fresh and dry
    -Spaghetti bol or lasgna (who says it doesn’t suit? a small amount no one notices but they ARE getting the benefit) (dry)
    -having curry few times a week (fresh and dry)
    -Turmeric latte (copies amounts coconut oil, butter, cinnamon, turmeric warm water and honey to taste blended to a frothy cup of luv!) (dry)
    -almost every soup imaginable (either)
    -fried rice (either)
    -morning steel cut oats/quinoa/amaranth with cinnamon and butter (of course!) (dry)
    -in my chai (dry)
    -pinch in a smoothy won’t go astray (dry)
    -fish, chicken, beef. (either)
    -any marinade (either)
    -in a glass of tepid water first thing in morning and last thing at night
    (Either)
    My motto is turmeric goes with everything, lol and no one complains or notices in this house. its the cumulative effect of having it bit by bit time after time that helps the body.

    Wonder if anyone has noticed… I have bought organic and inorganic and weirdly the un-organic seems to be more potent… why would that be?

    • do you have data re the 3000 times (or is it a bit of an exaggeration!) ?

      • Anita A

        It would be an exaggeration. But the peperine in pepper helps turmeric work harder.

      • Shelley Wilson

        Data here:

        Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers.

        Shoba G1, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS.

        Author information

        Abstract

        The medicinal properties of curcumin obtained from Curcuma longa L. cannot be utilised because of poor bioavailability due to its rapid metabolism in the liver and intestinal wall. In this study, the effect of combining piperine, a known inhibitor of hepatic and intestinal glucuronidation, was evaluated on the bioavailability of curcumin in rats and healthy human volunteers. When curcumin was given alone, in the dose 2 g/kg to rats, moderate serum concentrations were achieved over a period of 4 h. Concomitant administration of piperine 20 mg/kg increased the serum concentration of curcumin for a short period of 1-2 h post drug. Time to maximum was significantly increased (P < 0.02) while elimination half life and clearance significantly decreased (P < 0.02), and the bioavailability was increased by 154%. On the other hand in humans after a dose of 2 g curcumin alone, serum levels were either undetectable or very low. Concomitant administration of piperine 20 mg produced much higher concentrations from 0.25 to 1 h post drug (P < 0.01 at 0.25 and 0.5 h; P < 0.001 at 1 h), the increase in bioavailability was 2000%. The study shows that in the dosages used, piperine enhances the serum concentration, extent of absorption and bioavailability of curcumin in both rats and humans with no adverse effects.

        PMID: 9619120 DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-957450

        [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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  • Patricia

    I have upper IBS – gastritis, which is inflammation of the stomach lining so I have a bland diet. I am actually having a bad couple of days at the moment. I have never had turmeric. Could turmeric irritate my stomach? Is it hot and spicy? I would like to give it a go as have read it so good for you.

    • nope it won’t aggrevate…it will help, I’d say. It’s a little like ginger but not as sharp

  • Niki

    I cooked turmeric prawns last night – so yummy. Marinate 10 big prawns in juice of half a lime & generous sprinkle of black pepper. Then mince 6 garlic cloves, 2 french shallots, half a large red chilli – and fry in 2 T coconut oil for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add 1 tsp tumeric powder, stir, and then add the prawns (I took the heads off but kept shells on), cooking 3 minutes either side. sprinkle salt & pepper to taste and garnish with sliced kaffir lime and a final squeeze of lime. Healthy and DELISH.

  • Cind F

    I have an underactive thyroid and was very excited about using tumeric but unfortunately it gives me the most horrendous heartburn.
    Cindy F

  • Gabi

    Being German I love Sauerkraut. I eat it raw and cooked.
    Last week I found Turmeric Kraut (Paleo-Vegan-Glutenfree) Sooo delicious

  • Jody

    Turmeric paste! Turmeric and water in a pan over low heat to make a paste, add fresh ground pepper and coconut oil. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks. I take half a teaspoon twice a day for arthritis, awesome!

    • Long tall Sally

      Hi Jody, do you fresh turmeric or the dried powder? Sounds great – thanks!

  • Rianna

    I included some in the batch of hummus I made tonight, and I’ve started adding it to my morning porridge. I add turmeric to pretty much anything I’m already adding other spices to.

  • Natalie Stanecki

    Hey Sarah for the tonic are you replacing the ginger in the bug with turmeric or using standard ginger bug in the turmeric tonic?

  • Paula Carroll

    Great news! There is a synergistic blend of 5 ancient herbs, including a small safe amount of turmeric, which due to the patented ratio of these 5 ingredients multiplies the effectiveness of the turmeric 18X. This product is having an enormous impact on people’s inflammation and pain …. feel free to PM me if you would like more information.