Why You Should Be Adding Turmeric To More Than Just Your Morning Latte

by Polina Frantsena
Ina Peters

If you haven't been hiding under a mossy boulder, you've probably heard of turmeric and its amazing health benefits. If you did just come out from said boulder, that's OK. You look great. We should totally grab a coffee sometime. Shall I catch you up on turmeric?

You've probably seen turmeric powder sold in stores. But what is turmeric exactly? Turmeric is a plant from the ginger family. It has an earthy, warm, bitter taste and is bright orange in color. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine has long been using turmeric for its healing benefits.

Curcumin, one of the main active ingredients in turmeric, has been shown to help reduce inflammation. Early lab studies indicate that curcumin might inhibit growth of certain tumors, protect from skin disease, help with stomach ulcers, high cholesterol, upset stomach, viral infections, diabetes and even Alzheimer's disease and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

A study done by researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's (CAMH) Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute in Toronto, Canada, suggests that depression may be the brain's reaction to inflammation. Now more than ever health advisors are recommending practicing low inflammation diets. This is where turmeric and its large array of healing properties take the spotlight.

Turmeric can be found as a spice in most grocery stores. I recommend spending a few extra dollars on the organic kind. Recently health stores like Whole Foods started caring raw turmeric, which contains even more beneficial properties because it contains natural oils. There are many turmeric supplements, from capsules to powders, that are meant to be added to smoothies.

The possibilities of incorporating turmeric into your diet are endless, and with that I could see how you might be a little overwhelmed.

Have no worries, I have compiled five easy ways in which you can add turmeric to your life without breaking the bank or your kitchen. I mean I know curries are great, but this girl doesn't have time to whip one up every day.

1. Coffee and Turmeric

Don't be surprised! Sprinkling a pinch of turmeric into your morning coffee tastes great. Its warm, orange-ginger aroma goes perfectly with a hot cup of joe. Add some almond milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon (which lowers blood sugar and fights infections) and enjoy a little extra boost in your morning routine.

2. Smoothies With Turmeric And Maca

Smoothies are my favorite go-to for a blast of nutrients when I'm on the go. I add either 1/4 teaspoon of grated turmeric or a dash of powdered turmeric to the smoothie along with maca root powder (an Incan superfood that provides energy, balance and vitality).

Ingredients 1 cup almond milk 1 banana 1 kiwi (peeled) 1 cup baby spinach 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 teaspoon maca root powder

3. Turmeric Lemonade

This refreshing drink packed with vitamins and flavors combines turmeric with a spice that boosts its amazing properties and promotes its absorption: black pepper. Black pepper is composed of an active ingredient called piperine. When we usually consume turmeric, our liver metabolizes it and makes it water-soluble, which flushes it out of our system with only a portion of it going into our blood stream. Piperine inhibits this process and allows for maximum turmeric absorption.

Ingredients 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (peeled and grated) Juice from 2 oranges Juice from 1/2 lemon Pinch of freshly ground black pepper 1 cup filtered water (or 1/2 sparkling water, 1/2 filtered water)

Directions Squeeze juice from 2 oranges and ½ into a glass. Add a dash of freshly ground black pepper. Top off with either 1 cup of water, or for extra oomph ½ cup filtered water and ½ cup sparkling mineral water.

4. Turmeric Eggs And Rice

This is my version of healthy fried rice. When I was growing up my mom used to always scramble some eggs into my pasta or rice, and I love the way it holds the dish together. Adding turmeric to this meal makes it have a warm glowing color, and it feels like my belly is getting a hug from all the nutritional benefits.

Ingredients 1.5 cups brown rice (or sprouted tri-color blend) cooked according to package directions. 1/4 cup finely chopped onion 1/2 tomato 2 eggs 1/2 teaspoon organic turmeric powder Pinch of chili powder Salt and pepper to taste 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Directions Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook until translucent and just starting to brown. Add tomato and cook for 1 more minute. Add rice, eggs, turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for 4 minutes or until egg is fully cooked through.

5. Turmeric Toothpaste

What?! You heard me right. The newest craze is making your own toothpastes and deodorants. This intriguing homemade toothpaste claims to help with receding gums and gum inflammation and also whitens teeth. I was skeptical at first because in my experience turmeric can stain anything it touches. I tried this out, and my teeth felt extremely smooth and sparkly. I bet if I made this a daily routine I would start noticing effects there too. I'm a converted believer! It did make my toothbrush yellow, but that came out after I washed it with soap. If the corners of your lips have turmeric residue wash with warm water and soap. It's worth it, I promise. Here is the recipe.

I bet if I made this a daily routine I would start noticing effects there too. It did make my toothbrush yellow, but that came out after I washed it with soap. If the corners of your lips have turmeric residue, wash with warm water and soap. It's worth it. I promise.

Ingredients 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

Directions Mix the ingredients together and brush you teeth, allowing the paste to sit for 1-2 minutes after you're done brushing. Rinse and follow with brushing with your regular toothpaste.

Turmeric has been around for centuries, and has been known in the health community for a while, but I think it's making its mainstream media debut now, and you are the first to know.