A Little Spice That Packs A Punch
For people that routinely eat Indian food, turmeric is a familiar spice. The yellowish powder is a close relative to the ginger plant and can do more than help people create fragrant food. Turmeric has long been a staple for herbal remedies frequently used in traditional Chinese medicines and Ayurveda. The spice is linked with staving off heart disease and cancer, as well as improving joint health and remedying gut health. But for people unfamiliar with the spice, learning how to incorporate turmeric into a daily or weekly diet might be overwhelming. Consider one of the three tips below to increase turmeric intake.
1. Turmeric teas and smoothies
Turmeric is easily found in ground powder form making adding the spice to anything can be easy. First-time turmeric drinkers should try adding the powder to a smoothie. Experts recommend just adding a little powder at first until a person becomes accustomed to the taste. Alternatively, try creating turmeric tea by combining 8-12oz of water with 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Boil the turmeric water over medium heat and then remove from the stove. Combine a quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper and ginger into the concoction. For people that prefer a creamier texture, substitute milk or a dairy-free milk alternative in place of the water.
2. Make turmeric a seasoning staple
While turmeric can easily turn foods and cooking utensils yellow, the spice is a great seasoning sidekick. The tasty spice plays well with other spices and, when used in moderation, won’t overpower other flavors. Best of all, turmeric can be added to both sweet and savory dishes, including nut butters, hummus, oatmeal, stir fry, and even a scrambled egg.
3. Create turmeric sides
Sprinkling a little turmeric on sides such as rice and veggies is an easy way to increase turmeric intake with minimal effort. With roasted vegetables, turmeric can be added during or after cooking. For rice, add a little after the rice has been cooked and stir thoroughly for even distribution.
How much turmeric do people need?
Most experts agree that the best way to incorporate turmeric into a daily routine is through eating foods where the spice is incorporated. Recommendations for curcumin supplements, the pill form of turmeric, vary widely, and the risk of taking too much can vary from medicinal interactions to exacerbating existing medical conditions. Experts note that people with the following conditions should avoid taking curcumin supplements:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Gallbladder disease
- Kidney stones
- Bleeding disorders
- Diabetes or metabolic syndrome
Diet over supplements
Whenever possible, getting nutrients from food is always preferable over opting for a supplement. However, if a person chooses to use supplements, the best way to ensure quality is by looking for brands that certify third-party testing with organizations such as NSD International, US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) or Informed Choice. Likewise, experts recommend that whether a person opts for turmeric in spice, powder, or supplement form, the nutrient should be taken with black pepper to help improve curcumin absorption. For more information about curcumin supplements, speak with a pharmacist or healthcare provider.