Turmeric: What? Why? How?

Turmeric is one of those proclaimed "super food" trends that it seems EVERYONE is raving about, and it's a bandwagon I highly suggest you hop on. BUT, as I always say: don't follow health trends blindly. Before I try the next big thing that every other foodie and blogger is raving about, I like to do a little research. Remember, just because everyone is doing it doesn't mean it's right for you. AKA DON'T STOP READING NOW. I don't want ya'll to be walking around all "Nat says it's good so it must be" as you toss back some turmeric pills chased with golden milk (don't worry I'll get that later). I want you to be informed and knowledgeable turmeric consumers (you're welcome).

Turmeric really does rock and  I'll make it nice and easy to see why.

Let's start simple: what exactly is turmeric?

Turmeric is a root native to Southern Asia that is part of the ginger family. It pretty much looks exactly like ginger, but orange! (side note: turmeric likes to stain things so be careful)

Now to what you're all really wondering: why should I be adding turmeric into my diet? Turmeric has a ton of health benefits including:

  1. Anti-inflammatory: The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is actually said to help with inflammation just as well as many over-the-counter drugs, like Motrin (BUT without any of the toxic effects like ulcers. HOLLA). So if you suffer from inflamed joints, turmeric can help!

  2. Helps with IBD: IBD stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and includes diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Turmeric not only helps with inflammation of the joints, but can help with inflammation of the innards as well. My mom's had Crohn's disease for over 30 years and takes turmeric every day. :)

  3. Antioxidants: Turmeric is high in antioxidants which neutralizes free radicals in our body which can help prevent many diseases.

  4. Enhances liver function: Turmeric enhances liver function by increasing the amount of liver detoxification enzymes.

  5. Aids in heart health: Turmeric prevents the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is what damages blood vessels and builds up plaque which can lead to heart disease and strokes.

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I take turmeric primarily for it's anti-inflammatory properties. With my running and weight training I put a lot of wear and tear on my joints, so turmeric helps them not become inflamed. I also take turmeric to (hopefully) help my stomach. I say hopefully because no matter what, I always experience stomach discomfort, but I think turmeric can only help me. I have IBS (I won't go into details about what this is right now) and a myriad of food sensitivities/allergies and on a lot of days it seems like my insides are messed up more often than not. Turmeric has also been shown to help with IBS, even though it's not as serious as IBD.

Now that you know what turmeric is and its many benefits, how do you actually implement it into your diet? Turmeric comes in many shapes and sizes, making it easy to find something to fit your needs.

  • Au natural root form: You can find turmeric root in the produce section of a lot of grocery stores and it can be used in a lot of ways. We juiced turmeric root at home and made them into little ice cube stars (cute right?!) to melt into juice or lemon water. Bits of cut up turmeric can also be thrown into smoothies! There's an inflammation smoothie at Jujubeet that's SO good, which has turmeric in it.

  • Supplements: If you don't have time to sit around juicing turmeric root all the time (aka me), taking a turmeric pill is a fast and easy way to get the benefits. I take a Nature's Way turmeric pill every morning along with my normal vitamins!

  • Tea: There are A TON of turmeric teas on the market, but this turmeric ginger blend from Organic India is my favorite.

  • Turmeric lattes/golden milk: Remember seeing a mysterious bright yellow drink in a coffee mug on my Instagram story the other day? (If you didn't because you aren't following me on Instagram DO IT @BlondeGoneClean. I promise I post fun pictures ;) ) Yup, that was a turmeric latte (that I got at Jujubeet of course... I'm seriously addicted to that place). Turmeric lattes can be made in a lot of ways, but this one was made with almond milk, coconut oil, cinnamon, honey, black pepper and obviously turmeric. Why black pepper? It helps increase the absorbability of turmeric. Turmeric lattes are also called "golden milk" a lot of the time. I love the Rebbl bottled golden milk when I need a pick-me-up on the go.

  • Elixer shots: Instead of making a whole smoothie or other drink with turmeric, elixir shots are a great way to get in your dose of turmeric quickly. I love the inflammation shot from Jujubeet which has turmeric, flaxseed oil, black pepper and lemon. I also got a Kor vitality shot from Whole Foods the other day made with lemon, coconut water and turmeric and it was also super good.

  • Kombucha: GT's kombucha (my absolute FAVE) is the only company I've seen that offers a turmeric flavor, which I found to be pretty cool. Kombucha already has SO many amazing health benefits, so add in turmeric and BOOM you have some serious health in a bottle. I'm going to be honest, it's a pretty strong flavor and isn't very sweet so if you aren't into that, I'd suggest getting your turmeric a different way. :)

NOW you have permission to toss back those turmeric pills chased by golden milk. ;) I know I already said it but I'll say it again: always inform yourself before adding new "super foods" or supplements into your diet. If there are any new foodie trends that you're curious about, feel free to email me at blondesgoneclean@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram (@BlondeGoneClean), Twitter (@BlondeGC) or Facebook. :)

XO nat