Guest blog by Alicia Uhl, Plant Based Holistic Health Coach
If you’ve been seeing pictures of Golden Milk lattes flooding your Insta lately than you probably noticed that turmeric is having a major moment in the health arena. Turmeric, the main spice found in the Indian dish curry, is one of the most powerful herbs on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. While this spice has been used for thousands of years in India as a medicinal herb, it is only recently that modern day science has started to recognize and back up what Indian culture has known for millennia.
The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which not only gives the spice its golden hue, but also contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-carginogenic properties – talk about a powerhouse!
Study abstracts from the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database shows over 600 potential health benefits of turmeric, and/or its primary polyphenol, curcumin.
“Of the 10,000+ studies referencing turmeric, the most interesting finding is that when it’s compared to conventional medicine, turmeric benefits equal that of many pharmaceutical medications. In fact, a number of studies have even reported that using curcumin is more advantageous than certain prescription drugs”
Now before you run to your spice rack and dust off the bottle of turmeric, there are a few things you need to know about this spice and how to improve its bioavailability.
Turmeric’s Key Compound Is Not Easy to Absorb
Now that we know how powerful turmeric is for our health, there is just one tiny little problem – our bodies do not easily absorb the curcumin compound, which is where all the magic is.
This means that regardless of how much turmeric we ingest, studies have shown that the concentration of curcumin, aka the good stuff, in our bloodstream is negligible, hardly detected at all. We don’t see a large increase because our liver is actively trying to get rid of it. And if your body is not absorbing the spice properly then you will not receive the medicinal properties.
The good news is, there are a few simple tricks for boosting the bioavailability of turmeric so you can finally reap all those juicy health benefits.
Here are 3 Ways to Unleash the Magic of Turmeric:
Warm it Up.
One way to boost the bioavailability of turmeric is to add heat. Heating turmeric increases the solubility of curcumin, which makes it easier to absorb in the body.
Add Black Pepper.
There is a compound in black pepper called piperine, which when combined with the curcumin compound in turmeric, can boost the bioavailability by 2000%. Whoa. Even just a little pinch of pepper—1/20th of a teaspoon—can significantly boost absorption levels.
Mix in a Healthy Fat.
Another way to increase absorption of turmeric in the body is to combine it with a healthy fat. When eaten with healthy fats, such as coconut milk, almond milk, coconut oil or olive oil, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system, thereby in part bypassing the liver, which allows it to stay in the body longer.iii
It’s easy to see why Golden Milk is such a perfect way to enjoy turmeric since it checks off all the boxes – it’s warm, has black pepper and contains a healthy milk fat! And while this comforting beverage may seem new and trendy – perhaps invented by a young hip barista – its origins actually date back thousands of years.
In Ayurveda, an ancient branch of medicine in India, Golden Milk is a tonic that’s meant to be nourishing and delicious. The warm lightly spiced milk is often consumed before bed, similar to the West where warm milk has been used as a comforting bedtime beverage.
I personally love to make myself a cup of Golden Milk as I am getting settled in for the night, to help me unwind from my day and prepare for rest. It’s also great for helping to ward off illness!
With one sip, you’ll understand, and it only takes a few minutes to make.
Golden Milk Recipe:
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
- 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground black pepper
- Agave syrup to taste
So when it comes to adding turmeric to your daily wellness regimen, definitely don’t be afraid to include it in your diet. If you’re an Indian food lover like me, that shouldn’t be too hard. A Chana Masala or Lentil Dal would easily fit the bill. And who knows, maybe the next Golden Milk latte I’ll see on Instagram will be yours!