How to Get the Anti-Inflammatory Health Benefits of Turmeric
Celebrated for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, studies continue to tout turmeric's health benefits. Vicki Shanta Retelny, a Chicago-based registered dietitian, nutritionist, and author of Total Body Diet for Dummies ($13.05, amazon.com), explains how best to get anti-inflammatory benefits from turmeric. "Turmeric is a superstar spice," she says. "It's main polyphenol, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects as it has been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity, lower elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, suppress fat cell growth, cell damage, anxiety, cognitive decline and arthritis."
Before you add turmeric to your daily regimen, Retelny wants you to know that turmeric has poor bioavailability when eaten alone. "It's not easily absorbed, and it's rapidly metabolized and eliminated." She recommends eating turmeric in conjunction with other compounds such as piperine which is found in black pepper.
Add Fresh Turmeric to Your Day with Our Trio of Invigorating Drinks
Here's what we're sipping! The drinks shown above are a delicious way to get your dose of turmeric. All use the fresh root. Our Golden Horchata adds turmeric to the usual cinnamon and uses brown—not white rice—to take this horchata recipe to the next level. You can also step up your smoothie game with our vegan sweet mango and banana smoothie starring fresh turmeric. When you're feeling under the weather, try Turmeric and Maple Green Tea. It's a reviving mix of green tea, apple-cider vinegar, fresh turmeric, and maple syrup.
Fresh, Ground, or Cold-Pressed? How to Take Your Turmeric
Fresh turmeric has the highest nutritional payoff, but ground and cold-pressed pack a punch, too. Aim for two teaspoons a day to feel the effects. Retelny says storing any form of turmeric properly will help to maximize its potential nutritional value.
- Quick converter: 1 inch fresh=1/4 teaspoon ground=1 tablespoon cold-pressed
- Fresh: Choose firm pieces that aren't shriveled. Refrigerate, wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in an airtight container, for up to two weeks.
- Ground: Our favorite, Diaspora Co. Single-Origin Pragati turmeric (from $12 for 2.47 oz., diasporaco .com) tastes earthy and floral. Keep it in a cool, dark place.
- Cold-Pressed: Brighten beverages with orange-and-lemon-infused Mon Fe Fo Turmeric Shots
- ($48 for 12, monfefo.com), sold in the juice section.