Turmeric has been gaining a lot of press lately so, I decided to explore its health benefits and see if this spice was something that would benefit our family. I was given a health magazine over the holidays that showcased turmeric on the front cover. I was excited, but when I went to the article, I was disturbed because it was all presented in a capsule form. Why do they have to do this? Our family likes to eat from the natural food source. My question now is, “can we eat turmeric as a spice and receive all of the health benefits?”
When looking at this spice in its natural form its reminiscent of ginger because it’s cultivated from the same root family. The bright yellow color comes from the curcumin and this is what gives turmeric its medicinal properties. It’s a great antioxidant. The curcumin is fat soluble so, this is probably why you always see it with a coconut milk based meal. It helps with absorption in our bodies. I like turmeric. It’s not hot or spicy in flavor, smells aromatic, and gives a beautiful golden yellow and orange color to all Indian foods and curries or whatever you deem worthy to add it to.
The health benefits of this spice are many and range from a great immune system booster to helping as an anti-inflammatory. One of the best ways this spice can benefit our kiddos is to help with tummy upsets, sleeping, and bone or joint pain. Bone and joint pain has become synonymous in our family with growing pains. My five year old daughter frequently complains about her hips, ankles, and shins hurting. I tell her she is growing and stretching because she is a long legged Laroo. We usually do Epsom salt baths or up our intake of Omega 3s, but this would be a nice addition to our regimens. As a mom pastry chef, I would normally bake with it and make a yummy snack for the kids. I could easily add turmeric to a healthy bar cookie or gluten free cake. During research I found that turmeric loses a lot of its medicinal properties when heated for extended periods of time at high heat and baking was not advised. Plus, large amounts need to be digested for extreme benefits. One could never ingest or eat enough turmeric as needed to help with such things as our kiddo ailments, heart disease, or diabetes. This is why the spice is glorified in capsule or extract form. I know very few kids that are excited about swallowing capsules and extracts can be particularly strong. I tried oregano oil once in a tomato sauce and thought Avery, my daughter, was going to go over the moon because of the strong smell. The FDA warns that we need to be careful because these forms are not always approved and the amounts not formulated for our little people less than 100lbs. It’s always advised to check with a health care professional especially if your child is on certain medications, has trouble with blood clotting, or suffers from gallbladder problems.
I think that turmeric can help our family and I am excited to start experimenting with it. Starting with small amounts is a good beginning. I decided to start with a sleepy time or wellness tea. I can’t say that I like aluminum cans even for coconut milk (organic or not). I’m going to venture and make my own coconut milk using my Cuisinart blender, if you have a Vitamix than that’s even better. You can also use an almond coconut milk brand such as Almond Breeze (Blue Diamond). Winter is creeping in and warm drinks are the name of the game.
Turmeric Tea Ingredients
- 2 cups of homemade coconut milk (2 cups of hot but not boiling water and 3 tablespoons organic, unsweetened shredded coconut. Mix in a high powered blender)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2-3 tablespoon Vermont maple syrup (grade b or the darkest is preferred) or to taste
1 When making the homemade coconut milk make sure that you have a very high powered blender or let it blend for a good amount of time. You don’t want to have bits of coconut or you will be chewing and drinking the tea.
2 Mix coconut milk, turmeric (start with 1/2 tsp. and add to taste),cinnamon, and honey or maple syrup
Thank you to Wellnessmama for the beginnings of this recipe.
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