Turmeric is a staple in Indian cooking. It is a main ingredients in curry powder, and it gives many Indian dishes their distinctive yellow coloration. One component of turmeric, curcumin, has been in the news a lot lately as a natural anti-inflammatory. I use a post workout formula from Rivalus that boasts curcumin as a primary ingredient. It works well to head off muscle soreness after a hard workout.
But there’s no need to wait until after the gym to reap the benefits of turmeric. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. It helps to improve the lining of the blood vessels (endothelium). Dysfunction of the endothelium is a major driver of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Both inflammation and oxidation play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. A buildup of amyloid plaques is one key feature of Alzheimer’s. Curcumin is able to cross the blood brain barrier and clear amyloid plaques, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It almost seems unfair that something with so many benefits can be this inexpensive and tasty!
One of the easiest ways to add turmeric to your daily diet is by drinking yogi tea. Yogi tea is something of a catchall phrase referring to any of a number of hot beverages containing turmeric. I like to keep it simple, so my go to is this version from Ekhart Yoga.
This recipe uses maple syrup, but I prefer raw honey. Raw, unfiltered honey adds its own health benefits while providing natural sweetness. It all comes down to personal preference, of course.
Almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or even dairy milk can be used as a base in place of water. Such recipes usually add cinnamon to the turmeric and ginger, and are called golden milk. Cardamom is another common additional ingredient, and a dash of black pepper aids in absorption.
Yogi Bhajan was a strong advocate for golden milk within the kundalini yoga community. His recipe included the following:
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup water
8 ounces milk
2 tablespoons raw almond oil
Honey to taste
1 cardamom pod (optional)
All of these are just variations on a theme centered around turmeric and ginger. Master the simple recipe from Esther Ekhart, then let your imagination go wild!