Turmeric: take it or leave it?

Although turmeric has been around for thousands of years, it has just recently gained more popularity due its antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been deemed a so-called “superfood” (not a real thing, but I digress) due to these potential health benefits.

Turmeric is an herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family and is native to southern Asia. It has been classically used as a spice in curries, but other uses include therapy in alternative medicine and dyes due to its beautiful orange hue.

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Curcumin is the principal ingredient in turmeric that contributes the yellow, orange pigment and contributes to these antioxidant properties.

In research, turmeric has shown promising results for anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. However, there is a lack of “gold standard” research available aka double-blind, randomized, controlled trials with large sample groups to discern the exact mechanism of turmeric in the body and therefore, it is not yet feasible to make concrete recommendations. In addition, there is also lack of data on toxicity, dosage, and availability of turmeric. Moral of the story, more quality research needs to be done in order to determine turmeric’s exact mechanism in the body and exact dosage recommendations.

With that being said, having looked through research on turmeric, I would opt to use it in your cooking than not due to the optimistic anti-inflammatory effects. You can use it in sweet or savory recipes. It is incredibly versatile!

  • Savory:
    • Protein marinades
    • Curries
    • Eggs
    • Hummus
    • Vegetable side dishes
    • Stir fries or other Asian dishes
    • Soups
  • Sweet:
    • Energy bites
    • Smoothies
    • Baked goods (cookies, muffins, or pastries)
    • Add it to tea with milk and honey

Here are just a few of the recipes that I really enjoyed turmeric in. Next on this list…turmeric hummus and turmeric poached eggs. I mean truly what can’t you add turmeric to?!

Turmeric Energy Bites

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Yield: 17-18 bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (~1/2 cup oat flour)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp 1 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp wildflower honey
  • 1 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 2 Tbsp soy milk
  • Optional coatings: crushed walnuts, shredded coconut, turmeric, or crushed pistachios

Directions:

  1. Add oats to a food processor or Ninja blender and pulse until powder-form.
  2. Combine oat flour, cinnamon, turmeric, flaxseed in a small bowl and mix until evenly distributed.
  3. In medium bowl, mix honey, peanut butter, and soy milk. Slowly add the flour mix to the nut butter bowl. You can either mix slowly with an electric mixer or combine the mixture with your hands.
  4. Place your desired coatings in small, separate bowls. Roll the dough into small balls and roll in desired toppings. Refrigerate or freeze.

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Turmeric Yogurt

This easy yogurt dish is oddly addicting. Maybe it was something about the bright yellow color or creaminess of the yogurt combined with the peanut butter. Either way, I’m sold! This makes a great breakfast, snack, or healthy dessert option. It’s also packed with protein from the Greek yogurt and nut butter!

Turmeric smoothie bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp soy milk (or your milk of choice)
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter or other nut butter
  • Optional toppings: fruit of your choice, crushed pistachios, chia seeds

Directions:

Combine yogurt, turmeric, maple syrup, ginger, milk, and peanut butter in a bowl. Top with your favorite fruit or nuts. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate.

 

Turmeric Smoothie

Turmeric Smoothie

Yield: 8 oz smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 fresh banana
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (or your milk of choice)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure Michigan wildflower honey
  • 4 ice cubes
  • pinch of cloves (optional)

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender or Ninja and pulse until smooth. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate/freeze for later.

 

Enjoy!

-EAW