With over 9,000 peer-reviewed papers studying this spice, it's clearly got something going on. We've banged on about turmeric before, and as we're currently drinking mugs of turmeric mylk at Fitty HQ, we thought we'd chat about it some more.
It's hard to write about turmeric without sounding like we're embellishing it, because it's THAT big time (and there are all the papers out there to prove it – and we like cold hard facts). It's arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease, and one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science.
What makes turmeric so special is that it contains a bioactive compound called curcumin – this is the main active ingredient, and it has great anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It helps prevent brain and heart disease, tackle depression, prevent and reduce the spread of certain cancers.
So, the biggest benefit of curcumin is that it helps prevent and reduce chronic inflammation. Let's not get confused with short-term inflammation which is essential to us staying alive (pretty big deal), as it fights pathogens like bacteria and diseases, and helps repair damage.
Chronic and long-term inflammation however, are known to play a leading role in almost every chronic disease in the western world – heart diseases, cancer, Alzheimers and all kinds of degenerative diseases. Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory which helps fight inflammation at the molecular level. In fact, it's so powerful that there are many studies showing it matches the effectiveness of many pharmaceutical drugs. This is just the tip of the iceberg – if you're also geeks, a quick Google will give you a more detailed understanding of the medicinal spice.
Turmeric's been used in India for thousands of years in almost every meal (fun fact: it's what gives curries their yellow colour). Now it's becoming increasingly popular in the Western world, particularly with nut milks, and is also great in smoothies, scrambled eggs, stir fries and more. You can also buy curcumin as an extract in most health food stores.
Another fun fact: curcumin isn't easily absorbed by our bodies, unless you take it with black pepper or piperine, which ups the absorption of it by 2000%. So if you're cooking, make sure you add black pepper, or check the label of the turmeric you're buying to make sure you see piperine on there.
But our favourite way to take it (and seriously, we're drinking at least one mug a day each at Fitty HQ) is Wunder Workshop's Instantly Golden Cacao. It's a vegan latte blend made with raw cacao and vanilla. You know when you find a product so much you tell all your friends about it? Well, we love it so much that we've featured it in our December box – it's the cosiest, warming drink that's ideal for winter. You can find out more about it here.