Tumeric is famously anti-inflammatory and can be enjoyed many different ways, including juiced raw. But today, I wanted to pass on this super easy tea (psst, it's not raw!).
I've been drinking it almost every morning for a couple months now and it's still delicious to me, which is a good thing. Turmeric has so many beneficial qualities ... let us count the ways (scroll below for the tea how-to).
Turmeric, the brightly colored spice that gives curry it's intense color, contains beneficial compounds that have positive health benefits. The main compounds are the curcuminoids and the most important of these is curcumin. One of the most beneficial things curcumin can do is lessen inflammation, which is implicated in most Western diseases.
To be fair, inflammatory responses are a good thing. We wouldn't be able to wage a defense against bacteria and viruses, or injuries, for example, without a strong inflammatory response. However, too much of a good thing can cause problems. Chronic inflammation has been implicated in many diseases that plague us today, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and obesity. Curcumin can reduce inflammation as effectively as some anti-inflammatory medications, but without the side effects. One of the ways it does this is by inhibiting (NF)-kB.
Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals. Free radicals have unpaired electrons. These lonely little fragments damage cells and wreak havoc and destruction wherever they go. Antioxidants, like curcumin, terminate the chain reactions that lead to unpaired electrons and, therefore, free radicals and the damage they cause. Seriously, it's the radicals, man.
3. Heart Health
Almost 50% of Americans will die prematurely from heart disease. Heart disease and chronic inflammation are so closely linked that inflammation is thought to be an atherogenic response (atherogenic means it causes atherosclerosis, aka, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and is also peripheral artery disease). It's even thought possible that the slight benefit sometimes derived from statins could be due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation is a vital key to reducing heart disease.Curcumin is a potent COX-2 inhibitor, that
Curcumin is being investigated as prevention and treatment for cancers such as that of the colon and pancreas. Chronic inflammation and free radicals promote cancer. Reducing those conditions can be preventive and curcumin works well at both.
Inflammation is an important mechanism in arthritis. Curcumin acts as a COX-2 inhibitor in the same way pharmaceutical drugs such as Celebrex do, but without the dangerous side effects. The tea below, as well as curcumin supplements can ease the pain of arthritis and rejuvenate mobility.
India has a low incidence of Alzheimer's, possibly linked to higher intake of curcumin. Because inflammation plays such a big part in most disease, including Alzheimer's, it can be protective and preventative.
8. Brain Function
Alzheimer's is not the only thing that can go awry in brain function, and again, inflammation is implicated. In this case, it's known as neuroinflammation, or inflammation specifically in the brain and reducing that can help overall brain function.
Depression and anxiety are often linked to brain inflammation (this is why going gluten free can help mood, as well). It seems to offer some improvement and relief to those who have depression.
10. Gall Bladder Function
Curcumin causes the gall bladder to contract, which stimulates bile formation and gall bladder emptying and a freely flowing gallbladder is a happy, healthy one (unless you have a stone blocking the exit, which can cause a painful gallbladder attack).
I can't talk about turmeric and curcumin without also mentioning black pepper. The Piperine in black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin by 2000% (that's 20x). So, add a little bit of black pepper to whatever you make with turmeric for the greatest benefit. It tastes good, too.
*Do not use turmeric or curcumin if you are using blood thinners such as Warfarin or if you have existing gall bladder disease.
This tea (and this salad dressing, too) are delicious ways to get a healthy dose of turmeric.
Orange Turmeric Tea
serves 3 ~ $.33 per serving
- 1 orange, peeled and chopped ($.70)
- 1 teaspoon powdered tumeric ($.10)
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds($10)
- a few black peppercorns, or pinch of black pepper
- stevia or sweetener, if desired ($.10)
- Place the orange, turmeric, and caraway seeds in a large saucepan with four cups water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and continue to boil for about five minutes. This will reduce any bitterness in the turmeric.
- Add the peppercorns or pinch of pepper and steep for a minute or two.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into mugs and and the sweetener of your choice, if desired.