Do you remember that scene in The Lion King where Timon and Pumba roll over a log to uncover a slimy pile of slugs, worms, and beetles? Then they proceed to chow down on said bugs while Simba looks at them as though...well as if they've just eaten a pile of creepy crawlies.
I immediately thought of this scene the first time I bought fresh turmeric, and for good reason. This root looks just like a fat orange caterpillar. Or a pile of poo, you pick.
I bought this fresh turmeric recently for two reasons: one being that I've increased my training intensity by a lot (add marathon training to GST) and therefore need to up my recovery game, and also because I really dislike the way powdered turmeric tastes. (Like dirt.)
In my last post, I talk a bit about turmeric and why it's a great dietary supplement for athletes. This root (especially fresh) is one of the most healing spices out there, and not just for athletes. Clinical studies have established the following health benefits of turmeric:
- Anti-inflammatory: Turmeric contains powerful inflammation fighting properties that have shown to be as potent as anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
- Antioxidant: The curcumin in turmeric is an extremely powerful antioxidant. So powerful in fact that curcumin helps the body destroy mutated cancer cells, preventing them from spreading and doing more damage.
- Detoxification: The benefit of consuming turmeric as an alternative to NSAIDs is that NSAIDs put extra load on the body's detox processes, while turmeric actually promotes proper detoxification.
- Good for your gut: Turmeric has shown to be an effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease and a preventative measure for colon caner. In one study, mice were given curcumin five days before being induced with colitis. The mice that had been given the curcumin not only showed minimal signs of inflammation in the colon, but also lost more weight than the control group.
Kind of makes you want to eat some turmeric, right?!
Turmeric is often used in curries and other Indian dishes, and even a small amount is enough to gain the benefits. I've been enjoying a blend of fresh turmeric, ginger, and beets as a healing, detoxifying, and energizing tonic. The ginger in this recipe adds even more anti-inflammatory action, as well as stimulates digestion. It tastes great as a hot tea before bed or a refreshing post-workout beverage.
Homemade Healing Tonic
- 15 oz. filtered water or green tea
- A marble sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- A piece of peeled turmeric of the same size
- 1/2 medium sized raw beet (optional)
- 1-2 Tbsp. honey (optional)
In a high powered blender such as a Vitamix or Nutribullet, blend the concoction until smooth. Serve as a cold juice or heat to make a tea.