We are living in interesting times. Many of us are turning our backs on conventional medicine in favour of natural remedies that are both cheaper and contain none of the nasty side effects so prevalent in synthetic pharmaceuticals. We want the food we consume to fill us up whilst also healing and preventing future illness. Organic farming is on the up, natural herbs and spices are used to combat common ailments and health food bloggers are by far the greatest influencers when it comes to changing our daily eating habits.
The misconception that healthy and organic foods is too expensive for ordinary people is slowly changing. Try illness and the associated costs and the argument immediately falls flat on its face. Healthy eating is a political issue. However, as with most things, change tend to happen on the street, via guerilla marketing and through our wallets. The share of disposable income used for buying proper foods (organic, local, sustainable) will hopefully increase as awareness of the direct correlation between health and food continues to be exposed. The rock bottom prices we have become used to in our super markets relies heavily on aggressive farming, supported by pesticides, which depletes our soil and slowly poisons our bodies. The health of our families has got to have higher priority. Help organic farmers help you – support a box scheme, buy from farmers markets or grow your own.
But I digress… the latest spice to hit the headline BIG TIME is turmeric, or the specific compound in turmeric called curcumin – that which makes curries yellow. This is something the clever people of India knew over 3000 years ago yet we are only just starting to realise just how beneficial this spice can be to treat common illnesses as well as more serious conditions such as heart disease. The excellent newsletter, Authority Nutrition, has listed 10 evidence based benefits of turmeric such as treating chronic inflammation, killing off free radicals, improving brain function, lowering risks of brain and heart disease, treating depression and even cancer.
Curcumin is not easily absorbed into the body so swallow a few black pepper corns in conjunction with your turmeric/curcumin intake as it contains piperinel, a substance which enhances the absorption into the body. Alternatively you can consume curcumin with your choice of a healthy fat (it is a fat soluble) to ensure you get the full benefit. If you want/need a bigger dose there are also natural supplements which will have a higher dose of curcumin than the domestic root or powder. Check out Victoria Health or Planet Organic for a good selection or curcumin supplements.
Back home in my kitchen turmeric is used in most things such as smoothies, juices, porridge (yes, really) and general curries, vegetable stews and soups. This morning my mother made a very simple yet delicious green smoothie which I want to share with you. She is a fit and healthy 70 something with tons of energy and she takes curcumin/turmeric in almost anything she eats or drinks. If its good enough for her, it is good enough for me.
Mamma’s Breakfast Smoothie
2 large handfuls of spinach
2″piece of ginger root
1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder or 2″turmeric root
250ml almond milk (or any other nut milk you prefer)
Blend all the ingredients until you have a desired smoothie consistency – this replaces your breakfast and you can take it with you in the car whilst going to work. Have a happy Thursday!!