While turmeric has been an important herb in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, its many healing properties have only started revealing themselves to Western science in the past few decades. Turmeric is a versatile herb that works by increasing blood circulation, diminishing blood and Qi stasis, promoting digestion, and ultimately relieving pain and inflammation. Because inflammation is believed to be the root cause of many diseases, turmeric is used to treat and prevent everything from tendinitis to diabetes.
The primary medicinal compound found in turmeric, called curcumin, is responsible for its healing powers. The only downfall to eating turmeric is that the liver prevents much of the curcumin from being properly absorbed. While doing its job, the liver often filters out the good compounds with the bad. The good news is there are couple of ways to maximize the absorption of curcumin. Because curcumin is fat-soluble, eating turmeric with healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado increases the body's ability to absorb it into the gut and bloodstream. Additionally, black pepper contains a compound, piperine, which prevents the breakdown of curcumin in the gut and liver. So just by adding a dash of black pepper to your turmeric recipe, you can greatly increase curcumin uptake!
Try this Lemon Turmeric Quinoa to start incorporating the healing powers of turmeric into your diet!
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1 tsp coconut oil
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon (about 1 tbsp juice, 1 tsp zest)
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 ground black pepper
optional add-ins: chopped green onions, Thai basil, cashews
Combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook covered until light and fluffy, about 15 minutes.
Allow the quinoa to cool until it’s warm to the touch, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
If using, stir in add-ins and serve with your favorite dish!