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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Turner

Deep Dive: Turmeric

Updated: Apr 18, 2021

We’ve all known about turmeric for quite some time now, but I feel like it’s rarely talked about anymore. It’s almost as if it’s old news in the wellness world. However, when a neurologist recently told me to drink it every single day, I had this realization that, while I objectively knew it was beneficial, the fact that a Western medicine doctor essentially prescribed it to me must mean it is some sort of powerful. It must be to bridge the gap that exists these days between holistic and Western medicine. I took her advice and am never going back.

Moving forward, I’ll be doing “Deep Dives” into different nutrients and practices to discuss both the scientific and anecdotal supporting data behind them. And if you don't have time for a full deep dive, check out the Cheat Sheet at the bottom! So, here’s your first deep dive:



What exactly is it?

Prior to making turmeric powder myself, I had no idea that it was a root that looked exactly like ginger on the outside. (I also still have no idea how it is meant to be pronounced but I am committed to including that “r” in the first syllable…) It was confusing to me to have consumed so much of it in the past but never having made it from scratch or even seen the root in person.

Historically, the use of turmeric dates back to the Vedic culture in India, almost 4,000 years ago. It has been used in medicine in South Asia for a long time and, comparatively, has just appeared in Western culture. In fact, India grows nearly all of the world’s turmeric crop and consumes 80% of it or so.[1] When looking to purchase fresh turmeric root, a company in Hawaii did catch my eye, saying that their red turmeric was far more nutritious and tasted better than Indian turmeric, something I fully intend to research and test out personally.

*Warning: if you intend to use fresh turmeric, using gloves is not a bad idea. My fingers and nails were stained yellow for over a week…


Right off the bat, the bright orange color screams health to me. There is no way something that vibrant doesn’t have a ridiculous number of phytonutrients begging to make you healthy, right? One of the reasons spices (and herbs) are so beneficial is due to the concentration of beneficial compounds in them. Turmeric is an incredibly potent antioxidant, helping to rid the body of free radicals causing damage. There is actually a measurement scale out there for antioxidant activity called an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). Turmeric has a value of 127,068 which, compared to something like a blueberry with 9,621, is insanely high. The oxidative stress caused by free radicals leads to the development of conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, stroke, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, asthma, male infertility, and so much more. So, you definitely want to do all that you can to get those free radicals out of you. My advice: start by consuming turmeric daily.

How to use:

Something I’ve seen more and more in “healthy” restaurants and coffee shops is the golden latte. This is usually made of a milk alternative (oat is my favorite) and turmeric blended with a sweetener, like coconut sugar or honey. These are pleasantly delicious and hide the bitter taste of the root well. It’s a great alternative to an afternoon coffee too as it's caffeine-free but does provide a bit of a pick-me-up effect.

An easy way that I incorporate it into my every day schedule is simply adding a small spoonful of turmeric powder to my green smoothie. You can’t even taste it, so why not? I’ve started making my own but there are so many great products out there, it’s easy to purchase it pre-made. I’m also a big fan of taking it in shot form and purchase it from my local health store (they mix it with ginger, lemon, and pepper).

I say experiment and try it out in different dishes. A strategy to figure out if it would go well with whatever you’re cooking is to smell the turmeric and the other ingredients or even just thinking of the final dish and smelling the turmeric. Trust your instincts as to whether or not it would work.

The interesting thing about turmeric is that the important curcumin component isn’t that readily absorbed by our bodies. An easy way to change this is to add a small amount of pepper to whatever dish or drink you’re making. After doing some additional research, I learned that consuming turmeric with foods with resveratrol (grapes, berries, peanuts, dark chocolate, pistachios, etc.) and quercetin (red onion, capers, red apples, grapes, berries, cherries, kale, tomatoes, etc.) can improve absorption as well as heating the turmeric for a small amount of time. Most mornings, you’ll find me drinking my shot of turmeric with freshly ground pepper in it and chasing it with some blueberries. The taste alone wakes you up and gets your day started!

Overall, Turmeric is an incredibly valuable spice and I’m all for incorporating it into my daily wellness routine. I’ve included some fun recipes to try below as well as my favorite product that I’m currently using – let me know if you give any of them a shot!

* I do not receive any compensation for links shared on this page.

Recipes to try:

Golden Milk Turmeric Tea:

Creamy Turmeric Chicken Skillet:

Coconut Rice Noodles with Ginger and Turmeric:

What I use:

When I’m in the mood for a warm, golden latte, I’ll use my Apothekary “Follow Your Gut” blend. It’s full of other amazing ingredients – astragalus, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger, and coconut cream powder – and tastes great in oat milk.


Cheat Sheet:

[1] Chapter 13, “Turmeric, the Golden Spice.”

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