Everything You Need to Know About Turmeric Tea

Before I tell you everything you need to know about turmeric tea, I need to share a bit about turmeric itself.

Turmeric is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia.  It is in the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family.  The turmeric root has been used as an herbal ally for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

78 percent of the global supply of turmeric comes from India. While turmeric powder, teas and supplements are available in health stores or online, you can also buy turmeric root in most grocery stores (and you can even grow it at home!).

In this article, we look at some of the health benefits. I’m also going to share everything you need to know about turmeric tea!  Why turmeric tea?  Let’s find out…

What is Turmeric Tea and Why Drink It?

Turmeric tea is made by simmering grated turmeric or turmeric powder in water. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, is fat soluble.  This is why a little ghee or coconut milk is needed.  To unlock the potential of the curcumin and improve bioavailability, we pair turmeric with a healthy fat.

There is no specific recommendation for daily intake of turmeric. Studies suggest 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric powder, three times daily, or 1 to 3 grams of grated fresh turmeric root is safe.  Your trusted practitioner can help determine a good amount.  Until then, a mug of turmeric tea daily can be an easy way to add a little turmeric goodness into your life.

Making Turmeric Tea

Turmeric tea can be prepared using fresh or dried turmeric root. Here is my easy recipe:

  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated turmeric root OR 1 teaspoon dried, ground turmeric
  • 4 cups water
  • coconut milk

Add the turmeric to the water in a small saucepan.  Stir to combine.  Set the pan on low heat on your stove and bring it to a simmer.  You want small bubbles, but not boiling.  Simmer for 10 minutes and shut off the heat.  Allow the tea to steep for another 10 minutes before straining.  Pour into a cup with a splash of full fat coconut milk or a little coconut oil or ghee to improve absorption (because curcumin needs fat!)

Variations:

  • Add a little raw honey or a few drops of stevia or monk fruit, to sweeten the tea. Raw honey adds to the anti-microbial properties.
  • Add crushed black pepper to the turmeric and water before simmering.  Black pepper contains piperine, which also helps curcumin absorption.
  • Add sliced or grated fresh ginger with the turmeric for a warming, spicy beverage.
  • Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor.

Some Benefits of Turmeric

A July 2017 review in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine reported that the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, can help in treating chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis (other autoimmune arthritis conditions likely too),  Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.  The review also found that turmeric may also help protect from cancers like lung, colon, skin cancers, stomach and breast cancer.  And, curcumin looks promising for treating asthma, pulmonary and cystic fibrosis, lung cancer or injury, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

  • Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties; all are known to improve immune function.
  • Curcumin helps reduce pain and inflammation.

Turmeric is a traditional Ayurvedic and TCM remedy for many digestive conditions.  Several studies have found that curcumin reduces pain associated with IBS and improve the quality of life of those people with the condition.

For people with transit time issues, it is possible that turmeric tea can help.  A 2012 study in rats found that curcumin helped with speed gastric emptying (the time it takes for food to empty from the stomach to the small intestine). This may be beneficial for gastroparesis.

Who is this NOT good for?

Believe it or not, turmeric is not a good choice for everyone.

The National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network states no adverse effects are expected at doses of up to 8,000 milligrams per day.

Although turmeric is considered safe and non-toxic as a food, supplement and topical, there are studies that show turmeric can cause gastrointestinal issues in some people. High doses or long term use can cause stomach problems, according to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Because turmeric contains oxalates, people who need a low oxalate diet or who have a history of kidney stones may want to use turmeric more sparingly than others.

People who are anemic likely should not supplement with high doses of turmeric.  If you develop symptoms of anemia while taking or eating turmeric, consult with your doctor.  This study has more information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6414192/ 

Use of supplemental turmeric is contraindicated for people who are taking medications including:

  • anticoagulants,
  • antiplatelet meds,
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

If you have stomach issues or take any drugs of these types or if you are unsure, talk to your doctor. These warnings only apply to the supplemental form of turmeric. Turmeric is safe to use in its natural whole food form in cooking or in skin preparations unless you are allergic!

 

A Couple More Things You Should Know

Turmeric is a dark yellow-orange colored root.

  • When you work with the fresh root, your fingers and cutting board may be temporarily stained.
  • Teeth staining may also occur, but swishing with water or brushing normally should remove it immediately.
  • If you have a temporary crown or plastic aligners, turmeric may stain permanently.
  • Turmeric makes a great yellow dye for fabric!

Now you know about turmeric, where it grows, what benefits it offers, how to make it into a delicious tea and how to figure out if it’s a good choice for you!

If you decide to make turmeric a regular part of your diet, consider using a food mood poop journal to document your experience and help yourself assess your body’s response.

10 Things to Keep in Your Pantry if You Want to Make Healthy Meals Fast

The better your kitchen is stocked, the more choices you will have at dinnertime. Here is a list of 10 things to keep in your pantry if you want to make healthy meals fast.  Most are shelf-stable, but a few require refrigeration.

10 Things to Keep in Your Pantry if You Want to Make Healthy Meals Fast

  1. Canned or aseptic pack beans: versatile and convenient. Beans like chickpeas, kidney, cannellini and black beans add protein and nutrients to salads, pastas, quinoa or rice dishes and soups. Puree them to make dressings, sauces, and dips. For veggie burgers, mix with cooked rice or quinoa, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, or nuts.  Mash, shape and bake until crisp on the edges.  The recipe here is one of my favorites – if you try it, post a picture to Facebook or Instagram and tag me!
  2. Bottled/Jarred pasta sauce: great for a quick and easy pasta meal (avoid hidden sugar by reading labels!) To make sauces taste fresh, sauté minced garlic in olive oil, add the sauce and simmer. Season with dried herbs like cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne. Top with fresh basil.  A splash of wine can deepen flavor further.
  3. Quick-cooking grains and pastas: rice noodles, kelp noodles, konjac noodles, quinoa, pre-cooked brown rice, chickpea pasta, soba (buckwheat) noodles. Toss with olive oil or sauce.  Cold noodle salads with peanut sauce, sliced veggies, and torn basil.  Add to broth with a baby spinach for a quick soup.
  4. Oats: Blend oats with water to make creamy oat milk.  Mix with an equal amount of water before bed and you will have breakfast ready to go. Roll oats with nut butter and hemp seeds to form snack balls.
  5. Cooked polenta: available in a log shape that you can open and slice. Great topped with marinara sauce, chili or sautéed greens and veggies.  Polenta can be cut into crouton shapes, baked until crispy and used as a crunchy topper for salads and soups!
  6. Hemp hearts: Neutral, almost nutty tasting plant protein with healthy omega-3 fats and micronutrients. Blend with water for hemp milk or a smoothie base.  Make dips and dressings by blending with a little water until smooth.  Season with salt, pepper, and herbs for a variety of flavors!  Sprinkle on salads.  Mix with herbs and sprinkle on pasta for a cheese alternative.
  7. Boxed coconut milk: I love boxed coconut milk for a couple of reasons.  First, it is easy to separate the coconut cream from the coconut water.  Coconut cream makes a quick dessert topping sweetened with a little stevia or maple syrup.  Make a yogurt substitute by mixing coconut cream with a squeeze of lemon juice and the contents of a probiotic capsule.  The versatility does not stop there.  Coconut milk can be blended with any fruit you have on hand to make a simple smoothie.  It is a great addition to a lemony broth for noodles; just add a sprinkle of chili pepper for a Thai inspired noodle dish!  Add curry powder and a bit of plain tomato sauce for a delightful curry sauce that you will want to lick off the spoon! (The brand I linked is my favorite – no additives or preservatives.)
  8. Coconut wraps: A shelf-stable pantry alternative to tortillas. Make burritos, fajitas, and quesadillas.  Use them for wrap sandwiches, layered casseroles, or super thin and crispy pizzas.
  9. Jarred artichoke hearts: These tender veggies have great flavor and can elevate a dish from familiar to fancy!  Drain, rinse, and eat.  Add them to pasta, salads, or toss with beans to make a simple meal.
  10. Nuts: Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, pecans, cashews… Add these to salads. Blend with beans for a creamy dip or dressing.  Chop fine and add to veggie burger mix for better texture.  Make nut milk.  Blend with broth and white beans for a creamy soup.  Chop and mix with minced mushrooms, onion, and taco seasoning for an easy raw taco “meat.”

 

Build Your Pantry

Take the stress out of mealtime.  Start building your pantry.  Adding shelf-stable items that are versatile can make mealtime a breeze.  It is also a comfort to have staples on hand that are not only nourishing but also tasty.  Start with these 10 things to keep in your pantry if you want to make healthy meals fast.  Check back for the next blog in this series that will share fridge and freezer basics.

 

Get More Great Tips AND Recipes

I love helping to take the stress out of mealtimes!  If you have not already, signup for my mailing list below to get exclusive recipes and more simple strategies like this list of pantry staples.  I want to help you use nutrition to support and improve your health.  We are in this together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Healthy Alternative to Tuna Salad That You’re Going to Love

One of the most common requests I get from people transitioning to a plant-based diet is how to overcome the loss felt when old comfort foods are no longer part of the menu.  Learning how to make a healthy alternative to your old favorites can help.  In this post, I’m sharing a healthy alternative to tuna salad that you’re going to love!  It’s fast, tasty and kid friendly.  

Before we get to the recipe, let’s look at the main ingredient we’ll be using: 

Chickpeas

Chickpeas, otherwise known as garbanzo beans have a ton of health benefits in addition to being easy to prepare and tasting great.  These small, pale-brown beans have been cultivated for the better part of 7,000 years, making them likely the oldest and most popular legumes on the planet. They have a nutty taste and a grainy texture that blends well with every food and ingredient. [1]

Health Benefits

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein that can help manage diabetes and aid in weight loss. Studies show that these beans have a unique ability to help balance blood sugar (only 1/3 cup daily is needed for this benefit, and the results kick in within a week!) Other proven benefits of chickpeas include their ability to improve digestion, boost heart health, and help maintain optimal blood pressure levels. Bone, skin, and hair health benefits are also on the impressive list!

Nutritional keys of note include being a good source of plant-based protein, folate, iron, manganese and beta-carotene.

Some Caution

While chickpeas have incredible health benefits, they may not be a good choice for you if you advanced renal (kidney) disease because chickpeas are a moderate source of purines which the body breaks down into uric acid.  In people with renal disease, especially, too much uric acid can create kidney stones and/or trigger gout.  If this is you, consider enjoying only a small amount of chickpeas rather than including them in your daily diet. 

How to Cook Chickpeas

1.  Sort, Wash, and Soak:

  • Sort through your dry chickpeas before rinsing and remove all stones and debris.
  • Wash your chickpeas in a bowl of cold water until the water is clear.  You may be surprised by how cloudy or gray the wash water is the first time!  I like to swish the chickpeas around vigorously with my fingers, strain and then wash again.
  • Soak the clean chickpeas in a bowl of fresh, cool water for 3 hours or overnight. This not only reduces cooking time but also removes some of the harmful compounds that can cause bloating or gas.

2.  Cook: 

  • Soaked chickpeas should be placed in a large pot and covered by at least an inch of water. 
  • Simmer them for a couple of hours until tender.
  • Alternatively, if you have an Instant Pot, place your soaked beans in there and use the Bean setting for 15 minutes.  Allow the pot to naturally release or quick release if you prefer beans that have a little more bite!

Note: Canned chickpeas are shelf-stable and can make fast, healthy meals much easier if you don’t have time to prepare your own.  I look for BPA free cans.  Eden Organics is a trusted brand.  I always have a few cans in my pantry. 

For dry chickpeas, I like Palouse because they are non-gmo and grown in the USA. 

Now for the recipe!

A healthy alternative to tuna salad that you’re going to love…

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked in cool water for 10 minutes and drained
  • 1/4 cup celery, minced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, minced
  • 2 bulbs/stalks green onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, minced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked Black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried dill ( if you have fresh dill, increase to 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 Tbsp kelp powder (optional) — this adds the flavor of the sea if you really want a tuna-like salad — this is the brand I have on hand

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and mash them a bit with a fork or a potato masher.  You want some bigger bits and some mash.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  If the salad seems dry, mash the chickpeas a bit more and add about a teaspoon of water to help things combine.  The flavor is great immediately, but does improve if allowed to chill for about an hour.

Serve as you would tuna salad.  Enjoy as a sandwich filling on your favorite bread, or stuff into the cavity of a scooped out tomato, eat by the spoonful or with seeded crackers.  Whatever your fancy, this is sure to satisfy!

If you make it, drop a picture on facebook or instagram — tag me @yourholistichealthcoach and #yourholistichealthcoach so I can give you some virtual high fives!

 

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