by Sarah Lawrence | Sep 25, 2020 | Digestion, Health, Hormones & Neurotransmitters, Immune & Inflammatory Balance, Mind, Spirit, Emotions, Nutrition
In a world where more people are turning to prescription and supplement sleep aids, a whole food solution for sleep and health may not be the first choice. However, as a Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner, whole foods and natural options are my go-to. If a good night’s sleep is a challenge for you, join me. I will share my secret bedtime drink for people who need better sleep.
Turmeric is one of the most researched plants on the planet. Over 8000 scientific studies explore and confirm turmeric’s medicinal properties. Everything from depression and diabetes, to inflammation and blood pressure regulation; even liver detoxification and immune system support!
This is an ingredient that you definitely want to have on hand.
First, the good news: turmeric is affordable and available. Second, it has a neutral taste. Third, it is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Hint: it’s the star of our bedtime elixir recipe!
Traditionally, turmeric is used in teas, curries, broths and herbal supplements. Those are great ways to get turmeric into play. But, as a healthy foodie, you are probably familiar with adding turmeric to a meal.
Here’s my truth:
I’ve had a relationship with turmeric for years. It’s been in my soups and stews. I toss in with my potatoes and pasta sauces. It even gets added into my morning smoothies! As a student of Ayurveda, I learned that daily use of turmeric could have a profoundly positive impact on my health. So, we’ve been in a hot little relationship ever since!
Turmeric tea sipped throughout the day is a go-to if I’m feeling bloated or at all inflamed. I simply slice a piece of turmeric root and a piece of ginger. Then, I grate them and add to a pot with water. Finally, simmer, steep and sip.
Incorporating turmeric into my nighttime routine has been magical. You deserve something magical, too!
Turmeric And Coconut Milk Bedtime Elixir
Turmeric-infused coconut milk is delicious and warming. Try this before bed to improve digestion. It can calm the nervous system and help prepare you for restful sleep. Best results will be seen over time. The ingredients work to nourish and replenish your body.
- 4 cups coconut milk
- 2 tsp powdered turmeric or 2 tbsp peeled, fresh turmeric
- 2 tsp powdered ginger or 2 tbsp peeled, fresh ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup, raw honey OR a squirt of liquid stevia
- 12 peppercorns, gently crushed
- First, combine everything except the coconut oil into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Next, let the mixture bubble gently for about 5 minutes, then shut off the heat.
- After about 5 minutes of cooling, strain the mixture through cheesecloth (or a fine strainer if you prefer a smoother texture).
- Finally, taste and add maple syrup, honey or stevia if desired!
The Amazing Benefits and WHY You Should Consider This Turmeric Coconut Bedtime Elixir:
- Coconut Milk And Coconut Oil – The fiber and fat content of coconut are what help coax sound sleep. Fiber and fat support balanced blood sugar.
- Ginger – Natural anti-inflammatory that can help relieve symptoms of arthritis, bursitis and other musculoskeletal issues. Particularly calming for the digestive tract. For sleep, it’s the melatonin present in ginger that seals the deal!
- Nutmeg – Acts as a natural relaxant in small doses.
- Black Pepper – piperine in pepper enhances the absorption of curcumin. It contains nutrients, including manganese, iron and vitamin K. Also, commonly used to calm digestive issues.
Bonus Tip –
Some golden milk recipes include cinnamon. As a Functional Nutritionist, I encourage you to skip cinnamon at bedtime. Why? Because cinnamon is more of a stimulant. Traditional aromatherapy uses cassia and cinnamon oil to promote alertness. While the scent is warm and comforting, the spice helps stimulate digestive fire. So, save cinnamon for the morning cup!
by Sarah Lawrence | Aug 25, 2020 | Digestion, Health, Immune & Inflammatory Balance, Nutrition
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!)
- 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:
- 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.