Turmeric is know as a powerful antioxidant and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine traditions. Just in the past decade or 2 of research we really have discovered the key of why this is such a powerful herb, especially in combination with other plants.
The key compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids. Curcumin itself is the most active ingredient and appears to be the most important and makes up apx 5% of turmeric.
As a polyphenol, curcumin has several advantages to health. It’s a strong antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
However, one of the greatest downfalls of curcumin is that it’s not well absorbed in the body.
Enter Black pepper; peppercorns contains the bioactive compound piperine, which is similar to capsaicin, the medicinal component found in chili powder and cayenne pepper, piperine works with the curcumin to ramps up its potentiate activities in the body by 2000%.(1)
Curcumin is a natural, oil-soluble polyphenolic compound, which means it will be better absorbs when mixed with a fat, so even though there are many different recipes for turmeric tea, whole food cooking with healthy fats like coconut milk, avocado, small inclusions of olive oil, and black pepper may be a great way to get more of turmerics benefits into your diet.
There are a variety of different recipes for turmeric tea, with the base varying from water, dairy, or a dairy substitute.
If you are looking for a low calorie version of this tea, simply add one tablespoon of ground turmeric to four cups of boiling water and let it simmer for ten minutes before straining through a fine strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filter.
To get the most benefits you can from every cup, simmer the turmeric in coconut milk, to add the fat content needed to better assimilate the active properties of the turmeric in our digestive systems. This can be flavoured by adding a chai tea, maple syrup, and eventually adding a small amount of black pepper to this spicy tea mix as the black pepper works synergistically with the turmeric and the fat for us to unlock the active compounds.
It's warming and so restorative with a great safety profile which means you can drink it everyday and continue as long as you like.
I would note that it is so effective I would caution people that already have very low blood pressure or are on blood pressure medication to work closely with your primary care physician to talk about the possibilities to adjust medications as needed and monitor closely.
Interested in more foods, herbs and spices to add to a winter rotation? Read more here about my favorite winter foods and spices that help boost immunity, better circulation, and help you fight off cold and flu!