Why you should boost your health with Turmeric
I’m a big believer in the healing power of food. Whenever I’m feeling run down, tired or my skin breaks out – I ask myself what can I eat, or take as a supplement to make myself feel better? We’ve all heard in the power of superfoods, high levels of antioxidants protect our cells from free radicals, but foods like ginger, honey and turmeric also have natural anti-sceptics, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory superpowers.
I’m not an expert at this by any means, and hungry to learn more about the power of one of my favourite spices: Turmeric, Seb co-founder and Herbsmith Pukka Herbs kindly agreed to answer some questions to help both myself and you guys understand a little bit more about this golden goddess…
What is turmeric and why is turmeric so incredibly good for your health?
Turmeric is a spice that is most commonly known as a culinary ingredient in Asian and Indian cookery. It adds depth of flavour, and the yellow-orange colour to dishes such as curries.
But turmeric does much more than make our food taste delicious. Yogis have been topping up on this super-spice thanks to its ability to keep joints healthy and supple. And Ayurvedic practitioners in India have been recommending it for over 4,000 years as a tonic to support immunity and good health. Turmeric is so revered in india that she is also known as The Golden Goddess. Divine power indeed.
Modern research has shown that this remarkable spice may have an extensive range of health and beauty benefits thanks to its incredible antioxidant capacity. Studies have shown that the unique compounds found in turmeric can protect the body from premature ageing and support everything from a healthy brain and liver, to enhancing the clarity and radiance of skin.
Where does it come from and how do you extract it to put in the Pukka supplement range?
Our organic turmeric is grown in Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra; three neighbouring states in the South of India. Unlike most other turmeric supplements that you find, we use the whole of the turmeric root, including the essential oils, along with digestive spices, which help increase the absorption and bioavailability of the supplement.
To ensure we capture all of the goodness in such a highly concentrated form Pukka use a specialist extraction method called Supercritical extract using carbon dioxide along with a dehydrated alcohol-water extract and the whole root powder. This triumvirate of turmeric’s vitality allows us to create a highly bioavailable turmeric supplement that call Wholistic Turmeric. This process guarantees that the body is able to get the full-spectrum of turmeric’s compounds and all the benefits of the whole plant.
This is a far cry from the commonly sold ‘curcumin’ that is just one isolated compound out of Turmeric’s 230. Adhering to the principles we have learnt from the wisdom tradition that is Ayurveda, we like to use the whole plant at Pukka.
How does the turmeric in the capsules differ from the tea?
The major difference between the tea and supplements is that the supplements are extracted using the Wholistic method and are highly concentrated in all of the beneficial compounds. Just two capsules of Wholistic Turmeric provides 155mg of curcumin and 55ml of turmeric essential oils equivalent to over 35g of fresh turmeric.
The Turmeric Gold tea is made using whole turmeric root and blended with green tea along with cardamom pods and lemon, which adds a host of protective antioxidant benefits in themselves.
To feel the ultimate benefits of turmeric, drink our organic Turmeric Gold tea and take our turmeric capsules together.
How do you ensure all your products are ethically sourced and certified organic?
We’ve always been passionate about connecting people and plants. Organic methods bring people together with plants, and plants with people, for the good of everyone – and it’s this exchange of goodness that makes organic principles special to us.
Properly grown organic herbs can have over 50% more protective phytocompounds than conventionally grown herbs adding not only to their delicious taste but their health benefits too.
We also love organic because it means giving back what we take out during our time her on planet earth. It’s a holistic way of living and means living with respect for the world around us. Its an incredible fact that organic farms have over 50% more wildlife on than non-organic farms deeply validating how organic farming creates more biodiversity and contributes positively to life.
Are your products also fair trade?
The turmeric grown in Kerala is Fairtrade certified, which means that a percentage of the money goes directly to the community to support social projects.
All of our organic teas are now certified Fair for Life. Fair for Life is one of the fairest, most equitable and transparent fair and ethical trade system in the world.
The scheme enables us to source even more ethical and fairly traded herbs as, unlike many other fair trade standards, it’s more inclusive. As it includes Europe as an area worthy of fairtrade we can now work with farmers and growers in developed countries such as Turkey and Hungary, ensuring workers are paid fairly and treated ethically. It’s also good as we can ensure that all parts of our supply chain, not just farmers and growers, have fair wages and decent working conditions.
What other spices do you think people should be using to stay healthy?
Incorporating spices into your everyday routine is one of the best and easiest ways to improve health and wellbeing. Two standout spices, which are also delicious, are cinnamon and ginger. Cinnamon is a protective and sweet spice that balances blood sugar, gently warms the circulation and strengthens the intestines. Ginger is a warming spice and natural protector against pain and inflammation. It stimulates circulation and relieves nausea. Mixed with honey, ginger can soothe a sore throat and effectively clear sinuses and congestion as part of a mild cold.
As well as drinking it in tea form, in what other ways can you use turmeric?
Apart from taking it easily in supplement form, turmeric is a very popular culinary spice. Cooking it with natural fats such as coconut oil or ghee helps release beneficial constituents within turmeric. Also, combining it with a pinch of black pepper or ginger will also increase absorption in the gut.
What is it that makes turmeric so incredible for health?
Pigments known as curcuminoids give turmeric its characteristic vibrant yellow colour and the oils its earthy smell. The yellow pigments including curcumin, as well as essential oils and constituents known as tumerones, are responsible for its main therapeutic properties. The combination of these constituents working together support a diverse range of activity. They work within the body as antioxidants and strong anti-inflammatories whilst also enhancing circulation, protecting the brain, rejuvenating the liver and targeting pain.
I’ve heard turmeric is good for your skin, what benefits would you see from introducing turmeric into your diet?
Because the skin is a natural route for toxins to leave the body, it is also a good indicator of how well the body is eliminating wastes. Conditions that affect the skin can signify that the bowels, liver and kidneys are not removing wastes properly and forcing the body to remove them via the skin rather than through the liver and digestion. It can also indicate that the body is overloaded with too many toxins. Modern research has shown that turmeric may have a range of benefits in skin, from protecting us from premature ageing, to skin-clearing, to supporting skin healing and cell renewal.
How often do you need to use turmeric to see a difference?
Turmeric has many short and long-term benefits. It can be used acutely to deal with immediate pain and inflammation – such as sports injury and joint pain. Long-term use will be of benefit to the whole body thanks to the abundance of antioxidants found in turmeric that have been shown to help us stay healthy and well. So we recommend to include it in your daily cooking, drink a cup or two of the tea everyday and if you’re training for the next Olympics, Sun saluting every morning or just to help keep you at your best, take two capsules of Wholistic Turmeric every day.
I’m feeling very motivated now to take turmeric everyday! Find out what I thought of the Turmeric capsules in my September Favourites video.