Friday, December 28, 2012

Turmeric Tea and the New Year

My decision to return to a more natural, less-processed life- and food-style is one that has been coming for a long time. I did this seven years ago with wonderful results (loss of 55lbs, cessation of diabetes symptoms and test results), but I slowly ebbed away from it. Not sure why. Just began to drift into the habits of others around me. This culminated this year with hanging around many smokers. Needless to say, there were many negative outcomes.

With the latest illness that dampened my sense of taste and smell, I knew I had to change. The smokers are no longer in close proximity, and my desire to return to former good habits returned with a vengeance. But, there is always something new to learn!
Turmeric Tea [light yellow milky tea in a white cup]

I discovered a tea that includes a ordinary spice in our cabinets that has been the subject of many studies and continues to be on the radar in health and wellness circles. That spice is turmeric. There are many versions of the tea, but the one I use is this:

8oz almond milk (I like Vanilla)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
 (I don't have fresh right now, but I have a jar of minced ginger that keeps forever in the refrigerator! I used 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Dash of black pepper (I have a jar that grates it from peppercorns)
1/2 tsp honey (or other sweetener) to taste

All you have to do is heat up the almond milk to near boiling, and mix in the other ingredients. I don't strain it, but if you don't like the feel of the spices, you could strain it for a smoother taste. Use the honey or other sweetener to your taste. This is as good as  or better than a homemade chai to me!

Turmeric, both fresh and dried powder form
There are many benefits to turmeric. A cousin of ginger, tt has been used for generations as a cooking spice companion to cumin in India, the West Indies and other locations. It is known in the Aurvedic and Chinese health and wellness circles as a potent anti-inflammatory and digestive aid. I am also studying aromatherapy, specifically essential oils and incense, but turmeric is often mentioned as a spice that can be used for its health properties.

But, I must discuss something that is very important. In my studies, I find so many different opinions on what works for different physical conditions. I can not give medical advice or even specific health and wellness advice. What I can do is point you toward established and well trusted links for information and remind everyone that they should always consult their doctor if they are going to add, subtract or change anything in their diet or lifestyle.

With that said, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric has been shown in studies to fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation and treat digestive problems. While this is encouraging, these studies have not been on humans and have concentrated on the main active substance in turmeric, curcumin, a powerful antioxidant. Curcumin fights free radicals in the body as well as lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation.

Safety concerns around turmeric center around pregnant or breastfeeding women, who should not use it. Also, anyone with a history of ulcers or kidney stones should avoid turmeric as a health/wellness option. It has not been studied in children, so therefore there are no recommendations for that group as well. As a cooking spice, it is safe, but anything other than that, should be avoided by the groups mentioned.

Other areas of concern are diabetics (turmeric may lower blood sugar levels) and anyone on blood thinners (turmeric may act like a blood thinner as well) and medications to reduce stomach acid.

I know that seems a lot, but the safety of my readers is so important to me. So far, I drink one cup of turmeric tea a day. I find that any mucus in my chest and feelings of inflammation in my joints decrease soon after drinking it. Since there is also cinnamon in this tea, the effect may be enhanced, as cinnamon is also known to be an anti-inflammatory spice.

In the upcoming year, I will write more about my journey. There is so much to share! Some upcoming topics include:
  • No more flouride-laden toothpaste
  • Face and skin care from the pantry
  • Spice mixes without the preservatives
  • Natural eating on a budget 
Let me know if you try turmeric tea. Here is also a link for homemade chai tea. Enjoy!

Links for your research: 
American Cancer Society - Turmeric
University of Maryland Medical Center - Turmeric
Medline Plus - Turmeric

Reader Feedback:
What are you doing to increase health and wellness while saving money? And, if there is a food-related health and wellness subject you would like me to cover, let me know. 

No comments:

Post a Comment