Move over chai lattes – the turmeric latte is here.
Why are we drinking milk mixed with a spice usually found for curries?
Long before it hit the menu at the local cafe, turmeric has been used in traditional medicine like Ayurveda to treat a range of conditions from liver and blood disorders, skin and stomach problems, and infections.
Western medicine is also investigating this spice with research showing some impressive results. It’s been claimed to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Have antioxidant properties
- Lower blood pressure
- Fight cancer
But does it?
Curcumin, a compound in turmeric, has been associated with anti-inflammatory qualities. Some research has shown that taking curcumin daily can reduce the pain of arthritis.
Because inflammation plays a role in other diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, curcumin could play a role in these conditions as well. This humble orange spice is also claimed to help treat depression and cardiovascular disease.
Golden latte anyone?
A one-off turmeric latte won’t have enough curcumin to have any major impact on your health. In general, you’d have to eat a lot of turmeric to see any benefits, although consuming turmeric with black pepper and food (particularly with fat/oil) will help with absorption. Curcumin supplements have been manufactured to enhance absorption and could be a good option.
Turmeric is part of the ginger family and you can buy it as a root or dried powder from health food shops, Asian groceries and supermarkets. If you want to kick-start your day with turmeric try whipping up some turmeric scrambled eggs. Another quick and easy idea is to slice a sweet potato (or other root vegetables) and coat with oil, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of cummin and bake in the oven.
Always check with your doctor first to check it’s okay for you to take turmeric as a supplement.
Have a read how a Chorus Disability Employment Services customer used the benefits of turmeric to help both her health and her career here.
Find out more about food and nutrition in our Nutrition for Seniors fact sheet.