The biggest reason turmeric is such a fantastic root to consume is because it contains “circumins”. Circumins are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal properties. This is especially important for endurance athletes, because endurance training produces “free radicals” which can damage our cells and cause an inflammatory response. Although some oxidative stress is beneficial for training adaptations to occur, too much can have negative health implications, such as reduced immune function. Circumins can actually inhibit certain inflammatory molecules, which is why it is known as an anti-inflammatory agent (Chainani-Wu, 2004)
In addition, there is some supporting research that suggests small doses of circumins can actually facilitate the conversion of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is believed to be important for brain development and protection and deficiencies have been linked to anxiety (Wu et. al 2015). A great summery of this can be found here.
How to consume?
Unfortunately, the bioavailability of circumins on their own is thought to be quite low. For this reason, it is highly recommended to add a sprinkle of cracked black pepper and a fat source, such as seafood, to recipes to increase the bioavailability of the circumins in the turmeric (Saw et. al 2010). Although I prefer to boil my turmeric root with ginger and cinnamon (similar flavours to apple cider), it is also great to add it as a spice to soups and salad dressings or chopped up and put directly into salads. Below you will find a simple recipe for a warm turmeric tonic.
4 Cinnamon Sticks
2 inch piece of fresh ginger root
5 pieces of turmeric root
Combine all ingredients with 2 litres of water, bring to boil and let simmer for 1 – 2 hours (lid lightly on). Then turn heat off and leave pot on hot element for 3 – 4 hours with lid tightly on.
**When consuming, remember to add a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper to activate the circumins.
You can also add freshly squeezed lemon juice and /or Manuka honey. Please note though, lemon juice from the plastic bottle or carton does not contain the same health benefits as freshly squeezed lemon.
Hope you enjoy this drink!