Wonder Root: Turmeric
This month at the OM gardens we harvested turmeric! The garden volunteers harvested upwards of fifty pounds of the orange gold in just a few days.
Although it is not native to Costa Rica the wonder root thrives with the combination of OM’s homemade soil and the humid heat of the Caribean.
Turmeric can be prepared a number of ways depending on it’s usage. Most of this turmeric will be dried for a number of days and ground into a powder. OM’s conscious kitchen will keep it on hand for recipes that call for the flavorful and nutritious spice. We’ve also made it into tea, cooked it into meals and a few of us brought a handful to the local juicery to try it in juice form.
The lovely folks at Juice for Life, an organic juicery and health-conscious cafe, juiced the fresh turmeric and mixed the rich liquid with fresh young coconut (or pipa) water and organic lime juice. The result was a vibrant orange tangy shot, potent and delicious.
Kristen Benoist, owner of Juice for LIfe knows turmeric to be “the most impressive anticancer and anti-inflammation” food-medicine. The cozy, high-quality juicery opened in May. “When there’s no place to find juice, you have to make a place” Benoist stated, which is how she came to open her business here in Puerto Viejo. To Benoist, juice is powerful disease prevention “it’s medicine, if you do it every day it changes your life”.
No matter what form you choose to ingest turmeric the benefits are numerous. Turmeric is so healing due to polyphenol curcumin, “various studies have shown that curcumin has anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, thrombo-suppressive, cardioprotective, anti-arthritic, chemopreventive and anti-carcinogenic activities.” (Hewlings and Kalman)
Interestingly although it is packed with nutrients, “ingesting curcumin by itself does not lead to the associated health benefits due to its poor bioavailability.” (Hewlings and Kalman)
But luckily curcumin has some natural friends, like a component found in black pepper, that help bring out its beneficial effects.
“There are several components that can increase bioavailability. For example, piperine is the major active component of black pepper and, when combined in a complex with curcumin, has been shown to increase bioavailability by 2000%” (Hewlings and Kalman).
Read more about the traditional and modern discoveries in turmeric as a medicinal wonder! And if you live here in Costa Rica or a similar climate, you can even grow your own supply!