Someone emailed me the other day asking for recipes or ideas on how to get more turmeric in their diet. That might sound like a strange request if you aren’t hip to all the health nerd news, but I immediately knew what he was talking about.
You see, consuming 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of turmeric every day is one of the very best things you could do to improve your health. Turmeric is perhaps the most anti-inflammatory food on the planet (and inflammation seems to be the primary cause of pretty much every disease). The scientific research is littered with its powers. Here’s just a handful of videos from NutritionFacts.org about the myriad benefits of this spice (you should really set aside a few minutes to watch these). Turmeric seems to…
- Boost endothelial/arterial function as much as exercise
- Show promise against pancreatic cancer
- Fight colon cancer
- Prevent Alzheimer’s disease
- Help prevent diabetes
- And here’s a good overview of turmeric itself plus research on how it can help treat Rheumatoid Arthritis:
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 3+ tablespoons maple syrup
- Non-dairy milk, for serving
The thing is, how do you actually take the stuff?! There are pills you can take, but it appears that the fancy “extracts” in the pills aren’t even as effective as the plain ol’ spice itself. Hence the question I got from a reader. Other than a few curry recipes that include the spice, I didn’t have a good solution for a recipe you could quickly prepare every day to get your 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
It has a strange flavor on its own and is way too strong to eat straight up. But I started experimenting and realized that it pairs really nicely with other spices like cinnamon and cloves (like in a curry), and I remember the whole “golden chai latte” craze which is basically chai tea spices with turmeric instead of black tea mixed with milk. But it would be a bit time-consuming to prepare a golden chai latte every day… so what I ultimately came up with is a simple golden chai “concentrate” that you can make at home in about 10 minutes and has enough servings to last you about a week.
The concentrate makes 6 servings, each with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, and you simply mix the concentrate with a bit of warm almond milk for a beverage that is warm, earthy, sweet, and delicious. Seriously, putting aside the health benefits, this is one delicious caffeine-free latte you can put together in a matter of seconds.
Note: it’s important that turmeric be paired with black pepper. For some reason, even a dash of pepper boost the bioavailability of the spice by a ridiculous 2,000% (see this NutritionFacts video). So make sure you don’t forget that ingredient!
Makes: 6 servings
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the almond milk and begin warming over medium heat. Use a whisk to stir regularly until all the spices are dissolved in the water. Allow to simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes so that some of the water can reduce and thicken the syrup/concentrate.
Tip: you can experiment with the quantity of all the spices (other than the turmeric) if you’d like to adjust the balance of flavors. you can also add more or less maple syrup – at 3 tablespoons total, that’s only 1 1/2 teaspoons per serving so feel free to add a little more if that’s your thing.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a glass container (if you use plastic, it will be forever stained yellow…) and store in the fridge until ready to use.
When ready to serve, stir the concentrate because it will have separated, and then measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons (1/6th of the total amount) into a glass with 4 oz of warm almond milk. Stir and top with a dash of cinnamon.