Curry Smoothies to fight inflammation…Well, kind of

Do you recognize this root?
Tumeric

Probably not since it’s not commonly found here in most US grocery stores like carrots. You may have seen it dried and ground in your spice aisle though.  It’s turmeric and it may be the best thing you put in your juice or smoothie today.

I know I tout the health benefits of tons of vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, but this one is special.  Turmeric contains a special component called curcumin, which gives it the lovely yellow color.  Turmeric was identified over a century ago as a natural anti-inflammatory, but in the past few decades, we have learned that the curcumin is the key factor fighting the chronic inflammation.

Let me remind you of 2 important things dealing with inflammation:

  1. Inflammation in immediate response to an injury or foreign substance is a good thing.
  2. Chronic inflammation is bad.  If your body is “signaled” frequently (daily, hourly, constantly…) than it can get very bad.  Recent research is showing that inflammation has a major role in most chronic illnesses, including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases.

 

This article by heart surgeon, Dr. Dwight Lundell about heart disease describes this difference briliantly.

“Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process,a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.”
“Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. You kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.”

To fully eradicate the inflammation, you would have to know the source.  For many of us, that can seem quite obvious, but for some it is not.  Remember that elimination diet my family started earlier this month?  We did not determine the exact cause of my husband and son’s issues, but found new ones for me….huh?  It can all be a bit confusing.

What we can do right away is focus on the addition of the good stuff.  Yes, please continue to eliminate processed foods and things you know are not going to provide your body with proper nutrition.  Then focus on starting a healthy habit that you can rely on.

As I mentioned above, turmeric usually comes in dried, ground powder form.  That is good for us because it helps it stay shelf stable longer and is easy to sprinkle on our food.  Before you go dumping in tablespoons of it into your smoothie you should know that turmeric is fat-soluble.  That means that the body requires fats to breakdown and absorb the spice.  Additionally, ingesting black pepper with turmeric also dramatically increases the bioavailability (how easily your body can absorb) of the curcumin.  My easy fix is to add a tablespoon of Udo’s Oil, coconut oil, or avocado into my smoothie along with the turmeric and black pepper.

Still wondering about those curry smoothies?  Here are some recipes to try:

Curried Tropical Smoothie

1/2 cup mango, peeled and roughly chopped
2 handfuls of spinach
1″ knob fresh ginger
1 tsp curry powder (find some here)
1/4 tsp black pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
1 avocado
1 lime
½ cup coconut milk (or other nut milk)
4-5 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in your Vitamix or other high speed blender and enjoy!

 

Orange Turmeric Smoothie

2 small oranges
1″ knob fresh ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbs coconut oil
1 banana

I don’t add ice to this because i want the solid coconut oil to blend smoothy.
Place all ingredients in your Vitamix or other high speed blender and enjoy!

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