I still can’t believe that the first time I bought fresh ginger and turmeric was well into my 50’s. My mother was Polish and well, ginger and turmeric weren’t high on her list of ingredients. In fact, I can’t ever remember seeing either of them in our kitchen. Ditto kale, pomegranates, collards, etc. I mostly remember green beans, mashed potatoes and iceberg lettuce.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d give anything for some of my mom’s golumpki (stuffed cabbage) right now.
Fast forward many years later through a chronic illness to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I finally started paying attention to REAL whole foods.
Enter ginger and turmeric – super roots to the rescue!
Ginger and turmeric have become two of my favorites and so when I discovered that one of my beloved farmers (Lani’s Farm) from my old farmer’s market across the river had FRESH ginger and turmeric root, well, I just about did a happy dance and headed back to the old neighborhood.
Some people get excited about chocolate or wine, I get giddy when I see whole, fresh, pesticide-free produce!
I thought this would be a good time to talk about these two super roots because some folks will be feeling stuffed and bloated tomorrow. With a little help from your friends ginger and turmeric, you might feel a whole lot better.
Ginger is one of the famous “trinity roots” in Ayurveda (along with onions and garlic). In fact, many Ayurvedic practitioners say that ginger is one of the most important spices we can consume and should consume – every day. They literally consider it a medicine chest in itself.
This super root can help
- Improve digestion
- Lower cholesterol
- Thin the blood, help blood circulation
- Eliminate toxins from the body
- Stop nausea in its tracks – great for morning/sea sickness
- Prevent colds and flu, or shorten duration
- Keep joints healthy
But not all ginger is created equal. Fresh and dry ginger have very different properties and assimilate accordingly
Fresh ginger will surprisingly help reduce a fever, eliminate heartburn and ease migraines.
Dried ginger is very pungent and helps clear congestion. It’s most often used to eliminate cold and damp in the body and to help with respiratory ailments. Because of its heating/drying properties, it should be used sparingly if Pitta (heat) or Vata (dry) is in excess.
A great way to kindle your digestive fire (especially before lunch and dinner) is to either
- Slice an ⅛” of fresh ginger and put a little sea salt on it. Chew before your meals
- Grate a little fresh ginger, add a pinch of sea salt, few drops of lemon juice, ¼ tsp. of raw honey and eat before meals. You can add a pinch of ajwain seeds for an extra digestive aid
You can find really fresh dry ginger here.
If you don’t know about the healing properties of this super root, well you might just be living under a rock!
So much has been written lately about turmeric and its healing properties, especially in terms of brain health. India, where this beautiful golden yellow spice comes from and is a daily staple, has one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s Disease – in fact, it’s practically nonexistent.
Dr. John Douillard says “Because the brain is predominantly fatty tissue, fat-soluble toxins may accumulate in the brain and cause damage. As a fat-soluble substance, turmeric may have an affinity for chelating (removing) fat-soluble toxins out of the deep tissues.”
In addition to supporting cognition, turmeric boasts these healing properties
- Supports our moods, helps sleep, fights depression
- Supports our gut and the flow of bile – a healthy gut is vital for our overall health
- Amazing anti-inflammatory – inflammation is known to be at the root of many diseases
- Boosts antioxidant levels
- Supports heart health
- Nourishes the skin
- Supports the nervous system
- Helps with liver function
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels
- Promotes digestion
If you can find fresh turmeric, great, but often the powdered is much more readily available. Try to find the freshest you can. It should be a deep orange/yellow color. I like to buy my powdered turmeric here.
If you can add these spices starting tomorrow when digestion issues are rampant, great! If not, start adding turmeric and ginger to your daily routine and see how you feel.