By now I’m sure you’ve heard of turmeric, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed its delicious exotic flavor and learned a little about its almost magical health benefits. If not, let me highlight a few things that make turmeric so amazing.
Turmeric contains the substance curcumin (and despite what is sounds like, it is not related to cumin, but it IS related to ginger). Curcumin is a very powerful anti-inflammatory. Now I know this term is a major health buzz-word that gets thrown around a lot, but research is showing more and more how inflammation may play a big role in disease. Inflammation is actually a really good thing though, right? If you sprain your ankle, it swells up (inflammation), and to oversimplify the process, this response is your body healing itself. But low-grade, chronic inflammation, that is caused primarily by diet and environmental factors, is not beneficial to our body. On the one hand, it taxes your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to illness. Processed foods, vegetable oils, refined flours, dairy, etc are all things that cause your body to launch an immune response, so your immune system is not ready in full-force when an ugly virus comes along. And, on the other hand, there is mounting evidence that inflammation contributes to a wide variety of diseases. SO, the more whole, real foods that we eat that decrease inflammation in the body, the better. The anti-inflammatory power of turmeric was found to be as effective at relieving pain as ibuprofen in some cases. Let thy food be thy medicine, indeed!
Turmeric also helps digestive problems, is high in anti-oxidants (which protect our cells from damage by fighting free radicals – read: cancer prevention), can help with depression, healing wounds, and preventing things like Alzheimers and heart disease. Just make sure you always consume turmeric with a bit of black pepper – curcumin is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream, but by pairing it with pepper, it increases the bio-availability and absorption by 2000%.
This recipe makes a great snack – it’s got a salty/sweet vibe to it with the perfect crunch. Pumpkin seeds are a superfood by themselves, but paired with turmeric it’s like the Avengers (I had to google that one…it’s the movie with all of the superheroes in it). Enjoy!
Turmeric Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 tsp avocado oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt (I used pink Himalayan)
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
Preheat oven to 325. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Spread out in a thin layer on a sheet pan and bake for 5-7 minutes, until just barely browned. Watch them closely because they can burn quickly. Let cool and store in an airtight container.