This summer, turn to turmeric and ginger for your dynamic ginger-family duo.
Both superfoods contain powerful properties that work together to optimize your joint health and boost your mobility!
It's the season to get out and get active. It's time for bike rides, hiking, swimming, and jogging. It's the time of the year when you want to feel good and move with ease. There are plenty of ways to optimize your body's mobility and overall wellness, but you may be forgetting about two key ingredients that you probably have in your pantry right now.
Ginger and turmeric come in many forms: fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, powdered, and even candied. You may have used one or both before while cooking. While they are similar in properties, and both in the ginger family, they each have their own health benefits that are worth learning about individually.
Here's an in-depth breakdown of turmeric and ginger, and why these superfoods are so important for your overall wellness.
Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, is the root of a flowering plant from the ginger family. Turmeric is a plant known for its medicinal use, dating back to 4000 years ago in the Vedic culture in India, where it was used as a culinary spice and had some religious significance.
Turmeric has been prescribed for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine for a variety of conditions, including joint discomfort and aches. If you’re not familiar with the term, Ayurveda refers to the ancient Indian method of natural healing and is considered by some scholars to be the oldest healing science.
Turmeric is packed with impressive amounts of nutrients such as iron, manganese, potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6, to name a few. There are little to no known side effects of taking turmeric as a health supplement. Turmeric is the main source of a compound called curcumin, which is why you will see the term turmeric curcumin.
Curcumin is a compound in turmeric traditionally used in Asian medicine due to its antioxidant properties. It has been known to support multiple different health benefits including joint health and immunity. It is also known to support inflammatory response, mental clarity, and longevity.
One population study showed that elderly Singaporeans who ate curry with turmeric had better cognitive function than those not consuming curry. Of related interest, curcumin is reported to be effective in counteracting oxidative stress and impaired cognition.
Where is tumeric commonly found?
Turmeric curcumin is found in cosmetics, drinks, soaps, antiseptics, and, most commonly, in culinary recipes as a colorant and a preservative. Its bright orange color makes it easily recognizable and quite beautiful to see.
Commonly found in Indian cuisines, such as curry powder, turmeric is beloved around the globe by home cooks and culinary experts alike. You may have heard it being referred to as “the spice of life.”
Despite its many benefits, turmeric is actually hard for the body to absorb without a digestive agent. This might come as a surprise, but, black pepper is that agent. Black pepper contains piperine, a compound that helps the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%!
Considered by many to be one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet, curcumin is packed with an incredible amount of wellness-supporting properties and nutrients. However, in order to truly reap all the benefits that this powerful root provides, you would need to consume large amounts of it; more than anyone would desire on a daily basis.
By taking turmeric extract, a more concentrated version, the potency is higher and users notice results in day-to-day activity. Be sure to check you are getting a high-quality, high concentration of curcumin, to fully enjoy the magic of this spice.
Ginger is also a root of a flowering plant originating in Southeast Asia. Though it is not as bright in color as turmeric, both hold similar antioxidant properties. They compliment each other in flavor, too, as they are commonly found together in salad dressings, sauces, stir-fries, and soups. Ginger can be used in sweet or savory recipes.
Ginger is paler in color and features a sharper, more pungent aroma. Ginger is loaded with nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, copper, and calcium. Like turmeric, ginger is considered a "superfood," meaning it has a high nutritional value.
Ginger root has been used for its many benefits in Asia, India, Europe, and the Middle East for centuries. It has been shown to have purported antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Essentially, the health benefits are vast.
Gingerol is the main compound found in the ginger root. Gingerol is commonly used to support digestion, and it is known to be an effective aid for nausea. It also is thought to contain powerful antioxidants that may help reduce excess free radicals found in the body.
Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if their count becomes too high. They are combatted with a healthy amount of antioxidant intake to decrease oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is the unbalance of antioxidants and free radicals within your body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. It occurs naturally as we age, but can be reduced by increasing your antioxidant levels.
As a result of these antioxidant properties, ginger can also help reduce muscle soreness after intense physical exercise. Basically, ginger root is thought to possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help with mobility and joint health.
Where is ginger commonly found?
You may have seen pickled ginger on the side of your sushi plate and wondered what it was. We know ginger may aid digestion and support joint mobility thanks to its high antioxidant count, but it can also be a palate cleanser between courses or meals.
Ginger is also used as a flavoring agent in carbonated beverages, such as ginger ale, or infused in a tea. Both drinks are commonly used to treat symptoms of nausea. Nausea can be related to motion sickness, dehydration, morning sickness, or excessive physical exertion in extreme heat.
Ingesting ginger can help settle the stomach and make it easier for you to get on with your day and continue staying active. It may also help support inflammatory responses, including within your gut, which is essential for healthy digestion and healthy immune response.
Juice shots for an immunity boost!
As mentioned before, you may add spices to your food for desired nutrients that you may be missing out on, but another great way to quickly take in essential vitamins and minerals is to juice. Ginger and turmeric are actually very popular ingredients in the juicer community. And yes, there is a community for those who love to make juice!
For example, lemon ginger turmeric juice or carrot ginger turmeric juice are two popular flavors that juicers love. Smoothies are another great way to get your ginger and turmeric in. In this case, you can look up a recipe online and it will tell you how to prepare the superfood before throwing it in the blending with your spinach, berries, bananas, and almond milk.
In fact, many health advocates have popularized drinking a shot of highly concentrated ginger, so it goes down quickly and the benefits are greater.
Overall, both roots are similar in look and hold similar properties, so it's not surprising that they are used together to optimize health benefits. Ginger leans more on the digestion, gut support side of health while turmeric tends to support inflammatory responses, cognitive function, as well as skin health. However, they both contain those ever-important antioxidants to help boost overall wellness.
Once you learn the many benefits of ginger and turmeric, it's easy to see why they have grown in popularity, and also why they are often used together. There are a variety of ways to get your daily intake, however, using turmeric and ginger as a daily supplement is the easiest way to get all the health benefits from both flowering plants.
Overall, if you aren't planning on any downtime this summer, try spicing up your life with ginger and turmeric. Enjoy a new curry-inspired recipe or a concentrated juice shot for health benefits that will keep you moving and feeling great!