By now both folk and modern medicine know about curcumin, a component of turmeric that been shown to have anti- inflammatory benefits, and has been associated with the inhibition of colon, gastric, and breast and skin cancers. 1 , 2, 3
There’s just one problem, turmeric is not really very easy for your body to absorb. So, what’s the most effective way to integrate turmeric into your diet to reap some of these cancer fighting and other healthy benefits? Well according to research, the best way is to ferment this nutritional powerhouse. A study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology found that the bioavailability of turmeric increased in rats when it was fermented.
According to the study, “Plasma antioxidant concentration was higher in rats administered fermented turmeric beverage than other turmeric products.”4 Turns out, fermentation prior to eating turmeric converts the curcumin into easily digested “metabolites” which are the active anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting compounds.
How can we ferment turmeric? It’s super easy and just like making real ginger-ale: grate raw turmeric, combine with water and raw honey, and place on shelf away from direct sunlight. Turmeric powder may be substituted for the raw turmeric but really, raw it far better and should only be substituted if you can’t find fresh.
Here’s a more detailed recipe for Turmeric Lime soda that will pacify pain, cool angry inflammation and aid in digestion!
1 cup thinly sliced turmeric, unpeeled (if you come up a little short, a bit of ginger in the mix is fine, too)
3/4 cup raw honey
2 organic lemons or limes, or a combo of both (zest and juice)
6 cups water
Bring water and sliced turmeric in a quart of water and heat to boiling. Boil at least 20 minutes, until the water becomes a rich golden yellow. Simmer for 20 minutes. Cool to body temperature then add the zest and juice and honey. Transfer to a large 2 L mason jar (or between two smaller ones).
Add 1 Tbsp. freshly grated turmeric to this mixture and then stir, screw on the lid and sit on the counter for 2-3 days in hot weather, 4-5 in winter, or until slightly bubbly. Stir or shake a little occasionally. Strain into bottles with a loose cap. Allow to carbonate for another 2-3 days at room temperature, and then put in the fridge. It will last a week in the fridge before it goes vinegary.
The honey will gradually ferment, leaving the taste but not the sweetness. When you are ready to drink this, swirl to distribute the solids, or strain it before drinking if you prefer a clearer liquid. This tonic is tasty and refreshing, with a little effervescence from the natural fermentation of the honey. I you need more sweetness, then add a little coconut sugar or stevia before drinking but honestly, once you are used to the taste, I bet you find you won’t need added sweetener to drink this wonderful tonic. Enjoy!
1. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects
2. Curcumin: From ancient medicine to current clinical trials
3. Discovery of the curcumin metabolic pathway involving a unique enzyme in an intestinal microorganism
4. Study on enhanced absorption of phenolic compounds of Lactobacillus-fermented turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.) beverages in rats
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