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Eat more curcumin! Curcumin (which comes from turmeric root) garners attention for its many healthful effects. Dubbed the “Solid Gold” of India, curcumin is a top choice among many supplemental supports I may choose in my pediatric nutrition practice.

Most kids in my nutrition practice have chronic inflammatory conditions: Asthma, eczema, mast cell activation syndrome, autoimmune problems, inflammatory bowel conditions like EoE or Crohn’s disease, or food allergies. One of curcumin’s standout properties is that it is a potent anti-inflammatory, so it helps my patients with these conditions. It also has broad anti-microbial action, and can kill some bacteria, viruses, molds, and even cancer cells. It became a darling of the autism community years ago when it emerged as a key player in nutrition protocols for kids on the spectrum. This animal study is among several that show curcumin capable of reducing oxidative stress and autism features. Curcumin also reduced repetitive, obsessive behaviors. Oxidative stress – a problem frequently found in children with autism – is the target of many natural therapeutics useful in autism, and curcumin is a standout. It boosts glutathione levels in the body, a powerful antioxidant that our own cells make to protect against toxins and infections. Glutathione itself shows benefits for autism features as well. And, it is an excellent source of iron, zinc, and manganese.

How do you eat more curcumin when you can’t swallow pills? Swallowing pills is a non-starter for many kids in my practice.  Opening capsules and pouring the contents in to food or liquids can be a failure too, when kids are sensitive or picky about tastes and textures. There are now powders, gummies, and liquids available that kids can eat directly, without blending into other foods. For kid-friendly curcumin options, set up your own access to my FullScript dispensary and check out the Curcumin Collection, where I’ve placed four options to use curcumin easily in kids: A sugar free gummy, a liquid, a chai powder, and of course capsules for older kids. 200-400 mg twice daily is a modest dose.

Supplements are great, but kids can eat more curcumin just by using the fresh peeled root. Fresh turmeric root is in your produce section near ginger root or fresh garlic bulbs. It has a bright, floral flavor and a deep orange color (that can stain just about anything, so be careful with handling it). The root is softer and less stringy than fresh ginger root, which makes it easy to add to smoothies. Eat more curcumin by dropping an inch or so of peeled fresh root in your kids’ favorite homemade fruit smoothies. It tastes great with frozen mango, cantaloupe, juiced carrots, oranges, raspberries, or fresh banana. I like adding some canned coconut milk, some honey, and a dash of salt. Add water to get the consistency you like, and add collagen for a protein boost. Enjoy right away or freeze into popsicle molds. About two inches of root will yield about 500 mg of curcumin.

Kids can also eat more curcumin when you add turmeric spice to your recipes. If you’re using turmeric powder to get curcumin’s antioxidant benefits, you’ll need to eat somewhere in the range of 1-2 tablespoons of turmeric daily. Powdered turmeric spice has about 3% curcumin in it by weight. To reach a beneficial dosing range for curcumin (400 mg or higher daily), eat powdered turmeric by the tablespoon! Curry powders, which are spice blends that contain turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and other spices, don’t deliver as much curcumin – but that’s no reason to pass on curry dishes, which are just plain delicious with loads of nutritional benefits. Add plain turmeric powder generously to any curry dish to boost curcumin in it.

Fresh turmeric, powdered or raw, has a fruity essence that pairs well with unexpected flavors. Here’s a few ideas – and if you need help purchasing supplement items mentioned in this blog, contact me.

Tumeric Raspberry Salad Dressing: Whisk with a fork or immersion blender, makes enough for 2-3 salads:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric powder or 1/2 inch minced, peeled fresh root
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (cherry wood aged balsamic vinegar is really good here)
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry preserves

 

Cocoa Turmeric Power Packed Smoothie: Place all ingredients in a blender, blend til smooth, adding liquid as needed.

Odd bedfellows merge to make a rich, fruity-chocolate flavor

Odd bedfellows merge to make a rich, fruity-chocolate flavor

  • 1/2 cup crushed ice
  • 6 oz unsweetened organic almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame tahini or nut butter of choice
  • 1 scoop your favorite collagen or protein boost
  • 1 scoop organic grass fed whey powder such as ImmunoPro
  • 2 Tablespoons turmeric powder or 1 inch peeled fresh root
  • 2 Tablespoons organic unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon organic flax meal
  • dash organic stevia powder or 1/2 teaspoon raw honey

 

Mild Thai Red Curry Sauce Over Salmon: This recipe is adapted from At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip To The Beach. Prepare this sauce while your fish is baking, and enjoy with wild caught (not farmed) salmon, ahi, haddock or any firm fish. Rinse the salmon and lay it on aluminum foil on a baking sheet, skin side down. Pour the sauce over the salmon. Bake at 400 degrees for 9-15 minutes (depending on size and thickness of the fish) til just flaking but not dry. Remove from oven and wrap the foil to enclose the fish lightly. Let it rest for 2-5 minutes and serve.

  • 1 TBSP coconut or olive oil
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (best if it’s your homemade stuff, or use organic full fat broth)
  • 1 can unsweetened canned organic full fat coconut milk (not So Delicious coconut milk in carton)
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten free tomato puree
  • 1 Tablespoon Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons turmeric powder or 2 inches peeled minced root
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon peeled minced ginger root
  • 1 teaspoons gluten free tamari sauce

Heat the oils gently and add garlic and ginger, cooking x 1 minute. Add the turmeric, cumin, curry powder, curry paste, and paprika. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes.

Raise the heat to medium and add the tomato puree, tamari, coconut sugar, coconut milk, and chicken broth, whisking well after each addition. Cool for about 10 minutes, stirring often – don’t let it boil. When edges are gently bubbling, pour over fish and bake.

With balsamic and ghee glazed beets and cauli-cilantro "rice"

With balsamic and ghee glazed beets and cauli-cilantro “rice”

However you decide to eat more curcumin, you can boost health and reduce inflammation and toxicity with this helpful food. Enjoy!