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  • Turmeric - How to cook it, drink it and make a DIY facemask

    As turmeric gets the superfood seal of approval - we look at the many ways you can get it in your life both inside and out for maximum benefits


    30 Aug 2017

    Like anything millennial, turmeric will soon be showing up on our Instagram feeds. The trendy spice has been making the rounds of health websites as the new charcoal – and the reasons why might surprise you.

    Starbucks/ Getty Images

    You can already get turmeric drinks in Pret and Clean and Lean, and now Starbucks is embracing the hype: on September 7 our everyday lattes will be getting a delicious orangey twist. The brand's new turmeric latte is on its way!

    Aside from being our new favourite hot drink and a key health and beauty ingredient (we'll teach you some amazing DIY turmeric hacks later), turmeric is actually great for your overall wellbeing. The root's benefits are recognised by modern medicine. In fact, they have been working their magic for centuries.

    Benefits of turmeric:

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    Similar to ginger, turmeric is primarily known for its antioxidant content and ability to work as an anti-inflammatory. But its benefits go far beyond that, so here's a few we think you should know:

    Boosts the immune system: According to a 2007 study published in the the Journal of Clinical Immunology, turmeric's curcumin can boost your immune system by combating bacteria, virus and microbes; combating the body's histamine responses (the cause of allergic reactions); improving hormonal balance and block the inflammation that can result in itchy eyes and clogged sinuses.

    Improves cardiac function: Turmeric's antioxidant effect on blood vessels can help prevent blood clots, improve blood circulation and reduce cholesterol – all extremely beneficial to the body's overall cardiac function.

    Controls sugar levels: The orange root can also be highly beneficial for managing the symptoms of diabetes, as regular intake can prevent spikes in insulin levels and its anti-inflammatory properties can help suppress glucose levels in your blood.

    Better brain function: The antioxidant content in turmeric can help boost memory and even prevent degenerative brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

    Relieves stress and anxiety: Turmeric has natural antidepressant properties that can help lift your mood. The curcumin found in the root is also proven to increase the production of serotonin and dopamine levels, thus helping relieve symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.

    Helps with weight loss: Not only is turmeric a belly-flattening food due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help you shed some stubborn pounds. The ingredient improves the metabolism, helping you lose weight faster.

    How to include turmeric in your diet:

    From the Starbucks latte, to tea, smoothies and even broths, there are several ways to include turmeric in your diet. But the most commonly known is definitely the 'Golden Milk'.

    The golden milk is a dense tea that mixes the beneficial properties of turmeric, ginger, black pepper and coconut oil in one cup of goodness – often used as a natural remedy for colds and general aches. Here's how to make it:

    What you'll need:

    • 1.5 cups non-dairy milk, like coconut or almond milk
    • 1 tsp turmeric powder, or 1 piece turmeric (1 inch) unpeeled and thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp cinnamon, or 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
    • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
    • 1 tsp of virgin coconut oil
    • Natural sweetener to taste: a tasty option is honey or maple syrup

    How to make it:

    Blend all ingredients in a saucepan, adding water if necessary. Gently simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes. Strain the turmeric and ginger through a fine mesh before drinking – you can also top it with some ground cinnamon.

    How to include turmeric in your routine:

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    More specifically your beauty routine! As we've mentioned before turmeric is a upcoming beauty ingredient; it can be used as a blemish-fading face mask, a teeth whitening paste and even to warm up your foundation. Here are a few cool hacks that we think you should know:

    DIY a glow-boosting face mask:

    Turmeric works wonders to turn dull-looking complexions healthy and glowy. There are many variations of the face mask online, but they usually contain the same base: 2 tbsps of flour (regular or rice), 1 tsp turmeric, 3 tbsps milk and a few drops of lemon juice or honey. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until the texture is something like a Lush mask, add more milk if you prefer a smoother application and exfoliation. (Use skimmed or no-fat milk if you have oily skin).

    DIY an all-natural acne treatment:

    If you suffer from acne or occasional breakouts, turmeric might be able to help. While its antioxidants slow down cell damage, its anti-inflammatory properties can calm inflammatory skin conditions, like acne, psoriasis and eczema. Use the same recipe of the glow-boosting face mask, but change the milk for natural yogurt, you can also add 2 tsps of sandalwood –its oil is commonly used to fight acne as well.

    DIY an exfoliating body scrub:

    Priyanka Chopra swears by this recipe, and boy is it good! We've tried and found ourselves obsessed with the results. So if you feel particularly sceptical of beauty diys, this one will convert you.

    Mix 1 cup of gram flour, 2 tablespoons of greek yogurt, a 2-3 teaspoons of sandalwood powder, 1-2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a few drops of lemon juice. Blend it all together in a bowl and add a little whole milk if you think your paste looks too thick to stick to your skin. Apply it all over the body and let it dry for 15 to 30 minutes. Scrub it off and shower normally.

    iStock

    DIY a lip scrub:

    There are many variations of this lip scrub which is great for sloughing off dead skin and evening out pigmentation. There's a simple recipe where you just mix 1 shallow tbsp of Vaseline with 1 tsp turmeric, but we think you should give this one a go when you have more time: Mix 1 tbsp of sugar, 2 tbsps of coconut oil, 2 tbsps of castor oil, 2 tbsps of beeswax and 3 tsps of turmeric powder. Apply onto lips and massage in circular motions to exfoliate; then rinse.

    DIY a makeup pigment bomb:

    Sounds odd but there are plenty of turmeric makeup hacks online. The yellow colour of the powder is ideal for those with (duh!) yellow or even warm complexion undertones. If you find your makeup too pink or cool, try adding a little turmeric to it.

    Pour a little foundation onto the back of your hand and sprinkle some turmeric on it. Mix, mix & mix some more, until the colour looks perfectly blended. Continue adding more of the spice, until achieving the desired shade. You can do the same hack with moisturisers, to give your skin an extra glow and even colour.

    DIY a teeth whitening paste:

    Much like charcoal, turmeric seems like the last thing you'd put in your mouth to get whiter teeth (hello?! it's bloody fluorescent yellow) – but it works greatly. Make a paste of 50% water, 50% turmeric, if it feel too thick to brush your teeth with feel free to add more water. Brush your teeth with the mixture for a good 2-3 minutes. Rise throughly.

    For a really super powerful formula try mixing 2 tbsps of coconut oil, 2 tsps of baking soda and 4 tbsps of turmeric powder. Proper pearly whites!

    More health & beauty hacks? We've got you...