Seeing turmeric everywhere recently? It’s popping up in some surprising places–from turmeric lattes at our favorite coffee shops to turmeric cake recipes, turmeric yogurt, turmeric mocktails, and it’s even trending as an ingredient for face masks! It might seem like just a fad, but turmeric is one health trend that is here to stay, and it has actually been here all along.
Turmeric has been used for over 4,000 years to nurture wellness, both inside and out.1 Ayurveda practitioners as early as 250 B.C. used turmeric for digestive support, and other cultures embraced it for liver health and skin benefits, adding it to foods, herbal teas, lotions and creams for centuries.1
So, putting turmeric paste on your face isn’t such a novel idea after all, and there are plenty of other uses for this golden paste, too. In fact, making it into a paste may also boost the internal benefits of turmeric.
Turmeric Paste Benefits
Turmeric offers a very long list of health-promoting benefits. That’s mostly because of an antioxidant compound called curcumin, which is one of three pigments in turmeric known as curcuminoids. Curcumin gives turmeric its bright color, as well as its potent wellness potential. Internally, turmeric is good for digestion and it may be particularly beneficial for cognitive health.1,2 It also supports cardiovascular and joint health, and it’s good for your skin when taken internally or applied externally.1
Digestive Support–Turmeric may provide multifaceted gastrointestinal support. It can help after eating spicy or fattening foods, and it may also help with gas and digestion, and calm muscle movements resulting from digestive issues. Turmeric also contains potassium and magnesium, which may help your body hydrate and regain balance after a bout of stomach upset.3
Antioxidant Support–Curcumin is a carotenoid with robust antioxidant activity, helping the body combat free radical damage and promoting cellular health amidst both environmental stressors and oxidative stress from everyday bodily processes.
Skin Benefits–The antioxidant effects of turmeric carry over to provide skin benefits as well, because the damage from oxidative stress is a major contributor to aging. Turmeric may also help support skin health and exfoliation, giving your skin a healthy glow when applied externally. It’s also used in some sunscreens and commercially available turmeric face creams.1
Mood, Memory and Attention–Recent research from the University of California (UCLA) revealed a positive impact of curcumin on cognitive health, including memory, attention and mood support in healthy, middle-aged or older adults.2 During the study, 40 adults that experienced memory lapses in the past took a highly absorbable form of curcumin known as Theracurmin® in 90 mg doses twice per day for 18 months. Study participants who took the curcumin supplements demonstrated a 28% improvement on memory tests, as well as improvements in mood and sustained attention.
The same type of curcumin supplement used in the study can be found in Swanson Ultra High Absorption Theracurmin®. This supplement is standardized to 27%, so you would need to take 3 capsules twice each day, for a total of 6 capsules per day, to reach the intake that resulted in the positive outcome of this study.
Why Make Turmeric Paste?
Traditional dishes combined turmeric with many ingredients, often including peppery spices and fats. That might have only been because it tasted better that way, but modern science tells us why that was a good idea. Curcumin is not easily absorbed by itself and it isn’t water-soluble. It needs to be combined with a type of fat or oil before it can be absorbed by your body.4 Adding black pepper may also give curcumin absorption a boost because of a compound in black pepper known as piperine, which may keep turmeric compounds from breaking down during digestion and allow the compounds to stay in the body longer.4
Sometimes, human intuition (or our taste buds) gets it right. Making turmeric into a golden paste makes a lot of sense because it is the perfect opportunity to combine turmeric with healthy fats, like coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, along with a little black pepper, so the curcumin in turmeric can be absorbed more efficiently by your body. It’s more concentrated that way, and turmeric paste is convenient to have on hand for mixing into dishes and drinks.
How to Make Turmeric Paste
Making turmeric paste is quick and simple. With just a few ingredients and a saucepan, you can whip up a batch in no time. You may want to make some minor adjustments to the liquids in the recipe below depending on the consistency you want and how you will use the paste, but this recipe will get you started.
TURMERIC PASTE RECIPE
This recipe is for turmeric paste that you can easily mix into food and drinks. If you want to make a turmeric face mask, check out the recipe near the end of this article.
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 1/2 cup of Organic Turmeric Root Powder
- 1/4 cup of a healthy fat or oil like virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
Add the water and turmeric to your saucepan and simmer on medium heat, frequently stirring until it’s the consistency of a paste. Then, add the fat or oil and black pepper, mixing well. You can add more water or turmeric powder if you want, to get the right consistency.
Turmeric paste stores easily in the fridge. You can keep it for up to two months as long as it’s in an airtight, glass container.
How Do You Use Turmeric Paste? Turmeric Paste Uses
Turmeric paste can be added to endless recipes and delicious concoctions. Add 1-2 teaspoons (or to taste) of turmeric paste to any food or beverage recipe that you’d like. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Golden Milk–Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric paste to a mug of warm milk to make a basic golden milk, a time-tested health tonic that is popular in many Asian countries.
Turmeric Lattes–Turmeric lattes are one of our favorite cold-weather turmeric treats. Try heating up half a cup of almond milk or coconut milk and adding 1 teaspoon of turmeric paste, 1 teaspoon of ginger, a dash of nutmeg, and your favorite sweetener to taste, like honey or raw sugar. You can also try adding vanilla extract and ground cinnamon. Experiment to see what you like best!
Turmeric in Soups–Mix anywhere from 1 teaspoon up to 1 tablespoon of turmeric paste (depending on your taste preferences) to your favorite soup recipes for a nutritional boost.
Turmeric Smoothies–1 teaspoon of turmeric paste is great in green smoothies, or try it mixed into a creamy yogurt and banana smoothie.
Turmeric Yogurt–Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric paste with a serving of plain, Greek Yogurt. Add some coconut extract, coconut flakes, cinnamon, chia seeds and fresh berries for a delicious and nutritious yogurt bowl.
Turmeric and Ginger Dressing–Mix 2 teaspoons of turmeric paste with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, plus 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of agave nectar (optional) for a tasty salad dressing.
Turmeric Mocktail–Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric paste to your favorite mocktail recipe. It pairs well with these flavors: pineapple, blood orange, ginger, papaya and vanilla.
Turmeric also pairs with nutmeg, curry, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and warming or peppery spices. Get creative and mix up your own turmeric recipes and share them in the comments below!
How Can I Use Turmeric on My Face?
While we all know that a healthy glow comes from within–from good nutrition and making time to take care of ourselves–but who doesn’t look for a quick fix now and then? Try this turmeric face mask to help you get your glow on. It has both calming and exfoliating properties. Just be sure to test it on a small area of skin first to make sure you don’t have a skin reaction. Also, turmeric can stain, so avoid contact with your clothes and surfaces or furnishings, plus it may leave yellow spots on your face that might take a few days to fade.
Turmeric Face Mask Recipe
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of raw honey
- 1/2 teaspoon yogurt
Mix the ingredients together in a small, glass container and apply to a freshly cleaned face, being careful not to get it in your eyes. Leave it on for about 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water. It may be easier to rinse off in the shower. You can repeat the face mask once or twice per week depending on your skin needs, so store any extra in the refrigerator for your next application.
The Benefits of Turmeric
Whether you drink it as a tea, take it as a turmeric supplement, add it to your favorite food and drink recipes, or make it into a paste, this golden spice has a lot to offer. Internally, it helps keep your digestive system happy, gives you a much-needed dose of antioxidant power, and it may even boost your memory, mood and attention span. And externally, it can help give your skin a healthy glow.
Also, read about more health trends for everyday wellness that we hope will stick around in More than a Trend: 5 Health Trend Pairs that Should Stay.
About Bushra Hassan, MBA, RD & LDN
Registered Dietitian & Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, Swanson Health
Bushra is an expert in supplement development, nutrition education, wellness coaching, and product brand management. Her work focuses on diet and nutrition, digestive health, and integrative and functional medicine. She enjoys baking, trying new restaurants, and exploring the beautiful city of Chicago.
1 Turmeric, the Golden Spice: National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/ (Accessed 3/05/2018)
2 Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S106474811730511 (Accessed 3/06/2018)
3 Turmeric for Health: 100 Amazing and Unexpected Uses for Turmeric. Britt Brandon https://books.google.com/books?id=5UvsDQAAQBAJ (Accessed 3/06/2018)
4 Is Turmeric Only Effective with Black Pepper? ConsumerLab.com. https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/is-turmeric-effective-only-when-combined-with-black-pepper/turmericblackpepper/ (Accessed 3/06/2018)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.