It wouldn't be an exaggeration to call turmeric the king of spices. Golden as sunshine, this Indian spice has been making rounds on the internet for the past few years, and the health benefits it offers are unarguable.
You may see people adding turmeric to literally anything. It is in skincare products, lattes, and in everyday meals. Modern medicine has really seemed to have done well in unraveling the wonders of turmeric which seems to have existed for centuries without much previous recognition.
But recently, something unique has emerged in the market. Something that's slightly different than conventional turmeric but carrying double the benefits of the original strain. Yes, it's fermented turmeric that we are talking about.
If you are not aware of this new concept, don't worry. This article will help you learn about what fermented turmeric is and how it's different from regular turmeric. As a bonus, you will get to know about some amazing fermented turmeric benefits, too! So, let's get started.
What is Fermented Turmeric?
There is always a lot of talk about the best natural ways to keep your immune system healthy and strong. And if you notice carefully, you will always find turmeric as a part of this discussion. And rightly so; this natural spice holds some really amazing health benefits. (1) With the same goal in mind, experts have recently coined an innovative idea to make better use of turmeric: ferment it.
But the question remains, why ferment it when it is already so healthy for your body?
To understand this, let's talk a little more about the regular turmeric first.
Turmeric owes all of its amazing properties to curcumin: its active ingredient. It is curcumin that helps turmeric reduce inflammation, neutralize allergens, and support digestion. It is also thanks to curcumin that turmeric possesses antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties too. (2)
Unfortunately, multiple studies have shown that turmeric is not that well absorbed by the human body, especially in sick people. What it means that your body is not able to fully absorb and utilize the curcumin and other curcuminoids present in turmeric. (3) So, you may not be able to get all the health benefits of turmeric if you consume it in raw form. So experts came up with a solution to overcome this problem: ferment it. Fermentation of turmeric not only enhances the antioxidant effect of turmeric but also increases the concentration of curcuminoids by several folds. Additionally, it also helps overcome its bitter flavor, making it easier to consume.
Turmeric can be easily fermented in both dried and fresh forms. This fermented concentrate can later be used to make several tonics and teas that are discussed in later sections of this article.
Fermented Turmeric Health Benefits
Wondering how fermented turmeric can support your body? Let's find out.
It Regulates Your Blood Sugar
Fermented turmeric can help regulate your blood sugar and improve your glucose tolerance to combat high sugar issues. Curcumin, its active ingredient also helps control any sugar imbalances by controlling certain hormones.
Looks like a real treat for the diabetics!
It Makes Digestion Easy For You
Fermented turmeric can help your gallbladder make more bile. With more bile in the system, your gut automatically becomes more efficient and helps digest food faster. In addition to this, consuming fermented turmeric can also help get rid of gas and bloating.
It Is Packed With Antioxidants
Another reason to try out fermented turmeric is it is an extremely rich source of antioxidants. (4) Wait, but what are antioxidants?
These are certain compounds that fight free radicals that may otherwise damage your body. So to put it simply, antioxidants help save the body from unwanted damage. So the more we consume these antioxidants in our diet, the better. And what's a better source of antioxidants than fermented turmeric?
The rich antioxidant composition of fermented turmeric also helps with certain skin conditions like psoriasis. What's more, it can calm down your skin's pores and speed up the process of wound healing, too.
It Is An Immunity Booster
Lipopolysaccharide, found abundantly in turmeric, is a strong immunity boosting agent. It can actively prevent you from different kinds of viruses, bacteria, and common diseases like cold and flu.
It Is An Amazing Detoxifier
Fermented turmeric is said to greatly improve the function of the liver. (5,6) If you don't already know, the liver is the primary site of detoxification within the human body. It helps excrete fatal toxins that may enter the body via food or the environment.
In addition to this, fermented turmeric also helps the liver avoid sugar imbalances and aids in the storage and conversion of nutrients from the food you eat.
Fermented Turmeric Vs. Turmeric: What's the difference?
And now for the most interesting part: how is fermented turmeric different from regular turmeric? Understanding this aspect is going to help you decide whether you wish to try out the fermented turmeric or just miss out on it completely.
We will make comparisons between the two forms of turmeric-based on several factors discussed below.
When you ferment turmeric, it greatly increases its bioavailability. This usually happens in two ways. First, fermentation makes all the key nutrients in turmeric much more water-soluble, and as a result, they are much better absorbed in the body. Second, fermentation also converts these nutrients into an activated form that your body can easily use. Additionally, fermented varieties of turmeric are less spicy more tolerable so your body is able to handle and process it much easier.
More Active Ingredients
Fermented turmeric actively increases the quantities of all active ingredients in its composition.(7) Research has also revealed that fermentation directly acts on curcumin, the active compound of turmeric, converting it into another chemical call tetrahydrocurcumin.
Tetrahydrocurcumin is an activated ingredient with higher water solubility and better antioxidant effects as compared to curcumin. What this means is that fermenting turmeric is not only going to increase the amounts of its active ingredients but also make them more powerful.
The process of fermentation requires the addition of different microorganisms in turmeric. This converts turmeric into a potentially living matrix that has a rich composition full of beneficial microflora and enzymes that keep supporting your gut health for longer durations of time.
Different Ways to Try Fermented Turmeric
Not sure how to make and consume fermented turmeric? Here are some ideas for you to try:
Mix it with Sauerkraut
Got some homemade sauerkraut in your fridge? Time to finally use it. Add some turmeric to it and watch how it ferments. You can also use kimchi in place of sauerkraut for the same results.
Mix it with Kombucha
You can also consider mixing some fresh slices of turmeric with kombucha and let it stay on your counter for two days. Allow the bacteria, enzymes, and acids to do the job, and in the end, you have your fermented turmeric ready to be consumed.
Make a Fermented Tea Base
To make your life much easier, you can use turmeric to make a fermented tea base for long-term usage. Mentioned below is an easy recipe to make this base.
What You Need
- Half a cup of fresh turmeric
- Two tablespoons of lemon juice
- Two tablespoons of raw honey
- Half a teaspoon of lemon zest
Finely grate fresh turmeric and put it in a pint jar. Then, add some lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey and stir properly. Cover the lid and let it stay for a few hours. After some time, remove the lid and mix it again in order to blend all the ingredients. You can also test it a bit to witness the fermentation process going on.
Loosely cover the jar with its lid and let it rest for 48 hours. When it's ready, the taste may be a bit bitter and tangy and the consistency will be like that of a marmalade. If stored properly, this fermented tea base can be refrigerated for a couple of months and you can use it to make toner or tea, as per your preference.
To make a tonic or a tea using this base, all you need to do is put some of it in a strainer and allow it to steep for a few minutes. Use hot water for this purpose instead of boiling water as the latter can kill the living enzymes in its composition.
Summing It All Up
We can all agree on the fact that turmeric is a gift of Mother Nature to mankind. This all-natural, golden powder holds magical properties that can improve our health in so many amazing and unbelievable ways. And now, thanks to modern science, we have a method to rev up its health benefits even more, and through a process as simple as fermentation.
So if you are a fan of turmeric and wish to double the benefits of this God-gifted spice, ferment it!