The Surprising Secret To Making Your Turmeric A More Powerful Inflammation Fighter

Photo: @knape

While turmeric tonics, lattes, and even smoothies should have a place on anyone's anti-inflammatory recipe roster, there's a surprisingly underutilized way to truly unlock turmeric's mega-power: fermentation. Studies show that fermenting turmeric makes it more bioavailable than simply eating it powdered, meaning it's that much more easily utilized by your body to enact its healing powers.

While it's hard to come by straight-up fermented turmeric root at most grocery stores, as sauerkraut has gained notoriety, companies have been playing around with different ingredient and flavor options, including turmeric (Hawthorne Valley makes a turmeric sauerkraut that's earthy, tangy, and utterly addictive). Can't get your hands on some turmeric kraut? No problem. Simply open any jar of live, raw sauerkraut and stir in a heaping teaspoon of powdered or grated fresh turmeric (make sure it's organic, as certain pesticides can kill the good bacteria present in the ferment). Put the lid back on and consume over the next few weeks as normal; the bugs present in the sauerkraut will begin to do their work on the added turmeric, allowing you to experience its bonus benefits.

If you feel like getting crafty in the kitchen, making your own ferments is a great way to make sure you always have good-for-your-gut foods on hand—and it's surprisingly easy. Here's how to do it yourself.

Golden Sauerkraut Recipe

Photo: Martí Sans

Ingredients

  • ½ head organic cabbage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon powdered or fresh grated organic ginger
  • 1 teaspoon powdered or fresh grated organic turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • Optional: grated carrots, other spices like fennel, caraway, black pepper

Method

  1. Mix together all ingredients, using your hands to massage cabbage until it begins releasing its juices and getting quite mushy (if it's not getting mushy, feel free to add more salt).
  2. Pack the cabbage tightly into a large glass jar; the juices from the cabbage should completely cover the solid parts. Seal with an airtight lid.
  3. Leave to ferment at room temperature for about 3 weeks, tasting every week until it gets quite spicy, sour, and acidic. If mold forms, throw batch away and start again. When it's reached a perfect flavor, move jar to fridge and store for up to 6 months.

This is the easy weeknight dinner a gut doctor recommends; plus, eight foods an inflammation expert won't touch.

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