If you’ve visited a hipster health food café lately, or even scrolled through Instagrams popular feeds, you would have inevitably come across beautiful images of a Turmeric latte. These warming little cups of non-caffeinated gold are served using various aliases (from mylks to elixirs), but all pack the same hefty claims. While the taste can be polarizing for patrons, with some absolutely loving it, and some having a hard time overcoming Turmeric’s bitter bite, Fermentanicals founder, Jayta Szpitalak answers the question – are they actually good for you?
image via pinterest
Before answering the question, it must be stated that without a doubt, there are countless scientific journals and research that prove Turmeric to be the super herb people revere it to be because of it’s amazing antioxidant called curcumin as well as many of the other 300 compounds Turmeric is comprised of. From fighting off inflammation, staving off cancer, and working better than anti-depressants, the herb sure does have some miraculous properties. Heck, in Okinawa Japan, they even use a fermented powder version of Turmeric to prevent hangovers due to its liver detoxifying properties – and that population has the highest percentage of centenarians in the world, so they must know something we don’t know!
Here’s the catch though: Turmeric is an incredibly hard herb for your body to digest. With such a low bioavailability, science has unearthed strategies around increasing the absorption of this miraculous root. Adding Turmeric to piperine (black pepper) makes it 2000% more bioavailable because the black pepper slows the metabolic rate by the liver. Additionally, aiding Turmeric’s absorption is combining it with healthy fats making it more soluble. Far superior to both of these methods however is taking Turmeric in its fermented form. Fermenting turmeric further enhances the levels of the curcumin, increasing its bioavailability, or ability to be absorbed by the body. Studies back this up, indicating that fermented turmeric is the most effective form for the body, considering its high digestibility. During digestion, curcumin transforms into different metabolites, and these transformed metabolites are more easily absorbed by the body, over the whole curcumin molecule. The fermentation essentially pre-digests the compounds of curcumin for easy absorption into the bloodstream.
So, back to the question – are these cups of liquid gold doing anything for you? Due to the incredible benefits of Turmeric in general, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Especially if the concoction is used with one of the additional ingredients from above that enhance the bioavailability of the elixir. However, the amount of Turmeric you actually get from one serve of a golden latte is certainly not a meaningful dose of the herb to have a functional or therapeutic benefit. Additionally, some of the phytonutrients may be lost during the heating process. Lastly, to make the drink more palatable, there is definitely an addition of honey, stevia, sugar, or maple syrup, so if you are trying to keep your sugar intake at bay, these drinks are not helping.
All in all, if you love your Turmeric latte’s, then knock yourself out, the additional ingestion of Turmeric will definitely benefit you, but not in a therapeutic way. Just make sure you know the ingredients in your latte and inquire to see if you can sub out the normal Turmeric powder for a Fermented Turmeric powder. However if can’t muster the flavour, but were knocking it back just to gain from the myriad of benefits that Turmeric has to offer, than perhaps taking Turmeric in another form, such as in a capsule, may be of more benefit to you.