Turmeric has become the star of the spice rack, and it’s not because it has a great taste. This bright yellow spice holds so many health benefits that some call it the Indian solid gold. You might even be tempted to toss it into every single recipe! And while that will get the job done, enjoying turmeric on the daily doesn’t have to be repetitive. Switch things up by doing a 21-day turmeric challenge.
The idea is to eat turmeric in 21 different ways. It sounds challenging and impossible, but you’d be surprised at the versatility of this golden spice. By the end, you’ll be left with a long list of possible ways to eat turmeric.
Health Benefits Of Turmeric
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, gives the spice its distinct yellow color. It also offers antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, and anticancer properties, helping the body fight countless chronic diseases.1 For instance, by reducing inflammation, turmeric manages allergies and arthritis. Meanwhile, the anti-oxidative ability decreases “bad” LDL cholesterol and supports heart health.2
Worried about Alzheimer’s? Turmeric will inhibit the proteins involved in neurodegenerative disease. Plus, as a natural painkiller, menstrual cramps will take a backseat. Clearly, this spice is as good as gold.3 4
21 Days Of Turmeric
These ideas can be completed in any order. Feel free to experiment with ingredients and combinations! After 21 days, your body and mind will thank you.
Day 1: Citrus Tea
Don’t limit yourself to turmeric tea bags. Combine the spice with citrus for a healthy, fruity dose of vitamin C. Boil 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon turmeric, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Add the juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange. If you’d like, add a spoonful of honey.
Day 2: Homemade Mustard
Forget the bottled stuff. In a jar, mix ½ cup whole grain mustard seeds, ¾ cup water, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey. Add ¾ teaspoon turmeric powder to this mixture and stir. Apply liberally on sandwiches for a zesty kick.
Day 3: Yellow Rice
Instead of boxed yellow rice, use brown rice and turmeric. This recipe is gluten-free and packed with fiber and protein, two nutrients that increase satiety. Simply mix ½ teaspoon turmeric to 1 cup of brown rice. For extra flavor, add minced garlic and onion powder.
Day 4: Hummus
Upgrade your hummus dip with turmeric. In a food processor, combine 1 can of chickpeas, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon tahini, and ½ teaspoon turmeric. Add salt and pepper to taste. Eat with pita, veggies, or crackers.
Day 5: Quinoa
For even more protein, mix 1 cup cooked quinoa with ½ teaspoon turmeric powder. Top with pomegranate and walnuts for a crunch. Serve with fish, chicken, or as is.
Day 6: Sweet Potato Fries
Hold the salt! Turmeric offers nutritious, heart-healthy flavor. Cut sweet potatoes into strips and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle turmeric, black pepper, cayenne, and minced garlic and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until crisp.
Day 7: Turmeric Carrot Smoothie
A smoothie isn’t just for fruits. In a blender, combine 1 cup chopped apple, 1 large banana, ½ cup fresh carrot juice, 1 cup almond milk, and ¼ teaspoon powdered turmeric. Add a dash of ginger for a stronger kick.
Day 8: Cauliflower Bites
You’ve heard of cauliflower bites baked in Buffalo sauce, but what about turmeric? Make delicious finger food by chopping 1 large cauliflower. Toss in 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 teaspoon turmeric, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Mix with olive oil, sprinkle lemon juice, and bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Day 9: Energy Balls
When you’re in a rush, turmeric energy balls will save the day. In a food processor, mix 12 pitted Medjool dates, 1 cup rolled oats, ½ cup nuts, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon ground turmeric. Shape it into balls and cover with shredded coconut.
Day 10: Burger Patties
Sick of hummus? Enjoy chickpeas by making turmeric burgers. Combine 1 can mashed chickpeas, 1 egg, ½ cup almond flour, 2 teaspoon turmeric, and spices of your choice. Cook in a pan over medium heat and enjoy on a salad or sandwich.
Day 11: Omelet
Eggs can get boring if you eat them every morning. To spice them up, add a spoonful of turmeric to whipped eggs. Pack up the omelet with veggies for even more nutrition.
Day 12: Golden Milk
This trendy drink is perfect for those cold nights. Heat ½ cup water and add ¼ cup turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon of black powder, stirring until it forms a paste. Make golden milk by mixing ½ teaspoon paste in 1 cup warm milk.
Day 13: Vinegar Dressing
Store-bought salad dressing is notorious for its sodium, sugar, and calories. Make it at home with turmeric instead. To 1/3 cup olive or grapeseed oil, add 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon honey. Add 1 teaspoon turmeric plus your favorite spices.
Day 14: Coffee
Turmeric in coffee? Yes, it works. Upgrade your morning brew by adding ¼ teaspoon turmeric and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. It’s the best way to start the day with an antioxidant boost.
Day 15: Popcorn
Long gone are the days of buttery popcorn. Add 1 teaspoon turmeric and a dash of black pepper for a low-calorie, addictive flavor. Mix well. Take it up a notch with sea salt, garlic powder, and oregano.
Day 16: Pancakes
Pancakes aren’t just for berries and chocolate chips. To make a turmeric version, add ½ teaspoon ground turmeric to the pancake batter. It works well with a pinch of black pepper and cinnamon.
Day 17: Tuna Salad
When you’re in a rush, make tuna salad for lunch. Add ½ teaspoon turmeric before assembling a sandwich. Use light mayo or, even better, mashed avocado.
Day 18: Soup
On a cold wintry day, adding turmeric to a soup will bring a warm and cozy flavor. You can also boil vegetables in broth and add turmeric, ginger, and coriander. Blend in a food processor for an easy, simple soup.
Day 19: Lemonade
Like citrus tea, lemonade offers a stellar dose of immune-boosting vitamin C. Flavor it with turmeric by combining 2 tablespoons powdered turmeric, 4 tablespoons honey, and juice of 1 ½ lemons in 4 cups water. Serve cold.
Day 20: Kale Chips
When you’re craving a salty snack, make turmeric kale chips. Toss chopped kale leaves in olive oil and black pepper, turmeric, and nutritional yeast to taste. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until golden.
Day 21: Tofu Scramble
For a meat-free breakfast, sauté tofu with turmeric and veggies. You can even use it as a taco filling! Add quinoa or brown rice for healthy, wholesome grains.
How’s that for 21 days of delicious turmeric ideas? As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Turmeric pairs the best with black pepper, ginger, and cinnamon, but don’t be afraid to experiment.
|↑1||Aggarwal, Bharat B., Chitra Sundaram, Nikita Malani, and Haruyo Ichikawa. “Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.” In The molecular targets and therapeutic uses of curcumin in health and disease, pp. 1-75. Springer US, 2007.|
|↑2||Zdrojewicz, Z., M. Szyca, E. Popowicz, T. Michalik, and B. Śmieszniak. “Turmeric-not only spice.” Polski merkuriusz lekarski: organ Polskiego Towarzystwa Lekarskiego 42, no. 252 (2017): 227.|
|↑3||Mirmosayyeb, Omid, Amirpouya Tanhaei, Hamid R. Sohrabi, Ralph N. Martins, Mana Tanhaei, Mohammad Amin Najafi, Ali Safaei, and Rokhsareh Meamar. “Possible role of common spices as a preventive and therapeutic agent for Alzheimer’s disease.” International journal of preventive medicine 8 (2017).|
|↑4||Khayat, Samira, Hamed Fanaei, Masoomeh Kheirkhah, Zahra Behboodi Moghadam, Amir Kasaeian, and Mani Javadimehr. “Curcumin attenuates severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Complementary therapies in medicine 23, no. 3 (2015): 318-324.|