Spice allies Spice allies

Turmeric and ginger are two roots said to provide various health benefits. Learn about consuming them properly.


Yaneth Bedoya, nutritionist
Carolina Toro, nutrition coach
JORGE MADRID, medical oncologist


If there is one ingredient, both common and unknown at the same time in Colombian cuisine, this could be turmeric. This root of Asian origin is said to have anti-inflammatory and purifying properties, making it a condiment that also provides color to dishes.

Carolina Toro, a nutrition coach focused on conscious eating, points out that this spice is appreciated around the world for its curcumin, the main component of this root, responsible for its color and flavor, that is present in our daily diet given that it is the base for foods such as butters, cheeses, canned foods, grains, and even in mustard.

However, in some cases, warns Toro, the food industry has transformed this ingredient, and many products that claim to have this base, especially in packaged spices or bases for soup, have replaced it with artificial coloring.

For this reason, the best recommendation for obtaining the benefits turmeric has to offer is by extracting its properties directly from the root, or acquiring the extract from trustworthy sources in order to ensure what you are consuming is natural and not a substitute.

Beware of trends

For all foods that become a trend, as with turmeric, specialists warn that you should be careful with your consumption. In 2017, researcher Michael Walters, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA made an extensive critical review of the studies done on curcumin, and he did not find enough scientific evidence that this substance is effective for the treatment of multiple illnesses, among them, cancer.

Jorge A. Madrid, director of the Faculty of Medicine’s oncology department at the University of Antioquia, is emphatic on this point. He warns about the “almost miraculous” properties attributed to this ingredient, and states that it is necessary to be cautious and take precautions, especially when consuming it without consulting with a specialist first.

The dose recommended by the FDA, agency which regulates food and medications in the United States, is 18 grams per day for an average person without any associated conditions. This is two tablespoons, and given that it is already in many foods, you need to be prudent with its use.

If you want to include it in your diet, “golden milk” can be a good option at night before you go to sleep. Using black pepper in its preparation is recommended, as curcumin is enhanced by piperine, a component of pepper, which allows for better nutrient absorption.•

Golden milk

Kcal: 86 / Fats: 8 g / Carbohydrates: 1 g


1/4 cup    Turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon   Ground pepper

1/2 cup     Water

You can add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or star anise to improve the taste.


– Add all the ingredients to a pot and stir to mix them completely.

– Heat on medium heat and stir constantly until you get a thick paste.

– Let the mixture cool and pour it into a glass container to refrigerate it. This is the base to prepare golden milk.

– Separately, in a cup of coconut or almond milk, add ¼ tablespoon of turmeric paste, and honey or stevia to sweeten.

– Heat the mixture, and with the help of the blender or mixer, process the mixture to make it foamier.

– Serve and enjoy.

Consuming ginger

Another food of Asian origin, which little by little has started to find its place in Colombian cuisine, is ginger. This root’s spicy smell and flavor is ideal for complementing your dishes.

Yaneth Bedoya, nutritionist, explains that it contains vitamin C and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, and it provides essential amino acids for the body. Also, this spice is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and benefits for the immune and respiratory systems.

There may be various presentations of ginger at the supermarket, but consuming it when it is fresh and natural is recommended. Also, the Mayo Clinic recognizes it as a diuretic, useful in controlling nausea for those who are prone to dizziness. You can peel the skin with a spoon.