Got olena?

Luckily, here on the big island we do. Olena, or turmeric, is most well known as being the bright orange spice in curry powder and many Indian dishes. In addition to its culinary uses, curcumin (the active constituent of turmeric) is used often in alternative medicine because of its impressive and clinically demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. The culinary applications of this salubrious spice are many; you can enjoy it as a root, powder, tea, and spice. Add the root or powder to a morning smoothie, or sprinkle the powder into scrambled eggs. You can make a marinade for chicken or fish using turmeric root or powder with miso, olive oil, garlic and lemon. Check out recipes for turmeric roasted cauliflower or turmeric roasted insert-your-favorite-veggie-here. And last but not least, everyone’s favorite: curry!

In the same family as turmeric and also ubiquitous on our island is ginger. In addition to its renowned anti-nausea property, it too has anti-inflammatory actions like its spicy sister turmeric. You can enjoy it as a fresh root, spice or powder, tea, pickled, or dried. Simply chop off a couple of inches of ginger root and let it steep in hot water for fresh ginger tea. Slice, grate, or mince the fresh root and add to tea, cooked dishes, sautéed veggies, stir-fries, or smoothies. You can’t go wrong and if you do, at least you won’t get an upset stomach.

This health tip brought to you by Dr. Kristina Roberts, a board certified naturopathic doctor practicing integrative and individualized primary care medicine at Lokahi Health Center in Kona. For more information, call 808-329-2114 or email [email protected]