Some Turmeric is Full of PESTICIDES AND RADIATION, Here’s HOW to Tell if Your Turmeric is SAFE

There is a plethora of articles online touting the potent health benefits of the ancient Ayurvedic spice, turmeric, and for good reason! The scientific literature has found that it is beneficial for everything from inflammation, to depression, to fat loss. However, rather than write another article on the health benefits of this vibrant spice, I wanted to share with you how to find the most high quality turmeric, tips for upping its absorption, and a delicious recipe for my special, healing Turmeric Latte.

We don’t often think about the importance of buying organic herbs and spices to fill up our kitchen cabinets, but if we’re looking to get the most bang for our buck when it comes to these medicinal foods we’re going to want to look for that symbol, for a couple of different reasons.

Often people think that the reason to buy organic is because the food is higher in nutrients or tastes better. But what is equally important when we’re choosing organics is what is not found in our food.

When we buy conventionally grown turmeric, it is often sprayed with various pesticides and non-organic fertilizers to increase crop yield. Much like the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen has found pesticide residues on our produce, this study shows that conventionally grown turmeric is contaminated by the pesticides with which it has been sprayed. If we’re looking to use our turmeric as a healing food, then we most certainly want to avoid the possibility of contamination with endocrine-disrupting pesticides.

Another reason we want to look at purchasing organic turmeric is because in Canada and the US most of conventional spices and herbs are irradiated using Cobalt-60 to extend shelf life and prevent spoilage.

Sayer Ji, of Green Med Info, states that the level of gamma radiation used starts at the equivalent to 2,500,000 chest x-rays or 166 times a human lethal dose and goes all the way up to the equivalent of 75,000,000 chest x-rays or 4,980 times a human lethal dose.

This is no small amount of radiation and in fact it destroys much of the vitamin and phytonutrient content in addition to creating toxic by-products such as formaldehyde (used to preserve dead bodies), benzene, and formic acid.

Finally, conventional spices and herbs often contain various preservatives, additives, or anti-caking agents, once again in order to preserve shelf-life. I believe that the foods we eat are either building our health or promoting disease and since these chemical additives are clearly not promoting my optimal health, they have no place in my spice cabinet. If you look at the ingredient list of your turmeric packet and there is more than one ingredient, put it down and walk away!

Now, how do we ensure we are buying the most nutrient dense, health promoting turmeric possible? Always buy organic! In order to be certified by a 3rd party they cannot be treated with conventional pesticides or irradiation, nor can they contain artificial colours, preservatives, or caking agents. Some of my favourite brands include Simply Organic and Frontier.

In terms of choosing between fresh or powdered turmeric, so long as you’re choosing organic I would say that preference depends on how you will be using it.