In our last blog post, 8 Fresh Foods to Boost Your Dog's Meals, we talked about some of the benefits of Golden Paste. We wanted to give Golden Paste its own post so we could dive deeper into the benefits of adding this ancient spice to your dog's diet! We've also got a video at the end of this post to show you how to make Golden Paste at home (spoiler alert: it's SUPER easy!).
A little history of turmeric
Before we had large pharmaceutical companies clamoring for our money, humans spent thousands of years using natural herbs and spices for food and medicine. Turmeric is one of those spices that's long been used for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. While inflammation itself is not necessarily bad (it does play a role in keeping yours and your dog's body healthy), chronic inflammation in your dog's digestive system can lead to food allergies and other diseases.
Turmeric is a rhizome, or root, that comes from the base of a plant of the ginger family. It's native to Southeast Asia, and the turmeric is boiled and dried, then ground into a powder that you can buy in grocery stores (or make yourself!). In addition to being used to treat inflammation, turmeric was also traditionally used to stain clothing a shade of yellow, so keep that in mind when handling it if that's not your intention.
Curcumin, a healthy compound in turmeric
Turmeric owes its many health benefits in large part to curcumin, a chemical compound in turmeric. You can also thank curcumin for that bright yellow color that your new t-shirt is now stained with. Thanks, Curcumin.
The challenge with curcumin is its poor bioavailability, which means it's not easily-absorbed by human or canine bodies. However, curcumin can be absorbed better when combining turmeric with a healthy fat (like coconut oil) and black pepper (piperine, an active ingredient in black pepper, helps increase the bioavailability of curcumin).
And this leads us to Doug English, the Australian vet who created the Golden Paste recipe below.
Doug English, an Australian vet, creates a Golden Paste for dogs
Having spent years researching the effects of turmeric on many different types of animals as well as humans, Doug English created a recipe for Golden Paste. It's not a canine-specific recipe, and can in fact be used for humans or other animals. This is essentially the recipe we followed in our latest Kono Cooks IGTV episode:
- 1/2 cup turmeric powder
- 1 cup water (we added maybe 1/4 cup more during the boiling process)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- Pour the turmeric powder and water into a pot (I'd recommend a pot, not a saucepan, to protect from splashes and yellow stains), bring it to a boil, and then simmer on Low until you get a paste-y texture. I added a bit more water as it was simmering so it wasn't too thick. It takes about 5-7 minutes to thicken up, and then remove from heat for about 10 minutes.
- After it's cooled down a bit, add in the coconut oil and freshly ground black pepper, then stir to mix it all together.
- That's it! So easy, and takes almost no time at all.
The amount I made was enough to add between 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon of Golden Paste to each of Kono's meals (I freeze his raw meals when I prep them) for 10 days, and I still have a lot leftover. If you're not using it right away, refrigerate for up to two weeks and freeze the rest.
If your dog's not a huge fan of the taste or smell, you can try adding a bit of cinnamon to the recipe!
Benefits of Golden Paste for dogs
There are many benefits of turmeric for dogs (and humans, don't forget!), though each dog may respond to it differently. Here are some of the benefits below*:
- May reduce joint pain and arthritis pain — chronic inflammation is a major cause of joint pain and arthritis, and the anti-inflammatory properties in curcumin can help to alleviate that pain.
- Can treat cancer naturally — this one's pretty crazy. A natural spice that can treat cancer? No wonder it's called Golden Paste. According to this article from the US National Library of Medicine, curcumin has been shown to not only inhibit the growth of tumor cells, but targets and kills cancer cells as well.
- Can improve digestive health — Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is when there's inflammation of the walls of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and more. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help to combat IBD and improve your dog's digestive health.
- Improves heart health — Curcumin has anticoagulant properties, or blood thinning properties, and can help decrease blood clots in the heart.
There are so many more benefits of turmeric that I've started to consider different ways to add it to my own diet (because of course I consider Kono's health before my own).
*talk to your vet first if your dog has any medical conditions to see how much, if any, turmeric you should add to your dog's diet
If you're more of a visual learner, check out Episode 3: Kono Cooks Golden Paste, to see how easy it is to make Golden Paste at home with just a few ingredients!
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