Turmeric Buttercup Squash Soup with Sautéed Kale & Beet Greens

The main active ingredient in turmeric, the one responsible for both its gorgeous golden colour and most of its impressive health benefits, is called curcumin.

Curcumin is nutritional “gold” - it really enhances and protects the health of both body and brain. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancerous compound. Studies are proving that curcumin can improve your mood, help alleviate the effects of stress and anxiety, and protect your brain against both aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

Curcumin nourishes and protects the brain in a variety of ways.

It increases two key neurotransmitters - serotonin and dopamine - both of which are mood affectors.

It’s a potent antioxidant that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier to protect brain cells from free radical damage.

It can improve memory and concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain.

Curcumin also increases the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that stimulates the creation of new brain cells.

New research shows that curcumin enhances DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) synthesis and elevates its level in the brain. DHA is an omega-3 essential fatty acid that’s a fundamental building block of the brain. DHA deficiency is implicated in mental health and neurological disorders including depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s.

Curcumin has been known for more than 5000 years to be a powerful anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation of the brain shuts down energy production in brain cells, causing mental fatigue and slowing down the firing of neurons. This slowed energy production can lead to mood disorders, brain fog, ADHD, and memory loss, as well as neurological disease.

This soup is LOADED with turmeric (and hence, curcumin).

Curcumin is more bio-available when consumed with fat, so full-fat coconut milk is used to thicken the soup. Coconut milk is full of medium-chain triglycerides, which go straight from the digestive tract to the liver, where they are EASILY used as an energy source (instead of being stored as, well, fat).

The soup is topped with some sautéed kale and beet greens. DELICIOUS and...because of that coconut fat, all the vitamins in them will be absorbed. Double win.

Ingredients:

1 large (3lb) buttercup squash (butternut or 2 acorns would work as well)

4 Tbsp ghee, divided

1 large onion, diced

3 stalks of celery, finely chopped

1.75 liters water

2 - 4 Tbsp ground turmeric

fine Himalayan sea salt and pepper, to taste

1 can coconut milk

1 1/2 cups finely sliced dinosaur kale(spines removed)

1 1/2 cups finely sliced beet greens(stems removed)

1 green onion, sliced

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half and wrap each half, seperately, in foil. Roast in the hot oven until very tender (fork slides through easily). Remove from oven and set aside to cool. When cool, unwrap, scoop out the seeds(toss) and then the flesh(keep - put into a bowl). Discard the skins.

In a large stock pot, heat 2 Tbsp ghee over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent. Add the water, squash, 2 Tbsp turmeric, and 1 tsp salt. Stir in coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree with hand blender. Test for salt and add pepper to taste. If you wish to add more turmeric, do so gradually, making sure to keep the soup very hot while doing so. Set aside, covered to keep warm, while preparing greens.

Set a large sautee pan over medium heat. Add remaining 2 Tbsp ghee. When ghee is hot, add the greens and green onion. Sauté, just  until the greens are wilted. Salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with sautéed greens.

- serves 10