Healthy Wonderspice – Turmeric
Turmeric is a delicious spice frequently used in Indian and other asian cuisines. It lends a beautiful and distinct earthy yellow color to food (careful- it can stain clothes and plastic cookware). You can spice up many dishes that can use an earthy, peppery flavor by adding a tablespoon or two of turmeric, or just try to find dishes to make that traditionally contain turmeric.
So what’s the big deal about turmeric? Summarizing from WHFoods page on Turmeric, it has been shown or believed to be effective for:
- anti-inflammatory- comparable to cortisone and ibuprofen
- inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s and ulcerative collitis
- cystic fibrosis
- cancer prevention
- inhibiting growth and metastases of existing cancer
- colon cancer prevention (with the help of onions)
- active prostate cancer (with the help of cauliflower)
- reduced risk of childhood leukemia
- improved liver function
- atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries)
- diabetic heart disease
- lowering cholesterol
- prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
Look at that list! It reads like the boogeymen of modern medicine! Amazingly, turmeric does all of this without toxic side-effects. It’s food. All you need to do is regularly add this inexpensive spice to your cooking.
Warning: People taking Coumadin (Warfarin) should avoid turmeric because it may interact with this drug possibly causing issues with bleeding or coagulation. Sadly, there are a lot of healthy foods must be careful of eating while on Coumadin- it’s a tricky drug to take safely. Add turmeric to that list.
The best place to buy turmeric is in Asian grocery stores. It is cheaper there, an available in large quantity packaging.
Maximize the health benefits of turmeric by combining it in your food with black pepper. The main chemical component of turmeric thought to cause all of these health benefits is “curcumin”. Unfortunately, by itself its bioavailability is poor because it gets rapidly broken down in the intestine and liver. However, a substance found in black pepper called “piperine” has been shown in humans to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%! Black pepper and turmeric taste great together, so I automatically add some black pepper in when we are cooking with turmeric.
To your health!
Jon-Erik Lido, L.Ac.
Balanced Being Acupuncture