Friday, March 21, 2014

Turmeric, the Super Spice

My friend and colleague Kathy was kind enough to write this blog for me on fantastic turmeric:

Nourish yourself to health with Turmeric, the super spice.
By: Kathy FitzHenry founder

It’s bright yellow, a wee bit knobby and spends a considerable amount of time in the dark, but don’t let appearances fool you. Turmeric is one of nature’s greatest healers. Even better: it is easy to use, it is well tolerated by most, and it’s relatively inexpensive! All things considered, you might call it the shy hero of the spice world.

According to the US National Institute of Health-National Library of Medicine there are over 6,000 peer reviewed studies on the effects of curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric. It continues to fascinate the scientific community and has been found to be as effective as 14 drugs (*3) including:

Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication)
Antiosteroids (steroid medications)
Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine  (antidepressants)
Aspirin (blood thinner)
Anti-inflammatory Drugs
: aspirin, ibuprofen to celecoxib, and tamoxifen
Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug)

So what gives? How can one plant be so effective on some many levels?
A recent study by the American Chemical Society (*2) states that scientists
“Have discovered that curcumin molecules act like a biochemical disciplinarian.
They insert themselves into cell membranes and make the membranes more stable and orderly in a way that increase the cell’s resistance to infection by disease-causing microbes.”

In short, Turmeric has been proved in countless studies to:
Reduce Brain inflammation (Alzheimer fighter)
Reduce Heart inflammation (cardiovascular disease)
Reduce  Liver Inflammation (present serious liver disease)
Control Weight by inhibiting the production of blood vessels that support fat cells
Inhibit the growth of tumors
Fight Obesity related diseases
by regulating insulin resistance
Regulate type 2 diabetes
by modulating several cellular transducer pathways that contribute to the process.
Fight fat tissue formation by suppressing blood vessel needed to form fat cells.
(*Please see footnote 1 for sources of above info)

Now you know why Turmeric is called The Holy Powder in India.

So without further ado, let’s look at some ways to get Turmeric into your diet.

How to use it:  

1. Turmeric is fat soluble.
Yes, it will dissolve in water but it won’t get past the stomach. By dissolving Turmeric in dishes that contain fat like a vegetable sauté or yogurt, the fat will move the Turmeric from stomach to small intestine to the blood where it will offer you the most benefit.

2. How much to use? 
¼ -½ teaspoon per dish
Or as little as 1.5 grams to 8 grams a day.
The amount of Turmeric I use is dependent on the item I am cooking.
For a vegetable sauté, started with extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil, I will probably use
 ½ teaspoon along with other spices. 

3. Usage Tip: Combine with Black Pepper.
Pepperine the active agent in Black Pepper increases the bio-availabilty of
turmeric by 1000%. Plus it’s a delicious combo that is full of flavor as well as
additional health benefits, like pain relief.

4. Recipe Suggestions:
Sprinkle onto yogurt, serve with Brazil Nuts
Lunch: Sprinkle over half an avocado and add to your salad
Snack: Mix into coconut oil and add to your smoothie
Dinner: Make a curry and add just a little extra Turmeric, ( ¼-½ teaspoon)
Or try one of Juliet Mae’s Middle Eastern Rubs, like Spice Marrakesh
( Swiss Chard and Apples,
The blend is loaded with Turmeric and finished with Black Pepper.

Tea: Here are two ways to make Turmeric tea

Golden Tea: Make a paste of turmeric and warm water. Stir, then add
the paste to simmering milk and coconut oil. Heat and stir until well blended.

The Healthy Toddy: This is a variation of my mom’s old hot toddy recipe. Make a paste of about 1 tablespoon of honey, ½ - ¼ of powdered Turmeric, 1/8 teaspoon of powdered Ginger. Add almost boiled water to the paste and finish with a big squeeze of lemon and a few rasps of black pepper. Drink while hot. It’s soothing and super healthy!
As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to add a pinch of Turmeric to your cooking, but over time, it can be a wonderful contributor to your good health! 


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