By Doctor Rosemarie Jabbour (Chiropractor)
In this blog post I want to cover the health benefits of turmeric. Is this spice really a super food or more of a food fad? The hyped health benefits of turmeric as a 'super food' are trending in today's media. Is there really any substance or science to the claims made by food bloggers and nutritional sales people? Also, to rev up your taste buds, I've include some tasty recipes featuring turmeric for you to try. Please feel free to leave comments below and to share this page with friends and family.
What is Turmeric?
It is a rhizome (root) of a plant closely related to ginger. It is a staple in many Asian dishes and has been used as a fabric dye. Medicinally, turmeric has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory agent and to treat a range of conditions.
Turmeric: What are the benefits?
Regarding its anti-inflammatory properties, Turmeric contains a compound known as Curcumin. This compound is used in the modern day pharmacological industry as it contains proven anti-inflammatory properties comparable to prescription medications.
What does the research say?
A breast cancer study noted that curcumin has several therapeutic benefits including inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. Curcumin was used in breast cancer research and scientists concluded that it may have a role in halting cancer cell proliferation.
Another study where turmeric was used as a topical agent in cancer therapy (an ethanol extract of turmeric) found it to provide pain relief in patients with external cancerous lesions.
Regarding the claims that turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory agent, there are six human trials that conclude turmeric demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties. The exact cause of this anti-inflammatory activity isn't known however it's hypothesised that the inhibition of certain molecules plays a role.
How do I use it?
Turmeric’s taste is slightly bitter, a lightly pungent aromatic. It is a valued addition to cakes for flavour and golden colour. Commonly added to fried fish, oysters, egg dishes, mayonnaise, stews, meat and rice dishes. Adds golden hue to drinks as well.
Easy Turmeric Recipes
Curries and Stews
Simply add a teaspoon or two of turmeric powder to any curry, soup or stew to enhance the aromas and to colour the dish golden.
Warm Turmeric Spiced Milk
This is a soothing, warm and semi-sweet milk drink that can help you sleep or you can drink it with different ingredients for different occasions.
Bring 2 cups milk to the boil, add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder. Whisk powder into milk and let simmer for around 10 minutes. Allow milk to cool slightly and enjoy warm.
Optional ingredients: add 1 tablespoon honey, cinnamon powder, vanilla pod, grated ginger (strain before drinking) and/or 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
You can make this milk as sweet or as spicy as you like.
This is a simple tea made from water, turmeric, honey, lemon and aromatic spices. This is a great drink during the cooler months and the colour is so rich and inviting.
Bring 2 cups water to the boil. Add peeled and minced ginger root, turmeric, cinnamon and sliced orange/lemon. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy as is, without milk, adding honey to taste.
You could pour a mug of this tea over a lemongrass tea bag for added flavour.
There is research and a variety of scientific studies supporting some of the claims about turmeric and it's health benefits. You can find turmeric in many popular dishes and recipes today and its easy to include this golden spice into your daily diet. Have you tried turmeric spiced milk yet? Feel free to leave your comments or questions in the box below. Do you like this page? Why not share it with your friends and family.
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Curcumin induces apoptosis of triple-negative breast cancer cells by inhibition of EGFR expression, Oct. 2012 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23023821
Turmeric and curcumin as topical agents in cancer therapy, Oct. 2012
Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa), Feb. 2013 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12676044