Hero Food: Turmeric

Hero Food: Turmeric

It’s what helps to give curries their orange colour and stains your fingers if you’re not careful!

I also recently discovered to my surprise that it comes from a plant which has really beautiful flowers (I’d always imagined it growing out of sight underground like a potato).

Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, has been used for centuries in Indian (Ayurvedic) and Chinese medicine for various diseases and health disorders,

and for good reason…

Scientific studies in recent decades show that turmeric has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal activities.

Inflamation plays a major role in every chronic disease including cancer, heart disease, arthritis and alzheimers, to name a few.

There is an powerful substance found in turmeric called curcumin which dramatically reduces inflammation which therefore makes it beneficial in helping to prevent and even treat illnesses.

It is also the curcumin that gives the spice its vibrant orange yellow colour.

Whilst curcumin is the most powerful compound in turmeric, the spice contains two dozen additional anti-inflammatory compounds making it a real superfood!

Curcumin has been shown to

  • Inhibit the growth of tumor cells in a variety of cancers
  • Boost levels of a brain hormone which increases the growth of new neutrons and fight various degenerative processes in the brain
  • Neutralise free radicals and stimulate the bodies own antioxidant enzymes
  • Improve insulin resistance in people with altered metabolic function
  • Reduce lipid oxidation (so using it in cooking is a great way to protect delicate fats and cholesterol)
  • Be as effective as some anti inflammatory drugs
  • Alleviate signs of depression
  • Help to balance blood sugar levels

It’s bioavailability (the extent to which it can be put to use by the body) is fairly low but it increases dramatically when eaten with black pepper and fats.

If you want to get the benefits of curcumin then capsules are a great idea.

The best ones I’ve found are by Natural Stacks

These contain coconut oil and have been shown to be 10 times more bioavailable than fully standardised curcumin extract.

Taking a capsule each day is a super positive thing you can do for your health. I also use them as non-toxic painkiller alternative to ibuprofen for things like menstrual pains.

You can buy turmeric as a power or as fresh root which can be grated.

Here are some ideas for incorporating it in your diet;

  • Use in curries
  • Include in marinades for meat and fish, such as my fragrant citrus salmon
  • Add to soups
  • Add to the mix when you make bone broth
  • Make a hot drink with it such as this one from Dr Josh Axe  or simply brew some in boiled water with grated ginger and lemon juice

 

Stay well

Laura x

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