Turmeric: The Super-Spice You’re Probably Not Eating
Inside your kitchen cabinet there are probably dozens of spices and herbs you should be using more liberally… and more often.
In fact, these flavor-boosters don’t just make your meals taste better… they can also dramatically increase the healing power of your foods.
Today I’m going to share one of most powerful superfood spices you should be shaking, blending and stirring into your meals to supercharge your health.
Turmeric: The Golden Spice for Head to Toe Protection
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its distinct yellow color. But the benefits of turmeric extend well beyond its ability to add a sunny hue and spicy kick to foods, thanks to a powerful compound called curcumin.
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Research shows that the effects of this phytonutrient are comparable to the steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like COX inhibitors) that people take for the pain and swelling associated with arthritis… but without the serious side-effects.
In fact, recent research published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism found that injections of turmeric almost completely eliminated joint swelling in rats that were bred to develop rheumatoid arthritis. In another study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin produced comparable benefits to the prescription phenylbutazone, including shortened duration of morning stiffness, increased walking time, and reduced joint swelling.
Sprinkle On This Cellular Cancer Shield
But curcumin doesn’t just reduce inflammation and free radical damage in the joints. It guards cells throughout the body too by preventing the mutations that can lead to cancer as well as destroying existing cancer cells.
Dr. Bharat Aggarwal of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center says:
Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch. Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells.
And not only does curcumin turn OFF the genes that promote cancer, but it also turns ON the genes that boost your body’s most powerful cancer-fighting agent – glutathione.
It’s no wonder that curcumin has been found to be protective against many types of cancer cells, including those of the prostate, colon, breast, lung and skin.
Guard Your Memory with the Golden Spice
Arguably the most impressive of turmeric’s capabilities lies in its unique ability to defend against dementia.
Scientists began investigating turmeric’s effects on the brain because Alzheimer’s rates are astoundingly low in India where curry is consumed frequently. Research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that curcumin actually helps to break up beta-amyloid plaques that damage the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Maximizing Turmeric’s Power
Because oxidative damage and inflammation are two key factors in most chronic diseases – from arthritis to Alzheimer’s – researchers believe curcumin is beneficial for a wide range of “age-related” conditions.
To get the most inflammation-fighting, cancer-preventive and neuron-protecting power out of turmeric, be sure to store it in a cool, dark place. And use or replace your supply every six months. When you do use turmeric, you can increase its power by doing these two things:
Combine with black pepper (Piper nigrum). A compound in pepper called piperine has been shown to boost turmeric’s power by 2,000%!
Enjoy with some oil or healthy fat. Because the active constituent of curcumin is lipid-soluble, eating it with foods that include fat will enhance the body’s absorption.
Here are some simple and delicious ways to get the benefits of turmeric in your everyday meals:
- Add to scrambled eggs and frittatas
- Mix into free-range chicken or egg salad
- Make a flavorful curry marinade for your grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, wild salmon or shrimp
- Make an Indian-spiced dressing (try avocado oil, turmeric, ginger, garlic and pepper) to drizzle over steamed veggies or use with stir-fries
Turmeric is one of the most healthful and bioactive foods known to man. Not only will it add flavor to your cooking, but, quite possibly, years to your life!