Turmeric: The Super-Spice You're Probably Not Eating

Turmeric: The Super-Spice You’re Probably Not Eating

by Kelley Herring on February 4, 2014

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 Shieldturmeric

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


Sprinkle turmeric onto eggs, stir it into teas, soups, sauces and coconut milk curries for powerful protection.

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:

  1. Add to scrambled eggs and frittatas
  2. Mix into free-range chicken or egg salad
  3. Make a flavorful curry marinade for your grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, wild salmon or shrimp
  4. 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!

Antunes LMG, Araújo MCP, Darin JD`AC, Bianchi MdeLP. Effects of the antioxidants curcumin and vitamin C on cisplatin-induced clastogenesis in Wistar rat bone marrow cells. Mutat Res. 2000; 465:131-137. Arbiser JL, Klauber N, Rohan R, et al. Curcumin is an in vivo inhibitor of angiogenesis. Mol Med. 1998; 4:376-383.Chan MM-Y. Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor by curcumin, a phytochemical. Biochem Pharmacol. 1995; 49:1551-1556. Huang MT, Newmark HL, Fenkel K. Inhibitory effects of curcumin on tumorigenesis in mice. J Cell Biochem Suppl. 1997; 27:26-34. Kang BY, Song YJ, Kim KM, et al. Curcumin inhibits Th1 cytokine profile in CD4+ T cells by suppressing interleukin-12 production in macrophages. BR J Pharmacol. 1999:128:380-384. Kawamori T, Lubet R, Steele VE, et al. Chemopreventive effect of curcumin, a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agent, during the promotion/progression stages of colon cancer. Cancer Res. 1999; 59:597-601. Ramiré z-Tortosa MC, Mesa MD, Aguilera MC, et al. Oral administration of a turmeric extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis. 1999; 147:371-378. Tze-Pin Ng, Peak-Chiang Chiam, Theresa Lee, Hong-Choon Chua2, Leslie Lim and Ee-Heok Kua. Curry Consumption and Cognitive Function in the Elderly. American Journal of Epidemiology 2006 164(9):898-906. Journal of Biological Chemistry, online Dec. 7, 2004. Funk JL, Frye JB, Oyarzo JN, Kuscuoglu N, Wilson J, McCaffrey G, Stafford G, Chen G, Lantz RC, Jolad SD, Sólyom AM, Kiela PR, Timmermann BN. Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Nov;54(11):3452-64. Kakarala M, Brenner DE, Korkaya H, Cheng C, Tazi K, Ginestier C, Liu S, Dontu G, Wicha MS. Targeting breast stem cells with the cancer preventive compounds curcumin and piperine. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010 Aug;122(3):777-85. Epub 2009 Nov 7. Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6. Dickinson DA, Iles KE, Zhang H, Blank V, Forman HJ. Curcumin alters EpRE and AP-1 binding complexes and elevates glutamate-cysteine ligase gene expression. Faseb J. 2003;17(3):473-475. (PubMed) Zheng S, Yumei F, Chen A. De novo synthesis of glutathione is a prerequisite for curcumin to inhibit hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation. Free Radic Biol Med. 2007;43(3):444-453. (PubMed)

About The Author

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

Kelley Herring – who has written posts on Healing Gourmet.

About Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

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