Tumeric, an ancient spice prized for its medicinal properties in both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, has an earthy, slightly bitter flavor and is sometimes called Indian saffron. Tumeric is found in Indian curry dishes and spice mixes. News of tumeric’s incredibly wide reaching and effective health benefits for men and women is coming to light in western culture thanks to an impressively large body of research conducted over the past 20 years in the U.S. and the U.K.
I was inspired to write this blog when study after study I read reported tumeric’s ability to out-perform many anti-inflammatory and tumor inhibiting drugs with no adverse side effects. I also knew that Indian men, who typically eat dishes everyday that include tumeric, have the lowest rates of prostate cancer in the world. Here is just a small sampling of research I reviewed to support the inclusion of tumeric in your diet.
“The beneficial effects of turmeric are traditionally achieved through dietary consumption, even at low levels, over long periods of time… The activities of turmeric include antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antioxidant, antiseptic, cardio protective, hepato-protective, nephro-protective, radio-protective and digestive activities. Phytochemical analysis of tumeric has revealed a large number of compounds including curcumin, volatile oil and curcuminoids, which have been found to have potent pharmacological properties." (Pasad S, Aggarwal BB. Tumeric, the Golden Spice: From Traditional Medicine to modern Medicine. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press, 2011. Chapter 13)
Impressive! So, let’s break that down and take a closer look: The compounds found in tumeric include curcumin (good source of B6, excellent source of iron and manganese) volatile oil and curcuminoids (8X more potent as an antioxidant than vitamin E or C in protecting your body from free radicals). Bonus: Tumeric works it's magic with normal "doses," meaning what you would add to meals. Here are some ideas:
Add ground tumeric to rice as it cooks, to stir-frys, to cauliflower, potatoes,lentils, garbanzo beans, as a spice rub on grilled, baked or broiled chicken, fish or tofu, in your eggs, in yogurt for a dip and of course, in Indian dishes. One teaspoon in your diet per day is a great place to start. The less time tumeric has on the heat, the more beneficial properties you will preserve.
Remember that the flavor profile of tumeric is slightly bitter, it pairs well with ginger, onions, coriander, red chili, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon and cilantro and will turn your foods yellow. Vegans love it to make tofu scrambled “eggs” with lots of veggies.
As a face mask to clarify and moisturize: Check out this great site, Healthmunsta for more tumeric face mask recipes and helpful hints.
Mix in a small bowl:
1 pinch, about ¼ tsp organic tumeric powder, 1 tsp. organic milk and 1 tsp raw honey
Keep hair off your face. Wash face with a gentle cleanser, rinse with warm water and pat dry. With fingertips and avoiding eyes, apply a thin coating of the tumeric mixture and let sit for 5-10 minutes or until dry. Rinse using a mild cleanser and cool water.
As a supplement: Look for a supplement produced by a certified organic manufacturer. The tumeric extract supplement should be comprised of at least 95% curcuminoids, should not contain fillers, additives or excipients (stabolizers), magnesium stearate, stearic acid or DCP and should come in vegetable capsules. Introduce tumeric supplements into your system using the lowest recommended dosage suggested on the label. For very few people, tumeric supplements can have digestive side effects. Start out slow and increase the dosage as your system adjusts.