THE BLOG
05/14/2014 11:09 am ET Updated Jul 14, 2014

Uncovering Hidden Secrets of an Ancient Spice

Do you believe in the healing power of traditional herbs and spices? That an ancient spice could help us cope with modern ailments?

Today the race is on to uncover the hidden benefits of turmeric, a spice that just might provide an alternative, drug-free approach to pain and inflammation, help lower blood sugar and help relieve depression.

The mellow flavor and bright color of turmeric are a highlight of cooking from India to Southeast Asia and beyond, and it is a key ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric's health benefits and distinctive yellow color come principally from curcumin.

Now a new study from leading universities in China examined how curcumin could provide antidepressant effects.

Research on turmeric and diabetes also looks promising. Scientists have demonstrated that turmeric in the diet may be helpful in decreasing blood sugar.

Traditional health uses of turmeric in India are to help wound healing and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Now researchers from The University of Nottingham and Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich have found that curcumin may help reduce inflammation associated with tendinitis.

Both turmeric and curcumin have shown potential to prevent DNA damage and help DNA repair. That is good news for preventing disease and slowing the aging process.

Turmeric is available as a powder in the spice section of the supermarket. Using turmeric is very easy, simply add a few shakes of turmeric to your favorite soups, chili, beans, vegetable dishes, or pasta sauce. It blends well into tomato-based sauces.

The anti-inflammatory and other benefits of turmeric outlined here are why I featured turmeric in the recipes of The Fat Resistance Diet. Here is a recipe from the book.

Vegetarian Curry

Here is an easy to make meal that highlights the powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients garlic, ginger and turmeric.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons ginger, minced
1 cup crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups cooked kidney or garbanzo beans
1 cup peas
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté for about five minutes on medium. Add crushed tomatoes, water, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, salt and black pepper, stirring to mix.

2. Add the cauliflower, beans and peas, stirring to coat with sauce. Cover pot and simmer for 7-8 minutes, until cauliflower is fork tender. Add parsley, stirring to combine, then serve over rice, quinoa, or millet. Serves four.

Now I'd like to hear from you:

Have you been cooking with turmeric or other spices?
Noticed any benefits?
Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
Wishing you Best Health,

Jonathan Galland

Jonathan Galland is a leader in integrated health education through his work with medical conferences, videos, books, and online media. He is CEO of pilladvised.com, a website dedicated to transforming health by presenting the wisdom of the world's leading integrated doctors. Jonathan is a passionate health writer who authored the recipes for The Fat Resistance Diet, which has been featured in Fitness, Self, Body and Soul, The Wall Street Journal and on The Dr. Oz Show. Get Healing Inspiration from Pill Advised in the free newsletter and healthy updates on Facebook.

References and Further Reading:

J Pain Res. 2013;6:201-5. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S42184. Epub 2013 Mar 8. "Comparative evaluation of the pain-relieving properties of a lecithinized formulation of curcumin, nimesulide, and acetaminophen."Di Pierro F1, Rapacioli G, Di Maio EA, Appendino G, Franceschi F, Togni S.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Sep;52(9):995-1004. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700184.
"Effect of curcumin supplementation on blood glucose, plasma insulin, and glucose homeostasis related enzyme activities in diabetic db/db mice." Seo KI1, Choi MS, Jung UJ, Kim HJ, Yeo J, Jeon SM, Lee MK.

FASEB J December 2013 27:4757-4767 "Diet-induced obesity, adipose inflammation, and metabolic dysfunction correlating with PAR2 expression are attenuated by PAR2 antagonism." Junxian Lim, Abishek Iyer, Ligong Liu, Jacky Y. Suen, Rink-Jan Lohman, Vernon Seow, Mei-Kwan Yau, Lindsay Brown, and David P. Fairlie.

Journal of Biological Chemistry. Published Online June 13, 2011. "Curcumin Modulates Nuclear Factor κB (NF-κB)-mediated Inflammation in Human Tenocytes in Vitro," Constanze Buhrmann, Ali Mobasheri, Franziska Busch, Constance Aldinger, Ralf Stahlmann, Azadeh Montaseri, and Mehdi Shakibaei

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Aug 1;13(1):202. "Effects of curcumin on glucose metabolism in the brains of rats subjected to chronic unpredictable stress: a 18 F-FDG micro-PET study."Lin Z, Shi L, Lu J, Li J, Hu H, Zuo C, Tang W, Lu Y, Bao A, Xu L.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:265-8.S "Traditional Indian spices and their health significance." Krishnaswamy K.National Institute of Nutrition , Taranaka, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75."Curcumin: the Indian solid gold." Aggarwal BB, Sundaram C, Malani N, Ichikawa H.Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

The Fat Resistance Diet: Unlock the Secret of the Hormone Leptin to: Eliminate Cravings, Supercharge Your Metabolism, Fight Inflammation, Lose Weight & Reprogram Your Body to Stay Thin Leo Galland, M.D., Broadway Books

This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine or the provision of health care diagnosis or treatment, (iii) or the creation of a physician--patient relationship. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.

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