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Add Turmeric to Your Food


Exciting new research says that we should eat more turmeric, the yellow-orange spice used in Asian cooking and curries.

Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant dubbed “cure-cumin” by leading researcher Bharat Aggarwal of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He says new studies show that curcumin may help prevent and treat cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, pulmonary disease, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and arthritis.

One reason: Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, and inflammation is now regarded as an underlying contributor to many chronic diseases. Aggarwal also hasdiscovered that curcumin affects gene activity in ways that starve and kill cancer cells.

The National Cancer Institute is now funding human trials of curcumin related to the prevention and treatment of colon, pancreatic and rectal cancers. In addition, scientists at UCLA are testing curcumin on Alzheimer’s patients.

To get more: Commercial curry powders that contain turmeric have low and widely variable concentrations of curcumin, so it’s better to consume straight turmeric. You can add turmeric freely to many Asian, Indian and African dishes, such as rice, vegetables, chicken and fish curries, stir-frys, stews and casseroles.

It’s safe: Researchers say up to 12 grams of pure curcumin a day is non-toxic; one tablespoon of turmeric might contain up to 1/4 gram of curcumin.

Curcumin’s benefits
Biochem Pharmacol 2008, Feb. 15; 75:787-809
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2008 Jul 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Human trials at NCI

Amounts and safety

Nutr Cancer, 2006:55(2): 126-31

This EatSmart column is reprinted from USAWEEKEND Magazine and is copyrighted by Jean Carper. It cannot be reprinted without permission from Jean Carper.

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3 responses to “Add Turmeric to Your Food”

  1. […] Carper often wrote about the benefits of adding turmeric to your food, and this recipe once appeared as part of her EatSmart column in USA WEEKEND […]

  2. […] as a staple in the Indian diet, the curry spice turmeric and its powerful polyphenol derivative curcumin have rapidly gained attention as a potent […]