Winning Combination: Turmeric and Omega-3 Foods
Sometimes eating certain nutrients together is more beneficial than eating them alone. Such is the case with turmeric and plant-based omega-3 fatty acid foods, as the spice boosts absorption of the healthful fat. In addition, eating turmeric with any type of omega-3 food might delay the onset or prevent type 2 diabetes.
After being used for centuries in India, turmeric now has scientific evidence supporting the traditional wisdom that has revered its medicinal properties. In fact, the results of research on its wellness benefits in recent years are so amazing that the spice has skyrocketed to superstar status in the natural health world. Here are the latest discoveries.
Turmeric Boosts Absorption of Omega-3s from Plant Foods
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish as well as in plant-based foods like flaxseeds, olive oil and walnuts. The problem with the plant sources is that the body doesn’t easily convert the fatty acids derived from them into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are the biologically active forms. Only about 5 percent is converted into EPA, and less than 1 percent is converted to DHA.
This is where turmeric comes to the rescue. A new study has confirmed that when the spice is eaten with plant-based omega-3 foods, the body absorbs approximately 50 percent more DHA. The finding is particularly important to vegetarians, as their diet doesn’t include the primary source of omega-3’s – fish, often leaving the vegetarian population deficient in this critical nutrient.
Eating Turmeric with Omega-3s Might Treat or Prevent Diabetes
Researchers in the U.K. are seeking 80 recruits to determine if the combination of curcumin, the healthful compound in turmeric, and omega-3 fatty acids will prevent type 2 diabetes. This duo was chosen because both the spice and the healthful fat are potent anti-inflammatory agents.
“The root cause of type 2 diabetes is systemic inflammation, which impacts insulin secretion and function,” said lead author Professor Manohar Garg, a scientist of Indian origin. “We want to nip the inflammation in the bud.”
Here again, the combination may prove more beneficial that consuming each singly. “The anti-inflammatory mechanisms surrounding curcumin and omega-3 fats are different, so we want to test if they complement each other and have treatment synergies beyond their individual effects,” Garg explained. “Our thinking is that the combination is safe, free of any side-effects and may prove to be as effective as drugs used for management of diabetes.”
How to Combine Turmeric and Plant-Based Omega-3 Foods in Your Diet
Plant sources of omega-3s include flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, beans, leafy greens, winter squash and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. One way of eating the winning combination is to sprinkle seeds over your salad and add turmeric to your salad dressing. You could also add turmeric to soups and smoothies featuring vegetables. A third way is to make an omega-rich vegetable curry, an Indian dish flavored with turmeric.
Mitra Shirmohammadi, registered holistic nutritionist and the founder of Nutriholist, shares this delicious recipe with Live in the Now.
Vegan Cashew Curry
- 1 cup dried chickpeas or 1 can chickpeas
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. cloves
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup vegetable stock or water
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup broccoli florets
- ½ cup cauliflower florets
- Cilantro to garnish
1. If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours. Then rinse, drain and add them to a pot. Cover with fresh filtered water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let it simmer until fully cooked (about an hour).
2. Add coconut oil to a large pot over medium heat. Throw in sliced onions and sauté until very tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
3. Add the spices and tomato paste, and then stir to combine. Pour in the chickpeas, coconut milk and vegetable stock or water, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
4. Add cauliflower, broccoli and cashews; and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.5. Remove from heat. Serve with brown rice and garnish with cilantro.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.