Turmeric is my favorite spice. It gives food a lovely color, taste and smell. Unlike so many strong spices, no matter how much turmeric I eat, I will not sweat turmeric 🙂
It contains compound called curcuminoids the most important of which is curcumin.
It is a powerful medicine that has long been used as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.
Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine… a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%
Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal
The curcumin in turmeric is a magical medicinal ingredient, it is:
Curcumin is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation at the molecular level. Its potency is compared to anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs… except without the side effects.
Curcumin happens to be a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure and also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
Food for the brain:
Curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier
It boosts levels of a hormone in the brain called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
It is known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. As we know, curcumin has beneficial effects on both
But one key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles called Amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques
Food for the heart:
Curcumin is known to improve the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels
It is well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors
Studies have shown that it can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (spread of cancer), as well as contributing to the death of cancerous cells
Multiple studies have shown that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumours in test animals.
There is some evidence that it may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system (like colorectal cancer).
A study in 60 depressed patients showed that curcumin was as effective as prozac in alleviating the symptoms of depression
There is some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Given that oxidation and inflammation are believed to play a role in aging, curcumin may have effects on aging
Besides curcumin, turmeric is rich in some other super nutrients such as:
|Turmeric, ground 2.00 tsp 4.40 grams
Calories: 16 GI: very low
|Nutrient||Amount||DRI/DV (%)||Nutrient Density||World’s Healthiest Foods Rating|
|vitamin B6||0.08 mg||5||5.4||good|
Cooking with turmeric is good for your food:
The moment you heat oil and add turmeric to it, it now becomes completely bio-available to you.
In a research study, where potatoes were dipped in turmeric and then fried in soybean oil, it was found that the oxidation of oil decreased markedly. Hence, it increases the thermostability of the oils.
The antioxidant properties of turmeric helped in preserving the polyunsaturated fatty acid structures while frying the marinated potatoes, thus making the process healthier.
In a number of researches, done on fatty foods like meat and chicken etc, marinating and cooking them with turmeric actually reduces the amount of lipid peroxidation and reduces the risk factors of occurrences of diseases in their consumption.
In fact, it has been shown that this property of turmeric increases with addition of black pepper to the preparation.
An exemplary research on an essential compound beta carotene (vitamin A) showed that turmeric enhanced its availability in the food. Beta carotene is an important nutrient that is found in vegetables like carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes etc.
It is important for healthy eyes and other organs and helps in preventing cancer, macular degeneration and some blood related disorders. It is extremely insoluble in water which is why it is not easily absorbed in the body with food.
Beta carotene is also quickly lost from the vegetables during heating.
The above mentioned study showed that adding antioxidant spices like turmeric to food while cooking not only helped reduce the loss of beta carotene while heating but also increased its accessibility in the gut for better absorption.
It similarly helps make other fat soluble (water insoluble) or lesser accessible nutrients such as iron and vitamins, more available.
Another similar study showed that turmeric might as well be used to preserve the vegetables with essential nutrients.
Simple preservation of vegetables like spinach and amaranths etc. by refrigeration, drying or blanching preserves them but destroys their nutritional content.
Turmeric can help preserve that nutritional content along with the original composure of the food during storage.