Whilst we all search for good health and longevity, more and more of us are turning to “superfoods” for a little extra assistance. Whether it’s a berry from the Amazon, a seed from the Incas or a Peruvian root vegetable ground into powder, superfoods are popping up here, there and everywhere, offering us a whole host of health benefits it seems we just can’t live without. Whilst I am the world’s biggest advocate for healing with whole foods, I know that whilst the popular superfoods boast some incredible health benefits, they can be incredibly pricey. Don’t have the spare change to splurge just yet? What if I told you that you could boost your health with a number of superfoods you have already stocked in your pantry? Sounds to good to be true? This week I kick off a new segment called “Superfoods on a budget”. This will showcase a number of superfoods that will help boost good health whilst you keep your “arm and a leg” in tact 🙂
What is a superfood?
Whilst there is no legal definition, the general consensus is that “Superfoods” contain a very high level of nutrients and/or phytochemical content whilst still remaining relatively low in calories.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric, is a bright yellow spice that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent. The spice comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh.
Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavour and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry.
Turmeric is an excellent source of both iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fibre and potassium.
What are the health benefits?
India has long revered turmeric as “holy powder,” and has used it for centuries to treat wounds, infections, and other health problems. Modern research is now confirming many of its folklore claims, finding an astonishing array of antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibiotic, antiviral and other properties:
- The yellow or orange pigmentation of Turmeric, which is called curcumin is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- It has been known to help decrease muscle soreness after an intense workout.
- It also neutralizes free radicals which can lead to wrinkles, cellulite, and fatigue.
- Turmeric improves liver detoxification, so that pesticides and other environmental chemicals are safely removed from the body.
- Some research shows compounds in turmeric to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
- Turmeric may help promote a healthy immune system and healthy digestive system
- Helping you maintain cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range
Can Turmeric Fight Cancer?
According to Dr Mercola (drmercola.com), studies looking into this potential turmeric cancer-fighting link have found curcumin may:
- Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor, as well as inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells already existing
- Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
- Enhance liver function
- Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
- Prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth (known as anti-angiogenesis)
Dr Mercola also notes that to get the full benefits that curcumin has to offer, you will want to look for 100% organic turmeric root – available from all good organic retailers – to consume raw. For supplementation, you will want to look for a turmeric extract with at least 95 percent curcuminoids that contains only 100 percent certified organic ingredients.
If you are purchasing Turmeric powder, the formula should be organic and free from all fillers and additives to receive some of the above benefits.
How Can I Eat More Turmeric?
- An easy way to incorporate Turmeric into your diet during the winter months is my Spiced Turmeric Latte recipe.
- You could also try adding it to soups and stews like my Roasted Cauliflower & Turmeric Soup recipe.
- As a side dish: Toss some cauliflower in olive oil and turmeric. Roast for 30 minutes. Serve with lemon zest and coriander.
- For breakfast: Scramble two eggs in coconut oil over medium heat, add Kale and other green veg. Dust with sea salt and ground turmeric.
- Add some Turmeric & Ginger to your Green Smoothie each morning
- Molecular Orbital Basis for Yellow Curry Spice Curcumin’s Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. Link here
- Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) inhibits constitutive NF-kappaB activation, induces G1/S arrest, suppresses proliferation, and induces apoptosis in mantle cell lymphoma: Link Here
- Protective effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) extract on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats. Link here.
- Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. III. Curcumin inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis, and inhibits angiogenesis of LNCaP prostate cancer cells in vivo. Link here.
- Inhibitory effect of curcumin, a food spice from turmeric, on platelet- activating factor- and arachidonic acid-mediated platelet aggregation through inhibition of thromboxane formation and Ca2+ signal. Link here.
- Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. 1988. PMID:15220.