Written by: Beth Ricanati, MD
Spices are powerful health aids. One of my favorites is turmeric. I love turmeric. I love its’ bright golden yellow color. I love it in foods like curry, sautéed vegetables and in eggs. I love it because I know that turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory (great for my various aches and pains!). And I love that adding turmeric to your diet today can help your health…today.
Since the time of Hippocrates, we have known that food is medicine. More recently, an abundance of scientific research supports this idea. Not to mention that most of us feel better when we eat foods that are good for us! Turmeric falls into this category. Research – and there have been over 300 articles in the last 30 years – is now proving what holistic Indian practitioners have known for thousands of years. Turmeric is a powerhouse spice.
Why? Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory. Inflammation in our bodies causes many diseases. Diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis, to name a few. It stands to reason therefore that supplemental anti-inflammatories can help to treat and even prevent these diseases. While you can certainly take an anti-inflammatory medication, you can also incorporate anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. This is where turmeric plays an important role in your diet…and your overall health.
How? Curcumin prevents cellular oxidation. In other words, it blocks a molecule in us that turns on the ‘inflammatory cascade.’ By blocking this cascade, curcumin thus blocks inflammation on a cellular level.
What (form)? You can find turmeric now in most grocery stores, and in several different forms. Powdered turmeric is an easy way to add this spice to your food. This spice is found in the aisle with all the other spices. I like it in glass jars. You can also find the actual root in the produce section. It’s hard to grind, and I haven’t tried to yet! Regardless of whether you opt for the powder or root form, be sure to add in some black pepper. Black pepper has been shown to increase the bioavailability of turmeric.
I love adding turmeric and black pepper to my curries, any vegetables that I sauté and often to scrambled eggs.
What’s your favorite way to use a little bit of turmeric every day?
Beth Ricanati, MD, has built her career bringing wellness into everyday life, especially for busy moms juggling life and children. She trained and worked first at Columbia Presbyterian in New York City and then at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. At both hospitals, she practiced women’s health, and then most recently at the Cleveland Clinic worked as the founding medical director for Lifestyle180, a lifestyle modification program to treat chronic diseases with nutrition, exercise & stress management. As a result, she has a special interest in the intersection of food and medicine, and has not only modified her diet and that of her family’s as result, but also shifted the focus of her work. Since moving to California she has worked as a consultant and writer. Follow her on Instagram at @housecallsforwellness, and on her website at www.housecallsforwellness.com