A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Searching for a Remedy.....Turmeric's Many Benefits

Have you ever tried a curry dish? Notice the yellow-orange color usually consistent across the whole dish? That’s from the turmeric in the curry powder used. Besides the color, turmeric has a lot to offer with its distinct flavor and nutritious qualities.

For those of you who read some of my first blog posts the beginning of this year, you might recall I was sick with a bad infection of the Staph known as MRSA while in Colorado. Well, turns out it is not completely out of my system and I’ve been having recurring “mini spells” of this infection. Not a fan of modern medicine, I like to seek out food alternatives to medicine as my first line of defense. The antibiotics given to us and injected in the food we eat have made it harder to fight bacterial infections since they are becoming resistant anyway.

It didn’t take too long to find turmeric noted as a useful spice to reduce or rid the body of this nasty bacteria. I am currently trying it out and will post an update in a few days; hopefully with good news!
Amongst the search results, I found a modest list of 20 turmeric benefits at this link:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it is shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Many natural herb, spice, and other food remedies can be found in capsule or liquid form usually in higher than normal doses. This can be good and bad, but I prefer to use the real food before taking it in pill form; it’s usually less expensive and more flavorful too!

Since turmeric is well-known as a curry ingredient, I will incorporate this wonder spice in a flavorful acorn squash recipe.

What you need (4 servings):

•2-1/2 pounds acorn squash (1 large or 2 small should be fine)

•1 medium red onion, chopped

•Cooking spray

•1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

•5 cloves garlic, chopped

•1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

•1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

•1/2 teaspoon turmeric

•1 teaspoon salt

•1 ground black pepper to taste

•1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock (water may be used if you don’t have broth/stock)

•1/2 cup lite coconut milk

What to do with it:

Peel, seed, and cut acorn squash into 1-1/2 inch pieces. Heat a 4 quart heavy non-stick sauce pan over moderately low heat until hot. Spray cooking spray to coat bottom and cook onion, stirring until just softened. Add mustard seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until they begin to pop, about 20 seconds.

Add garlic, cumin, coriander seeds, turmeric, salt, and black pepper and cook, stirring 30 seconds. Add squash, stirring to coat with seasoning, and add broth and coconut milk.

Boil mixture over moderately high heat, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Continue stirring until squash is just tender and liquid is evaporated, about 5 more minutes.

Serve with skinless turkey or chicken breast grilled to your liking for a satisfying meal.

When cooking with a new ingredient, it’s fun to search and try new recipes to see what you can create. The egg salad I posted about in the past can have all of the yolk removed and still retain the luscious yellow hue by adding a dash of turmeric to the mix. The spice will also give the egg salad and nice, unique flavor.

Another great use for turmeric is adding to any grains or legumes you are cooking like rice, quinoa, barley, chickpeas, and lentils. The resulting meal will present the distinct yellow tint and have an inimitable flavor you will learn to love!

Have you tried a new food as a result of searching for a natural remedy?

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