(OR Tumeric the Ancient Healer)
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Traditionally know as the “Indian Saffron” due to its deep yellow-orange color is not just an innocuous condiment. It has been historically used in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine 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. Many of these medical conditions are related to weight loss. Post weight loss surgery Dr Shillingford’s practice always recommends a healty approach to spices and cooking and a healthier you.
The chief pharmacological agent in turmeric is curcumin which is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric. Studies have shown curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects to be comparable to potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin but minus the toxicity of these drugs. This mighty spice has been studied and found useful in a wide gamut of disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, certain types of cancers . It also has cardiovascular benefits, improves liver function and offers protection against alzheimer’s disease. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties make it useful as a natural disinfectant. One of the typical home remedies in the olden days was to sprinkle turmeric on minor cuts and wounds.
This magical root is loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc – no wonder it has so many health benefits. Monitoring vitamin intake and eating nutritious foods is important for post weight loss surgery patients. Not only does turmeric help the body internally, it is one of the ancient beauty products! There is an old Indian tradition (which continues even today) where the bride is covered with turmeric paste days before the wedding to help her look more lovely on her big day ! There is discussion of how turmeric can aid in overall weight loss.
After reading so many positive benefits of this little spice I’m sure you are itching to find ways to include it in your diet. Most of us know it best today as one of the ingredients used to make curry but you could also add a teaspoon or two to a pot of stew or soup. Some websites also give recipes for turmeric tea and juices which include the turmeric root. If that is too much of a hassel, both turmeric and curcumin supplements are now widely available — just take one along with your daily multivitamin. Tumeric and curcumin both have poor GI absorption and need the presence of piperine (a component of black pepper) to enhance their absorption. So look out for supplements with piperine or black pepper extract. If using turmeric powder or root remember to add on a little pepper to your dish !
While tumeric is no substitute for regular exercise, a balanced diet and overall stress reduction, a little sprinkle of turmeric in your daily diet can really get you started on the road to a healthier you !