If you are like me and you LOVE Indian food then you probably have already heard of this super healthy spice. It is found in many curries and it is what gives most curry that yellowish color. It is also the stuff that gives the classic American mustard its yellow color. Some of you may know it better as Indian Saffron.
I love this stuff. One of my favorite and super EASY recipes (found below) is chicken thighs, curry spice (full of tumeric), and cauliflower. It is low carb, full of protein, and full of flavor. But it is also full of AWESOME anti-inflammatory curcumin.
Turmeric’s primary active ingredient, (a diarylheptanoid to be exact — sound that word out. Doesn’t it sound awful?) is curcumin, which is what makes Turmeric yellow. It is also what makes turmeric super healthy and why you should be eating more of it.
A 2003 study, showed that curcumin was as effective as significant doses of ibuprofen (Motrin) in treating inflammation. And in a more recent study, which analyzed the impact of both curcumin and ibuprofen on arthritic knees, curcumin proved to be more effective than ibuprofen.
So this stuff works and it is a NATURAL spice?
Strong Figure readers concerned with muscle growth, should pay special attention because a 2008 study showed that ibuprofen impaired muscle growth. If you suffer from inflammation you should be loading up your food with turmeric — not taking Motrin.
Curcumin works better than Chemotherapy (Taxol)
Taxol (generic name paclitaxel) is a drug used to treat lung, ovarian, breast, head and neck cancer. In a 2005 study, human breast cancer cells were injected in mice and were subsequently removed (mouse mastectomy). The researchers were hoping to find a cure to prevent the growth of new tumors after the mastectomy. After the mouse mastectomy, the mice were then divided into four groups:
- Group One: was the control group and was given no further treatment.
- Group Two: was given the chemotherapy drug Taxol
- Group Three: was given curcumin
- Group Four: was given Taxol and curcumin
The researchers believed that curcumin could prevent the formation of cancer tumors and they were right!
- Group One: 95% of the control group developed tumors
- Group Two: 75% of the Taxol group developed tumors
- Group Three: 50% of the curcumin group developed tumors
- Group Four: only 22% receiving both Taxol and curcumin developed tumors.
Yes the mice given curcumin, the stuff that makes your mustard yellow, did considerably better than the mice given CHEMOTHERAPY.
That may sound crazy but Turmeric actually compares quite favorably to western medicine.
Check out this article showing Turmeric is as effective as 14 western drugs used for treating a variety of issues.
Wait there is more!!!
Check out these links:
Turmeric has also been shown to help in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Turmeric helps with Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
Turmeric helps damaged muscles recover faster!
Turmeric’s cardiovascular benefits prove as effective as even exercise. Ok this study was only done on post menopausal women, but there is reason to believe it would be duplicated in other populations as well.
Turmeric rocks! So make sure you add tumeric to your next shopping list. This stuff is clearly worth checking out.
Here is that lunch recipe I make:
2-3 lbs of boneless chicken thighs
Curry powder (I normally pick one that has turmeric as one of the top ingredients)
One whole cauliflower (or bag of frozen)
1 medium onion chopped
1-2 tbs of ghee
Cook the chicken in a large skillet with the ghee covered on medium heat for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add the cauliflower and onion. (If using frozen cauliflower cook separately and add at the end)
Add some water (about a half cup) and the curry powder to form a paste. Stir until all the ingredients are covered by the curry paste.
Continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the chicken is cooked through.
Turn the stove to high for 2 minutes, which will help the sauce to thicken and caramelize around the chicken.
Serve plain, over rice, or with naan.
It is a super easy recipe and you can make enough for an entire week’s worth of lunches really quickly. I sometimes add other vegetables to it (green beans, peas, okra, spinach).
Do you use turmeric or do you supplement with curcumin? Let us know in the comments section.
Always super informative, always love your articles Erik! I hate spicy foods…so, is this spice, spicy?
Erik Walker says
Thanks Amber! The “spicy” part of most curry is red chili powder or mustard seed. The other main spices in your typical curry are coriander, turmeric, and cumin — none of which are spicy hot. Turmeric is related to ginger and it is very flavorful but I would not describe it as “spicy.”
Cindy Moore-Sailors says
Turmeric is more earthy and astrigen, not hot and spicy….it doesn’t contain capasaicin. Using black pepper or other types of chili pepper containing capsaicin will however make the turmeric more bioavailable/easier for your body to absorb. I use turmeric to contend with my osteoarthritis and neurogenic bladder issues. It is a strong anti-inflammatory that has awesome side effects unlike the manufactured drugs available for my health issues. I manage to lead a very active life thanks to drinking a concoction of mate’, turmeric, ground blackpepper, cayenne pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Stephanie Wimer says
First–thanks so much for writing and researching all this! I LOVE turmeric, but ever since you started this piece, I’ve been adding it to everything! I’m really curious about supplementing with it as well…especially since we saw those turmeric capsules at Costco! Amber, I don’t think this spice is spicy at ALL. I sprinkled it on my sweet potato yesterday after my workout and didn’t really even taste it. (Probably because I drown my sweet potatoes in cinnamon.) But no spice that I can tell! I cooked flounder and asparagus in it yesterday as well and no kick. And I COVERED the fish in it!! 😀
Lori Beneteau says
I love tumeric, and can’t wait to try this recipe 🙂