Open the pantry and see if you have any curry.

I have a list of “superfoods:”  foods that heal, help and renew our bodies. Turmeric is high up on that list.  Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that has been used for over 2500 years in India. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has been linked to multitude of health and beauty benefits.

Some of these include:

1. Curcumin has been proven to help weight loss and aid in fat metabolism. A diet high in turmeric can suppress the growth of fat tissue, according to a study, conducted by researchers from Tufts University and published in the Journal of Nutrition.

2. Curcumin is a natural liver detoxifier, which speeds up metabolism and contributes to a radiant complexion.

3. Curcumin is known for strong antioxidant  properties, making it a wonderful fighterof aging and disease in general.

4. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a great treatment for arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s,  diabetes, osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis. The newest arthritis drugs are COX-2 inhibitors (Celebrex.) Turmeric is a natural COX-2 inhibitor. In a 1999 study, British researchers noted its “potent anti-inflammatory action.” Turmeric may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

5. Turmeric is one of the best known immunity-boosting herbs.  Newsweek article (Nov 2005) described the downfall of popular prescription anti-inflammatory Vioxx. The same article  mentioned turmeric as a substitute anti-inflammatory. Some Italian studies compared Vioxx and turmeric for anti-inflammatory power, and turmeric performed just as well, with no side-effects. I always take turmeric at a first sign of a cold to increase my immunity.

6. Curcumin stops the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, therefore helping to fight cancer. It has been documented by multiple studies, seeing different types of cancer. Additionally, curcumin has been proven to increase the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and to reduce its side effects. Curcumin has also been shownto prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

7. Because of it’s anti-inflamatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, turmeric may help in the treatment of acne, eczema, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. It also speeds up wound healing.

Here’s how you can include more turmeric in your diet and healthcare routine:

 


1. Curcumin can be taken in capsules as a supplement, at a dose of 250-500 mg three times daily. Combining curcumin with bromelain may enhance its absorption and activity.

2. Reach for turmeric instead of an ibuprofen: turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties have been well-documented.

3. Use more turmeric in cooking. It works great with virtually any vegetable or bean dish. It can be sprinkled on a soup. It can be put in a sauce. It can be mixed with tahini for a dip or a dressing. It’s delicious with avocado. It’s interesting, mixed with cream cheese. It works with meat dishes. The ideas are endless, really.

4. To treat infections and digestive problems 1/4 -1/2 tsp of turmeric can be added to an herbal tea or hot water. Drink this tea two-three times daily. You can also try brewed turmeric tea.  To make it, place ½ tsp. of powder in a small pot and pour a cup of boiling water over it. Leave the tea to infuse for five minutes, then strain. You can add honey, ginger or cardamom  for more flavor. 

5. Powdered turmeric mixed with water or aloe vera gel can be made into a paste and applied to insect bites, spots and pimples, fungal conditions or even wounds.  It is also good for acne, eczema and psoriasis, although care has to be taken with the amount of turmeric used, because it can color the skin yellow. Mixed with honey or aloe vera gel, turmeric has been used traditionally to treat sprains, strains and bruises, according to positivehealth.com

6. A little turmeric powder, stirred into warm water makes an excellent mouthwash to treat inflamed gums and relieve toothache.

7. The Earthclinic offers this great recipe for a “joint pain” tea:

1/8 teaspoon turmeric, 3 cardamom pods (optional), 1/4 cup water. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes, then add : 1 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons almond oil (cold pressed). Bring just to the boiling point (but do not boil). Add honey or maple syrup to taste. Sip slowly as a hot tea.

8. Try this homemade mask I found on Crunchy Betty’s site. It’s supposed to be great for acne.

Crunchy Betty’s Turmeric Facial Mask

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp rice flour (you could also use garbanzo flour or finely-ground oats)
  • 3 Tbsp plain yogurt (you could substitute milk, cream, or sour cream)

Mix everything together until smooth and then slather it on a clean face. Let it dry for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse off, gently scrubbing as you go.

9. You can try Pratima’s Turmeric cream. I haven’t tried it, but I love Pratima’s other products.

image anankkm

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