I read an article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute about the benefits of the spice curcumin.
Curcumin is the primary ingredient in turmeric, a yellow spice. I was super excited to read about the benefits of curcumin because we've cooked with it in my house my whole life, and its so good and easy to use! My family background is from Morocco and a lot of the dishes my mom makes are using turmeric.
Numerous studies have shown its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Anti-inflammation is very important because it is the main problem with many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, pulmonary disease, and asthma. Research has shown that curcumin was able to block the production and action of a mediator of inflammation in the body called tumor necrosis factor (TNF.) It also has been shown to suppress tumor activity in cancers of the stomach, breast, prostate, oral cavity, and leukemia. Curcumin helps with symptoms of cancer such as cachexia which includes muscle wasting and decreased appetite. In one study patients were able to significantly increase their weight with supplementation of curcumin, and maintaining a healthy weight is very important during cancer treatment.
If you've never cooked with turmeric don't be afraid! You can get the spice at most supermarkets or health stores and here are a few ideas of how to incorporate it into the food you cook:
- Try adding turmeric to rice, potatoes, and chicken dishes. It can also be used as a rub for your chicken. Beware, your food becomes bright yellow, but this is normal! It will add great flavor.
- 1/2 spoon is enough for most dishes
- Search for recipes on sites such as www.foodnetwork.com and search "Turmeric." I pick recipes by the star ratings from other people (I also read the comments, they often give you tips about making the dish.)
Here is my family's potato dish:
4 Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Onion, cut
1/3 Teaspoon Turmeric
Salt + pepper to taste
Sauté the onion a deep pan in olive oil until golden on medium heat. Add potatoes and turmeric, salt, and pepper and mix for a few minutes. Add water to cover the potatoes, let boil and then cover and simmer for 1 hour or until potatoes are soft. Enjoy!
To complete the meal make a mixed green and tomato salad with olive oil and lemon dressing, grilled chicken breast, and steamed broccoli (or any vegetable you like.)
Extra tip of the day:
400 micrograms/day of folate can reduce risk of cancer in women by up to 42%.
Folate is found in lentils, spinach & eggs so get eating :)