Super-Spice Fights Cancer, Alzheimer’s and More

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

January 24, 2014

  • Exotic root is “the spice for life”
  • A powerful weapon against chronic disease
  • 6 ways to use this spice every day

I had a nice surprise on my last visit to Whole Foods. They are finally selling fresh turmeric.

Now you may have used turmeric powder in the past. However you probably aren’t familiar with it in its fresh form. It looks a lot like ginger and is a staple ingredient in most Indian cuisines.

I have to admit… I love Indian food, especially the curries. And I have great news for anyone else who enjoys eating this exotic cuisine.

You see, turmeric is loaded with a powerful antioxidant called curcumin. This compound has been researched extensively. And it has been shown to ward off all sorts of health problems associated with aging. It’s so potent that some scientists are calling turmeric “the spice for life.”

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things turmeric can do for you…

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Turmeric shows great promise in the fight against cancer. And it’s not just one sort of cancer. It has been shown to have an effect on breast, prostate, bowel, stomach and skin cancers.

The great thing about turmeric is that it fights cancer on all fronts. First, it can prevent precancerous cells from turning into full-blown cancer. Second, turmeric appears to actually kill cancer cells. And third, it can stop more cancer cells from growing.

So if you have any threat of cancer, or already have it, getting more turmeric in your diet is a must.

What else does turmeric do?

Well did you know that people in India, where they eat turmeric every day, have less than a quarter the rate of Alzheimer’s that we have here in the U.S.?

It’s not a coincidence. It turns out the curcumin found in turmeric may help clear out the amyloid plaques that are common in Alzheimer’s disease. It also reduces oxidation, inflammation and clears out heavy metals like cadmium and lead – all of which contribute to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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And thanks to a new study, we now know the curcumin found in turmeric can also fight off depression.

When researchers tested curcumin against Prozac, they found both were equally effective at reducing depressive symptoms. And it only took six weeks to be effective.

I have to say… I’d much rather prescribe a diet high in turmeric than place any one of my patients on Prozac or any other antidepressant.

Avoiding cancer, Alzheimer’s and depression are only three reasons to get more turmeric in your diet. There are many additional reasons, too. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities make it a powerful weapon against diabetes, allergies, arthritis and other chronic illnesses.

So the big question is how can you get more turmeric in your diet?

Now you might pick up a turmeric root at the store, but when you get home with it you’ll probably start wondering how you can use it.

First things first…

When using fresh turmeric, wash the root of any dirt and scrub it well. You don’t need to peel the turmeric, but you can if you want.

Before cutting into it, I need to tell you… it can be messy. The yellow coloring stains, so be very careful not to get any on you. To keep from staining your fingers, you might want to put on a pair of thin rubber gloves before starting.

Now… how can you use it? You can chop it into ¼ inch disks or grate it up. Then…

Get creative and I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty of other great ideas. My own simple way to use it… I drop a few pieces into my morning juicer concoction.

By the way… if you don’t like Indian food I’ve got another solution. Consider curcumin supplements standardized to contain 90 to 95 percent total curcuminoids. These can be taken in the amount of 250 to 500 mg. three times per day.

  1. Add it to casseroles, stews and soups. (It makes a great replacement for carrots!)
  2. Sprinkle grated turmeric into your sautéed vegetables.
  3. Mix turmeric with olive oil and garlic. Use it as a salad dressing, marinade or as a flavorful coating for roasted potatoes.
  4. Make a tea. Use two cups of water and a tablespoon of fresh turmeric. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain it and add lemon and honey to your taste.
  5. Create your own curry dish. Sauté fresh turmeric, garlic and ginger for 2-3 minutes. Add in a can or two of coconut milk and bring it up to a simmer. Then toss in some shrimp or fish (cut the fish into one or two inch squares before adding it to the pot.) Cook for about five minutes until the seafood is done. Serve over a bed of vegetables.
  6. Replace powdered turmeric with fresh when following recipes. Just make sure to double the quantity (i.e., if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried turmeric, use 2 teaspoons of fresh turmeric.)

Resources:
Cancer Research, UK

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU) (2012, October 12). Prostate cancer: Curcumin curbs metastases, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2012/10/121012112152.htm

Shrikant Mishra and Kalpana Palanivelu. The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview. Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2008 Jan-Mar; 11(1): 13–19.

Sanmukhani J, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytother Res. 2013 [Epub ahead of print]

Aggarwal BB, et al. Curcumin: the Indian solid gold. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:1-75.

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