Today we’re moving back to spices and are going to discuss a particularly potent one known as turmeric. We’re going to see how this spice’s many health benefits and practical uses make it a major component of the “herbs, spices and sweeteners” section of the Superhuman Food Pyramid.
Turmeric is a rhizome. That means the part of the plant we mainly consume are its rootstocks. It’s really a type of ginger. The roots though are more elongated and the color can range from yellow to deep yellow-orange. The plant is native to the South Asian region and thrives only in tropical climates with a lot of rainfall.
Those who like curry have unavoidably tasted this spice as it is a main ingredient in most curry mixes. It also has significant medicinal value as turmeric has long been utilized in Ayurvdedic and traditional Chinese medicine.
Let’s jump right in and take a look at the Superhuman benefits of turmeric.
Some modern studies attribute the spice’s medicinal value to curcumin, which is the major active phytochemical compound. This substance also gives turmeric its particular yellowish color.
Preliminary research has shown that turmeric as an anti-inflammatory can be almost as effective as pharmaceuticals of this type. But the spice has the added advantage of not producing any toxic effects. It can alleviate bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and researchers think that this is because curcumin can inhibit inflammatory agents in cells.
The spice has also been found to help reduce joint pains such as those caused by rheumatoid arthritis. This is due to turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics. Antioxidant substances capture free radicals in the body which cause cell damage. These free radicals, among other factors, are responsible for the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
There are other Superhuman healing effects that initial medical studies have found about turmeric:
- It can increase some detoxifying enzymes in the liver and thus enhance the organ’s function.
- It can prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and as a result reduce plaque build-up in veins and arteries.
- It can correct the genetic defect that causes cystic fibrosis.
- It can inhibit the mechanism in genes that triggers the growth of cancer cells. There are studies that show curcumin combined with the phytochemical quercitin from onions is effective against colon cancer. While in combination with phenethyl isothiocyanates, another type of plant substance abundant in cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, curcumin can stop prostate cancer cells from growing.
As we can see, turmeric is an excellent healing spice. But even setting aside its medicinal value, it is a nutritious addition we will certainly want in our diet. Vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, manganese, and iron are some of the nutrients we can acquire from turmeric.
Turmeric Practical Uses:
There are actually curcumin capsules available which we can take as supplements in order to take advantage of turmeric’s Superhuman health benefits. But for those with an adventurous or curious palate, using turmeric powder or fresh rootstocks of the spice is the way to go. Here are some ways to prepare turmeric.
- Chop the rootstocks just like ginger and add it to stir fry, soup or salad dishes.
- Also just like ginger, you can run fresh turmeric through a juicer and get a concentrate. Use this juice to cook an Asian rice recipe like Java rice or knock it back like a tonic drink. If the later, mix in some honey and lemon juice because it really has a strong taste.
- Make your own stock by boiling, drying and then finally grinding fresh turmeric. From there you can concoct your own curry mixes or use it in any curry-based recipe.
- Mix the ground or powdered form in virgin coconut oil to make a paste. This can then be topically applied to areas with inflammation.
One thing to keep in mind when dealing with fresh turmeric is that the juice can quickly stain surfaces and gets quite sticky as it dries. Turmeric is in fact also used as textile dye. So quickly wash any kitchen utensils with water and detergent if you don’t want them to have yellow colored spots and smudges.
In the next post, I’ll tell you how you can use curry in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the herbs, spices and sweeteners on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to use turmeric, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on how to use turmeric.