by Elizabeth Renter
Natural Society, 26 April 2013
It’s one thing to read all the studies, to keep informed through breaking news and research about natural health, but it’s another to hear it from the people who put it into practice. When you can combine the practical applications of natural health with the scientific background, the evidence can be awfully convincing. This is where Johns Hopkins medical oncologist Dr. Saraswati Sukumar comes in, explaining how you can get the most out of the amazing spice turmeric.
The Power of Cooking with Turmeric
Dr. Sukumar is a cancer doctor, but she is also a frequent user of turmeric. She knows first-hand how curcumin (the active component in turmeric) can provide health benefits and how it can easily be incorporated into your daily life. She uses it daily in her kitchen and has built a good portion of her professional reputation on touting the benefits of this powerful root.
“The health benefits are many, many. For example, for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, who have painful swelling in the knees, turmeric is a great way to suppress the inflammation,” says Dr. Sukumar. “A Woman’s Journey.”“We have close to 300 publications (that cite turmeric) for its anti-cancer effects. Many diseases, such as colon cancer and other types of cancer, are being traced to inflammation.”She can point to the research that shows how curcumin can not only regulate inflammation which leads to certain types of cancer, but also the other types of cancer where curcumin “actually seeks out malignany cancer cells and alters the regulation of DNA in order to kill them,” as stated by Natural News.
As Dr. Sukumar said, the benefits of turmeric are many—from inflammation of the joints as is common in arthritis, to reduced cancer risk and the treatment of diabetes. But, not all sources of curcumin are equal. As Dr. Sukumar points out, your body can get the most benefits when you add it to your cooking.
“The problem with the pill is that it is very insoluble in water,” said Dr. Sukumar. “The better way to take it, I feel, is to use it in your cooking very extensively. If you have any sauté, just sprinkle it in. The moment you heat oil and add turmeric to it, it now becomes completely bio-available to you.”Fortunately, turmeric is versatile. It has a mellow, smoky flavor despite its bright color. It tastes great in sautéed veggies of all kinds and if you are a meat-eater, you can use it in a rub. Dr. Sukumar says she uses as little as one-quarter to one-half teaspoon in her cooking, depending on the dish. But there is nothing wrong with using more in intensely flavored dishes like curry.