Turmeric The Spice of Long Life

October 25, 2005

Turmeric The Spice of Long Life 

 Competency # 14 SUPERFOODS         Reference:   J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 18;280(7):5892-901. Turmeric hit the news last week when Time Magazine put Andrew Weil on the cover.  Under his article, Living Better, Longer, Dr. Weil recommends a few ideas that haven't hit the mainstream.  One of them was: if you aren't eating curry regularly, take turmeric in a supplement form. This is what we know:  In India, in age matched populations with the USA, there is less than 1% incidence of Alzheimer’s over age 65.  The absolute ratio of India to America is 1/4.4.  That's huge.  I would like to reduce my risk of Alzheimer’s by 80%! How It Works:  Yang: at UCLA published a mouse experiment with Mouse Alzheimer’s, showing that tumeric STOPPED the aggregation of amyloid, the protein that makes the Alzheimer’s.  There is only this one article so far, but it seems to be real and the NIH is starting larger studies.    

 In a study published last year in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, scientists gave three groups of mice different amounts of curcumin extract for 15 weeks. Mice fed the most curcumin showed a 40 percent reduction in benign tumors caused by the same gene responsible for most types of colon cancer in humans. Mice fed the lowest amount of curcumin showed no reduction in tumor size.   

 Recipe of Yummy Cabbage and Potato Curry Indian food does not need to be spicy hot to be delicious.  What is wonderful about it is that you can use this curry recipe to make dozens of different vegetable combinations that are delicious, low fat, and get you to eat more vegetables with enthusiasm. 

 Cabbage: one medium head chopped up into moderate pieces 

 One large onion 

 5-6 chopped potatos (I like red but any will do.  Lots of potassium in all of them) 

 1 tbsp chopped garlic 

 Fry onion and garlic in 1/2 cup sesame or coconut oil 1 tbsp chopped garlic along with it, 1 tbsp chopped ginger 2 tsps cumin seeds 2 teaspoons black poppy seeds 1 tablespoon coriander powder (or one bunch fresh chopped) (red pepper to taste).   None is fine.  I put in about 2 tsps) 

 Stir and fry to get the spices rendered a little and the onion to brown Add potatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes stirring 

 Add the cabbage:  sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of TURMERIC over the cabbage and STIR, STIR, STIR Salt to taste 1/4 cup water to keep it from burning and steam the finished curry Add fresh coriander here if you use it. It's yummy and takes about 10 minutes to fix. Other great combinations:  pea and potato,  

This column was written by Dr. John E. Whitcomb, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI. (262-784-5300)