The king or queen of spices – Turmeric. A common ingredient of curry powder this spice is the subject of much scientific interest. It appears to protect against cancer and may have a role in treatment of the disease. When I asked my orthodox oncologist what else I could do to improve my chances, the answer was to eat as much turmeric – or rather the active ingredient curcumin – as I could tolerate. I love curry but turmeric is not well absorbed so a little thought was needed to elucidate the best way to get this lifesaving spice into my system.
It appears that curcumin absorption is increased by eating with fat and also by black pepper. Hence the very wonderful Golden Paste:
The recipe I use: http://turmericlife.com.au/turmeric-recipes-golden-paste/
But how much should I take and with what precautions?
This website describes a protocol for slowly increasing the dose. A slow increase is needed to allow the bowels to get used to the idea!!
One can use supplements and I do supplement my intake of the whole spice with some turmeric capsules. However, I have found that at high supplement doses my liver starts to hurt, so I tend to concentrate on using the golden paste made up with non-dairy milk such as almond or cashew.
There are side effects and interactions to consider. For instance turmeric can trigger gallstone formation. There is also some evidence that turmeric thins the blood, so care is needed if one is taking aspirin or blood thinners. Also some people will get abdominal discomfort if eating a lot of golden spice. One also needs to be aware that curcumin can stain work surfaces. But on the whole curcumin is well tolerated and the health benefits can be very rewarding…
However, eliminating dairy may be even more efficacious – more about that later!
And here is a spicy song! I was never a great fan of the Spice Girls but this was the spiciest song I could find on YouTube!!