Turmeric: Golden Goodness

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Did you get a chance to try the delicious Turkey Curry recipe in last week’s Health-e-RecipesIf not, you may want to give it a second look because one of the ingredients is the golden spice, turmeric.

Turmeric gets it characteristic yellow hue from a class of cancer-fighting compounds referred to as curcuminoids.  The most abundant of these compounds is curcumin.

Scientists have been studying curcumin for many years for its role in cancer prevention.  Several lab studies have shown that it reduces inflammation and regulates genes that promote tumor growth.

In a study published earlier this year in Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research, mice that ate a diet containing curcumin had 75% fewer colonic polyps than mice that didn’t eat curcumin.  In addition, curcumin completely blocked the production of proteins that cause inflammation, a trigger for colon cancer.

This is a new study but the authors believe that if these results can be duplicated in humans, turmeric may offer protection against colon cancer.  You can read more about turmeric’s health benefits here.

Historically a component of both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines, turmeric is produced almost exclusively in the urban district of Erode, a city located in southern India.  Fortunately, you can buy turmeric in the spice aisle of your favorite grocery store!

Try adding turmeric to grains such as couscous or rice; it is also a nice addition to a dry rub for chicken or lean meat.


    Author: Teresa

    Teresa L. Johnson, MSPH, RDN, is a nutrition and health communications consultant with a long-time interest in the role of plant-based diets and cancer prevention. Her work draws on elements of nutritional biochemistry, phytochemistry, toxicology, and epidemiology.

    One thought on “Turmeric: Golden Goodness”

    1. Make sure you add black pepper to turmeric because it makes it 2000 times more bioavailable. Without the black pepper, almost all of the nutrients in the turmeric will pass by you.
      John S

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