Turmeric – from curry houses to cancer research (with turmeric smoothie recipe!)

 Turmeric is researched in relation to cancer; it's strong anti-inflammatory properties may prove useful in many other inflammatory conditions from arthritis to asthma.

Turmeric is researched in relation to cancer; it's strong anti-inflammatory properties may prove useful in many other inflammatory conditions from arthritis to asthma.

I commonly recommend turmeric as an all-around anti-inflammatory for many of my clients, especially if they either do hard physical exercise, or suffer from arthritis or similar inflammatory conditions. Anecdotally, I am aware of some using this to keep their asthma at bay… and I am sure other uses are many. 

For those interested (and in the UK, with access to BBC IPlayer), you will surely enjoy the Food Programme's program fully dedicated to turmeric.  You can find it here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rpd85

If you listen to this episode, you will learn about a study where turmeric used in food, rather than taken as a supplement, provokes a positive effect. As turmeric’s active molecules, curcuminoids, are not easily absorbed alone, we have learned that the best way to take turmeric is together with food: some fats and ideally black pepper, which enhances absorption.

So – for best benefits – enjoy yours with food. I’ve included here a recipe for a smoothie, which you may enjoy when the weather is warm and when hot drinks, such as turmeric tea, may not be so desired.

PAPAYA TURMERIC SMOOTHIE

300ml filtered water (you can replace 100ml with full fat coconut milk)

~130g fresh papaya, peeled

0.5-1 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp flax seeds

Turmeric is the king of anti-inflammatory herbs. Here, its bitter taste is masked by the fresh papaya. Fresh papaya contains proteolytic enzymes, which help to rid the body of old immune cells in the gut. Anti-inflammatory omega 3 oils from the flax seeds combine with water to give this smoothie a slightly gel-like texture; don’t be alarmed by this, as this consistency is actually desirable. It protects the membrane of your gut, which can get inflamed due to intense workout sessions, stress or medication.