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Turmeric: Spice of Life

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
May 28, 2009
File under: Healthy Eating, Recipes, Spices


In the Old World, where spices were valued for depth of flavor and prized for therapeutic properties, turmeric was called ‘The Spice of Life.’

Turmeric has flavored food and prevented spoilage for centuries, adding a characteristic golden hue and warm ginger flavor to dishes from Asia to the Middle East. Spices are cited repeatedly as a significant part of the ancients’ daily lives in Egyptian hieroglyphics recorded on the walls of the pyramids and in passages of the Old Testament.

There is evidence of cultivated spices, herbs and seeds long before recorded history and archeologists estimate that primitive man had discovered aromatic plants as early as 50,000 B.C.

In India, turmeric has been revered for its powerful healing properties for more than 2,500 years. Ubiquitous in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine, modern research credits a powerful antioxidant in turmeric, curcumin with numerous health benefits.

Curcumin and related compounds called curcuminoids, the biologically active components of turmeric, have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.¹  Curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory by lowering histamine levels in the body.

Also credited as an anti-oxidant protecting against free radical damage, curcumin has been shown to protect the liver from certain toxins² and to inhibit blood platelets from sticking together, thereby improving circulation.

Scientists who specialize in the study of this ancient spice, self-described curcuminologists, are drawn to the compound because of the many promising health benefits, apparent low toxicity and protection against cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases.

Ongoing studies are looking into how turmeric might be used to treat disease and most exciting, it’s efficacy as a low-cost preventive medication for some of our most serious illnesses.³

Pineapple Curry is a delicious dish made with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, rich in healthy fiber, phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Pineapple Curry
Cooking with this extraordinary spice will enhance flavor and eye appeal and can help to reduce fat and salt substantially. Fresh pineapple is easy to peel and core, however you may use canned pineapple cubes.

8 Servings

1 medium pineapple, peeled, and cored
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, 2”strips
1 medium red bell pepper, 2”strips
1 (8 oz. pkg) 5-Spice Baked Tofu, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups sliced baby cut carrots
2 1/2 cups bite size broccoli florets
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Chardonnay or hot vegetable broth
3 cups Creamy Corn Soup (dairy-free)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon Tamari
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Prepare fresh pineapple and set aside. Heat oil and crushed pepper in an electric skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat, 30 seconds. Add ginger, garlic, onions, bell pepper and cinnamon, stirring frequently. Cook for 2 minutes, add carrots, tofu, broccoli and pineapple, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add wine or broth and cook for 2 minutes, allowing liquid to reduce. Reduce heat to medium-low and add turmeric, soup, yeast, tamari, and cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve with Jasmine rice.

Pineapple Curry

Nutrition Analysis per serving: about 2 cups

Calories 207, Protein 14g, Carbohydrate 25g, Fiber 6g, Fat 4g, Sat Fat 0, Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 48mg, Sodium 438mg

  1. Multiple Biological Activities of Curcumin: A Short Review. Radha K. Maheshwari et al. in Life Sciences, Vol. 78, pages 2081-2087; 2006.
  2. Deshpande UR, Gadre SG, Raste AS, et al. Protective effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) extract on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats. Indian J Exp Biol 1998 Jun;36(6):573-7 1998. PMID:7740.
  3. Spice Healer: An ingredient in curry shows promise for treating Alzheimer’s, cancer and other diseases Gary Stix.  Scientific American, February 2007
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An alternative approach to health, wellness and disease prevention. Marie Oser and her team of bloggers bring you creative natural solutions to issues affecting our health and wellbeing.

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