Saturday, October 3, 2009

Food of the Day: Turmeric

In this lonely diet which now consists of rye bread, rice, beans, eggs, avocado, tuna/chicken and bouillon broth... I am cherishing my seasonings.

Today's Food of the Day is Turmeric, which is my favorite thing to do to white rice, and I believe I'm about to put it in my black bean tuna "salad" tonight!  This amazing Indian spice not only dehydrates leeches (sorry -- that one could not be avoided.  see 2:20 for applicable material.), but also sports a flavenoid that has been shown to inhibit several inflammatory responses.

Curcumin is the component of turmeric responsible for its yellow pigment, and for its anti-inflammatory properties; highlighted are Crohn's and IBD:
"The results indicate striking suppression of induced IBD colitis and changes in cytokine profiles, from the pro-inflammatory Th1 to the anti-inflammatory Th2 type. In human IBD, up to now, only one open study has achieved encouraging results. In this study, patients were given curcumin (360 mg/dose) 3 or 4 times/day for three months. Further, curcumin significantly reduced clinical relapse in patients with quiescent IBD. The inhibitory effects of curcumin on major inflammatory mechanisms like COX-2, LOX, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma, NF-kappaB and its unrivalled safety profile suggest that it has bright prospects in the treatment of IBD. However, randomized controlled clinical investigations in large cohorts of patients are needed to fully evaluate the clinical potential of curcumin."(Hanai & Sugimoto 2009)
Binion et al 2008; Curcumin inhibits VEGF-mediated angiogenesis in human intestinal microvascular endothelial cells through COX-2 and MAPK inhibition
Zhang et al 2006; Curcumin inhibits trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid-induced colitis in rats by activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma
Deguchi et al 2005; Curcumin Prevents the Development of Dextran Sulfate Sodium (DSS)-Induced Experimental Colitis
This article by Laura Owens actually covers a considerable and well-referenced breadth.  Read it.
Did you know turmeric is part of the ginger family?  I didn't.  No wonder I like it so much.  Woody ginger...

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