The spice of life

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I thought we’d talk about the power of turmeric this month, given that it can reduce pain and boost the immune system, important at this time of the year.

Turmeric is a South East Asian plant belonging to the ginger family that’s been used for over 4000 years in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. The special nutrient in this plant is called curcumin, it’s the part that gives turmeric its yellow colour and therapeutic effects.

Around 3500 research papers have been published on the health benefits of turmeric!

Mostly we know that inflammation is associated with arthritis and chronic pain, but research is now showing that it is also a factor in:

  • Heart disease,
  • Diabetes,
  • Gut problems and even…
  • Mental health conditions such as depression and schizophrenia

It acts a bit like a COX-2 inhibitor, which is how non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and aspirin work, but unlike these, turmeric does not mess with your stomach health. In fact, is has also been shown to be a liver protector.

We have a product in the clinic that has been clinically shown to reduce the pain of arthritis within 45minutes to one hour.

Curcumin also stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which may help improve digestion.

Just a few other conditions that turmeric lends its hand to:

  • Protects the heart
  • Kills off tummy nasties – parasites and other unwanted passengers
  • Anti-cancer (mix it with cauliflower to address prostate probs fellas)
  • Anti-depressant
  • Anti-stress
  • Skin diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol lowerer
  • Alzheimer’s

Is there nothing it can’t do???

Grilled fish with fresh turmeric

This was my absolute favourite dish while I was living and working in Vietnam. You can use groper or any firm fish, sweet lips may also work. You will need a wire clamping grill (I got mine from a large hardware store). Fresh turmeric can usually be found in Asian markets but it’s often frozen.  Word of warning – it’s bright, it’s beautiful, but it’s messy stuff…

300gms  fish
1 tbspn   fresh grated turmeric (or 1 tspn powder)
1 tspn  shallots or spring onions
1 tspn  garlic
1 tspn  fish sauce
¼ tspn  black pepper
¼ tspn  salt
1 pinch  sugar
3 tbspn  chopped springs onions
3 tbspn  thinly sliced soaked woodear fungus or Chinese mushrooms
3 tbspn  vermicelli noodles
1 tbspn   oil

Mix all the above ingredients together. Place the mixture on a double banana leaf or aluminium foil which is folded over the ingredients to form a parcel that matches the size of the clamp grill. Cook on the BBQ or char grill for 5 mins each side, leave for another 5 mins before unwrapping at the table. Serve with ginger sauce.

Ginger sauce
4 teaspoons minced ginger
3 large red chilies , minced
2 cloves garlic , minced
3 teaspoons sugar
5 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup water

Combine all ingredients together in a container and use as a dipping sauce for your turmerighteous fish.