Biohacking! Superfoods: Turmeric

Superfoods: We used to call that food to distinguish it from cardboard i.e. processed food; but in this day and age of hyperbole and attention-whoring we need to add a Super-.

Turmeric: Indian spice, German: Kurkuma; main ingredient Kurkumin (some fat-soluble chemical which is said to be neuroprotective and colon cancer inhibiting. Even by this or that sciency study . You know what they do, count Alzheimer and cancer cases, the sort of thing you do at universities).

Yellow, powdery, basis for all Curry Masalas (=curry spice mixes), very MILD taste.

So. Recommendation: Use liberally with fatty foods. Sprinkle on butter, oils, roasts, curd cheese. If your meal doesn’t contain enough fat, i.e. Yoghurt, just add Sesame Oil to your Yoghurt and Turmeric on top of it. So you actually dissolve the Kurkumin and get to digest it. (YES! Yoghurt with dark Sesame Oil, which has a nutty flavor, is actually delicious!)

Of course turmeric is mostly used in Indian dishes; and Indians, most being vegetarians are the masters of preparing lentil-based recipes. So when cooking a bean or lentil based soup or Dal or Chili Con Carne (or sine carne but with more tomatos and paprica) again, add oils to it 5 minutes before end of cooking, (use a mixture of oils, say, Olive Oil, linseed oil, dark Sesame Oil, and add turmeric, Chili powder and/or Garam Masala (a curry mix heavy on cinnamon I think, very aromatic)  and stir thoroughly so again, the turmeric and other fat-soluble spice ingredients become more bio-available.

I’m constantly carrying some turmeric with me. Looks bigger than it is, it’s a 2 inch by 2 inch container that fits in my pocket. Oh ATTENTION. This stuff is REALLY yellowish and will stain your clothes and is impossible to remove with water only. So I put the lid on the container and wrap it in a small plastic bag for safety.

turmeric

Update Apr 15: Added biohacking to the title because it sounds 21st century-ish.

Update Apr 17: I just found out it contains oxalates which can lead to kidney stones. So don’t overdo it. Remember it’s a spice not a staple food. source

If you’re worried, try flushing your urinary tract once in a while by drinking 3 liters of water in a day. Stay close to a loo when doing that! I once did it after having occasional weird aches in my kidneys when in bed. I think it helped, they went away after the flushing. Oxalates/oxalic acid are not all bad, and not uncommon in plants. They can just cause kidney stones.

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10 thoughts on “Biohacking! Superfoods: Turmeric”

  1. Turmeric is great stuff. I live in Central Florida, and am able to grow it here. Just started last year, so I was just building my stock. This year should give great yields. I won’t stop buying as much, just increasing my consumption by eating the cooked roots (or raw). They are pretty good.

    I have a fellow gardening friend who’s wife uses it in everything, as I’ve been doing for a few years. You mention Chili Con Carne, which is something I make a lot of variations of. But they all have Turmeric and Cilantro added. Very nice.

    I hadn’t thought of using it in some of what you suggest. I’m gonna start, though. Thanks.

    “This stuff is REALLY yellowish and will stain your clothes and is impossible to remove with water only.”

    LOL – Tell me about it!

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  2. I seem to remember that black pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric by some huge factor. (Google it if interested.) Interesting that many Indian recipes use combinations of those two spices…

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      1. You’re right! But seems like my “fat” tip also works!

        http://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/how-to-improve-bioavailability-of-turmeric
        “Easy ways to make turmeric bioavailable in body

        The main reason behind the non-availability of curcumin in body for regular users is due to its low solubility in water. But there are other ways by which one can take curcumin without its solubility coming in its way.

        Black Pepper: One can use the mixture of curcumin with pepper. Bioperine is an extract from the fruit of Piper nigrum (black pepper). It is one of the best ways to take turmeric by mixing it with Bioperine. Including black pepper in your diet or taking it with turmeric should help in absorption of turmeric in body.

        Mixing with fats: Also mixing curcumin with fat will do. Curcumin can be mixed with coconut oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil etc.

        Mixing with Quercetin: Curcumin can be taken as a mixture of curcumin and quercetin. Quercetin is flavonoid and is found in many plants and foods such as apple, red grapes, onion, citrus fruit etc.”

        Or here:
        http://nutritionfacts.org/2015/02/05/why-pepper-boosts-turmeric-blood-levels/
        “Another way to boost the absorption of curcumin is to consume it in the whole food, turmeric root (fresh or dried as a powder) because natural oils found in turmeric root and turmeric powder can enhance the bioavailability of curcumin seven to eight fold. When eaten with fat, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby in part bypassing the liver.
        How is it prepared in India? With fat and black pepper.”

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  3. “Daniel B. Mowrey tells the story: ‘Serious research on turmeric began in Germany, in the early 1920’s. Sesquisterpenes in the essential oil of turmeric were isolated in 1926 and to them was ascribed the therapeutic activity’.”
    http://www.herballegacy.com/Alter_History.html

    If you can find viable Turmeric roots, either in a market or online, you can grow them in container very easily. Just bring them in after they go dormant in autumn, or before a heavy freeze. After they go dormant they won’t resume growth until the next spring.
    http://www.therainforestgarden.com/2011/12/how-to-grow-turmeric.html

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  4. Yes oxilates do cause nasty spiky kidney stones, Rhubarb and chocolate contain large amonts all good things in moderation. I grow Turmeric and enjoy it cooked from fresh in curries.

    [sorry for the long wait! You’re approved now and further comments should pass through! DirkH]

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