Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Golden Protection from Turmeric

Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is a vibrant yellow spice that has been a core component of Indian medicine for centuries.

Turmeric contains bioactive constituents called "curcuminoids" which have a wide range of beneficial health-related properties. Laboratory and animal research has demonstrated that curcumin, the most active ingredient, may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant activities. Scientific research has also demonstrated that turmeric may be beneficial in reducing symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's disease, cardiovascular and liver diseases.

In ancient Indian medicine, turmeric has been used as a folk remedy to treat eye infections, wounds, bites, burns and skin diseases. In fact, Johnson and Johnson, Inc. makes turmeric Band-Aids for the Indian market.

Turmeric can be found in curry powders, but only in minimal amounts, so it's best to purchase turmeric as its own spice. Turmeric is a fat-soluble spice which means that it is best absorbed when consumed with fat, specifically medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). It's no surprise that coconut milk, a food often paired with curry, is high in MCTs. Turmeric's nutritional profile includes moderate amounts of iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6.

Turmeric enhances any egg dish, cooked or cold. If you're egg-free, sprinkle turmeric on scrambled tofu to mimic the appearance and flavor of eggs. Turmeric meshes well with cauliflower, leafy greens and broccoli. It also injects unique flavor to garbanzo beans or lentils and white meats such as chicken, turkey and pork.

- Genevieve Sherrow, candidate, Master's of Science in Nutrition and Elizabeth Kirk, PhD, Core Faculty, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science, Bastyr University

Golden Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 tablespoons high quality unrefined olive oil
1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup raw cashews, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
3 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Combine water and quinoa in covered pot. After water comes to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cool.

Heat saucepan to medium-high, then add olive oil. Sauté onion until it's translucent. Add garlic and stir. Combine quinoa, raisins, cashews, turmeric and honey (in that order) with garlic and onion. Stir until ingredients are well-coated.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

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