Print Friendly and PDF

Cancer Doctor Explains How Cooking with Turmeric Leads to Amazing Health Benefits

Elizabeth Renter
April 26th, 2013
Updated 05/08/2014 at 11:23 am
Pin It

turmericinspoon1 263x164 Cancer Doctor Explains How Cooking with Turmeric Leads to Amazing Health BenefitsIt’s one thing to read all the studies, to keep informed through breaking news and research about natural health, but it’s another to hear it from the people who put it into practice. When you can combine the practical applications of natural health with the scientific background, the evidence can be awfully convincing. This is where Johns Hopkins medical oncologist Dr. Saraswati Sukumar comes in, explaining how you can get the most out of the amazing spice turmeric.

The Power of Cooking with Turmeric

Dr. Sukumar is a cancer doctor, but she is also a frequent user of turmeric. She knows first-hand how curcumin (the active component in turmeric) can provide health benefits and how it can easily be incorporated into your daily life. She uses it daily in her kitchen and has built a good portion of her professional reputation on touting the benefits of this powerful root.

“The health benefits are many, many. For example, for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, who have painful swelling in the knees, turmeric is a great way to suppress the inflammation,” says Dr. Sukumar. “A Woman’s Journey.”“We have close to 300 publications (that cite turmeric) for its anti-cancer effects. Many diseases, such as colon cancer and other types of cancer, are being traced to inflammation.”

She can point to the research that shows how curcumin can not only regulate inflammation which leads to certain types of cancer, but also the other types of cancer where curcumin “actually seeks out malignany cancer cells and alters the regulation of DNA in order to kill them,” as stated by Natural News.

As Dr. Sukumar said, the benefits of turmeric are many—from inflammation of the joints as is common in arthritis, to reduced cancer risk and the treatment of diabetes. But, not all sources of curcumin are equal. As Dr. Sukumar points out, your body can get the most benefits when you add it to your cooking.

“The problem with the pill is that it is very insoluble in water,” said Dr. Sukumar. “The better way to take it, I feel, is to use it in your cooking very extensively. If you have any sauté, just sprinkle it in. The moment you heat oil and add turmeric to it, it now becomes completely bio-available to you.”

Fortunately, turmeric is versatile. It has a mellow, smoky flavor despite its bright color. It tastes great in sautéed veggies of all kinds and if you are a meat-eater, you can use it in a rub. Dr. Sukumar says she uses as little as one-quarter to one-half teaspoon in her cooking, depending on the dish. But there is nothing wrong with using more in intensely flavored dishes like curry.

From around the web:

  • Miz Crankypants

    What’s the big deal? Go ahead, take your turmeric capsule(s) with a sip of water at dinner time or breakfast time or lunch time, as long as there is some fat in your meal, *good* fat people, there really shouldn’t be a problem absorbing the healthful properties to be found in the turmeric.

  • Suchitra

    Fresh Turmeric root (plant) can be bought at an Indian store like Patel Brothers for about $5.00 / lbs. Turmeric root powder is also available there for about $4.00 / lbs. It is called Haldi in Hindi.

    The powder is really fresh as one can tell by the strong aroma because of the fact that Indians use it everyday. So the supply is kept up. And one is likely to get organic or close to organic stuff, without the pricy tag of an ‘organic’, as things are still closer to nature in deep India where spices are most likely grown.

  • tina

    i get mine at indian store. very cheap. i mix it w/ water, almond milk, black pepper and hemp oil put in glass mason jar. mix it up. put it in glass coffee cup microwave fr 30 sec only. drink it down. can stay in frig fr a week so u dont have to keep making it every day.

  • nancyw

    I have used the curcumin powder form mixed with other herbs and have trouble with staining. I was told to use a straw and put it at the back of my mouth….still feel like it is staining my teeth. Any suggestions?

  • Auch Da

    As i got a very ugly MRSA or Staph-Infection all over my body just in the beginning of 2013, I first tried to fight it with garlic for over a month, what didn’t help. I researched in Internet and found this wonder >>> Turmeric. Thx to that it healed me after about 6 weeks of intake of 1 teaspoon of it in a glass of water with a little bit of black pepper, 3x a day. I just can say WOW – it’s a wonder. If any had seen me before u would have been shocked.

  • Administrator

    I heat up coconut oil in a skillet and about a tsp of turmeric to cook eggs. Put it all on top of broken up rice cakes for crunch. Tastes great.

  • cathy

    I make a spinach, carrot, banana and apple smoothie every day, (with 2 cups of water) and add 1/2 tbsp turmeric, 2 tbsp flax seed, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp cumin, makes 4 cups and I have it twice a day

  • Brandy E

    I found a great supplier for turmeric and lots of other organic spices – My friend and I recently made some large orders, and the quality of their herbs is absolutely fantastic. It is ALL organic or wild crafted.

  • steno

    Adding capsaicine or piperine will increase the bioavailability very much. Some say even more than 60- 70%. So, add a bit of hot pepper, black or red. Tastes good anyway… As for the turmeric, use rather large quantities. A teaspoon per person or so. There is only about 10% active substance in turmeric powder, and it gets broken down by our metabolism quite fast. Commercial capsules have the advantage of roughly 95% active substances. You can open them and put them in your dish too.

  • Gloria

    I’m living proof that it really works. I have had back pain from bulging disc and sciatic nerve pain and spinal stenosis for years. the pain is horrible it’s like having a kid.I started buying it at the apple health food store in capsules. It has help me a lot with the inflammation and pain. I would recommend it to anybody. I know I need surgery on my back but for now this has been helping me and its natural.

  • Liliana

    How do you wash it off your hands?

  • Connie

    I sprinkle it on my soft-boiled eggs every morning along with a drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt. Delicious!

  • Cialis

    just like ginger, a turmeric give more health benefits and makes our food really look nice and smell fantastic.

  • rruffino

    "Typical American attitude…", sounds like a prigs comment. I believe by taking 3-6 gelcaps a day at least some of the turmeric is getting into my bloodstream.

  • rruffino

    This is where I get mine. I make gelcap pills with it and take 3-6/day mixed with pepper.

    • rruffino

      I'm sure my body is getting good results with the gelcaps… I don't believe they are not 'soluble'.

      • RC

        Ruffino: The Indian Doctor in the article, from a country where turmeric has been part of their cuisine for thousands of years, says It’s NOT Water Soluable.

        Why would you refuse to believe her? Typical American attitude…

        Google it yourself — there are NUMEROUS references fro mstudies indicatingthat turmeric’s benefits are best absorbed when it is A) Cooked In Oil & B)Taken With Black Pepper. Turmeric is a spice vs. a seasoning. Spices need to be cooked to release their
        flavors & make their chemical components bioavailable.

        And as with anything you put in your mouth, it should be organic & of the higest possible quality. Which is usually not the case with turmeric in capsules.

  • FAB

    So I toss a chunk of turmeric root into the juicer with carrots and apples. Soluble? Or should I acutally be cooking with it (I eat a lot raw)?

    • RC

      Turmeric should be sauteed in oil or at least steeped in hot water (add it to your tea) before consumption so it’s nutrients can be readily absorbed. It’s similar to cumin powder — if you add it to something cold/uncooked, it’s gritty & kind of tastes like dirt. Once you heat cumin, it becomes fragrant & yummy & your body can assimilate the goodies it contains. Same with turmeric.

  • warbaby

    Thank You all for your very helpful ideas and comments.

  • Anonymous

    I have read that combining turmeric w/ black pepper makes it more bioavail.

  • Gary

    I just take one half teaspoon twice a day water and it’s worked wonders for my joints. I buy bulk powder from local organic co-op and it’s very inexpensive. If you only use one suppliment, this is it!

  • alex

    * So all this time that i've patiently capped turmeric at my kitchen table & washed it down with my other dinner pills…. is all for naught???…insoluble in water????…tell me this ain't so!!!

  • Dian

    I live in St. Lucia and grow organic turmeric. I would be happy to ship by the pound fresh organic dried powder turmeric.
    It is great cooked in pasta, rice, quinoa, cornmeal or just as a tea with some maple syrup.

    • Anonymous

      How much do you charge for a pound of turmeric?

    • Sally

      Would be very interested in purchasing fresh turmeric please can you give details of how to store it and cost.thanks

      • Dian

        It sells for $10 per pound plus $5. shipping. I plan to travel to the states next month and would ship it from Kentucky.
        As for storing it, I use glass jars.
        If interested please let me know. Payment would be made to a U.S. address.

  • Dylan

    Try any Indian Shop first

  • Carlos

    Be sure to get it organic. The powder form in most stores is irradiated with nuclear waste (cobalt 6). I'm trying to source some online. Does anyone know where to get it?

    • Ren

      I've researched this all evening and can't find a single reference to Cobalt 6 used with this spice. Please post a link or two to back up this statement.

    • nancy – just reent got some organic tumeric – now need to use it!

  • Guest

    I mix it into a cup of green tea each day

  • Maggie

    what kind do I buy ?

  • heather charles

    have been using tuneric most of my life I juice with water and drink

  • Ruby Tait

    I have been told to make a turmeric shake with turmeric, lemon, honey, cayenne pepper and water. Can anyone give me the correct quantities of each that I should be using

    • betty

      Can use to taste: I use a rounded 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric; the same of cayenne pepper; a bannana, 1-tablespoon glob of real honey and a tablespoon glob of real peanut butter; 1-cup milk; put in a blender; punch smoothie; it's thick; can drink through a straw or eat with a spoon; use more milk if too think.

    • Avis

      That's the best part, just use it daily, the doc stated above some quantities but she also said there is no too much!

  • steno

    Yes. And add pepper (black pepper, red pepper, anything hot) too, for that will increase the percentage of absorption tremendously.

  • Anonymous

    Are they pills available?

  • Jay

    So how much to use? I add a tablespoon or so to each family meal… is that enough?

  • ParsleyLover

    And you can use the whole root, too. Include it in your smoothie.

  • jaychapman860

    Right, so connect the dots re: "bio-availability" – I suggest, non-GMO Sunflower Lecithin and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil as synergists when cooking with Turmeric

  • Renard Moreau

    [ Smiles ] Turmeric is fabulous beyond words!

    Great article!