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Spice of life

15 Jul
Sir Michael Caine reveals  he eats turmeric to keep his brain sharp
Screen legend Sir Michael Caine has revealed his secret to keeping a razor-sharp brain – the Indian spice turmeric.
The 80-year-old double Oscar winner says a supplement containing the spice helps him ward off the effects of ageing.
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And Caine is grateful to his Indian-born wife of 40 years Shakira for introducing him to its health benefits. Speaking to Hollywood chat show host Larry King backstage after a fundraising event for Alzheimer’s research, Caine said: ‘I am married to an Indian lady and have learned about Indian culture.
‘I looked into what they got and didn’t get. And one of the things they don’t get is Alzheimer’s.
‘They eat a great deal of turmeric in their food. I have been taking turmeric tablets for 30 years and I have a memory like a computer. I remember everything.’
I learnt about the health benefits of turmeric when I studied Chinese herbs but realised it had been imported from India several hundreds of years ago and is now used in traditional Chinese medicine under the name of 姜黄 is also named Jiang Huang ( yellow ginger), Rhizoma Curcumae Longae
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Curcuma Longa/Cúrcuma is a small perennial herb native to India bearing many rhizomes on its root system which are the source of its culinary spice known as Turmeric (Cúrcuma – rizoma secco in polvere) and its medicinal extract called Curcumin (Cúrcuma extracto refinado).
The name comes from Arabic kurkum meaning “turmeric
A relative of ginger, turmeric is a perennial plant that grows 5 – 6 feet high in the tropical regions of Southern Asia, with trumpet-shaped, dull yellow flowers. Its roots are bulbs that also produce rhizomes, which then produce stems and roots for new plants. Turmeric is fragrant and has a bitter, somewhat sharp taste. Although it grows in many tropical locations, the majority of turmeric is grown in India, where it is used as a main ingredient in curry.
The roots, or rhizomes and bulbs, are used in medicine and food. They are generally boiled and then dried, turning into the familiar yellow powder. Curcumin, the active ingredient, has antioxidant properties. Other substances in this herb have antioxidant properties as well.
Turmeric is widely used in cooking and gives Indian curry its flavor and yellow color. It is also used in mustard and to color butter and cheese.
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The problem with the pill is that it is very insoluble in water.The better way to take it, 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.
It has a mellow, smoky flavor despite its bright color. It tastes great in sautéed vegetables of all kinds and if you are a meat-eater, you can use it in a rub. You can use as little as one-quarter to one-half teaspoon in your cooking, depending on the dish. But there is nothing wrong with using more in intensely flavored dishes like curry. It makes white rice more digestible and in milk it helps with an upset stomach – several of my Asian patients have shared this with me.

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Turmeric has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wounds.
Growing evidence suggests that turmeric may afford protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Epidemiological studies show that in elderly Indian populations, among whose diet turmeric is a common spice, levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s are very low. Alzheimer’s disease results when a protein fragment called amyloid-B accumulates in brain cells, producing oxidative stress and inflammation, and forming plaques between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain that disrupt brain function.Turmeric Boosts Amyloid Plaque Clearance in Human Alzheimer’s Patients.In healthy patients, immune cells called macrophages, which engulf and destroy abnormal cells and suspected pathogens, efficiently clear amyloid beta, but macrophage activity is suppressed in Alzheimer’s patients.
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I realise that there are conflicting studies and many of the studies have been carried out in test tubes and animals but there a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that this spice has amazing anti-inflammatory,anti-cancer (One of its anti-cancer benefits comes from its ability to induce apoptosis (natural cell death) in cancer cells),anti-thrombotic and prevents build of plaque aswell asother properties shown above. It is a natural painkiller in view of its anti-inflammatory properties it helps in diseases such as asthma, arthritis, colitis,stomach ulcers and can lower blood sugar. Many Asians particularly older generation Asians acknowledge it as the ‘spice of life’
and it’s wide ranging health benefits and anti-ageing properties.
Now turmeric will become an important spice in my kitchen and there will be no mustard left on the side of my plate!

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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Training and Advice

 

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