Turmeric to avoid cancer: a real link?

September 30, 2016 10:52 am Published by 1 Comment

We were fascinated to watch the experiments on turmeric carried out by the Trust me, I’m a Doctor team this week. Each episode of this BBC programme takes a careful look at the health claims made for various foodstuffs. The experts featured are well-known for their reluctance to jump to conclusions – most of the claims receive a fairly lukewarm reception! But in this programme, for once, the experts ended up establishing a real link between a product and a claim to health.

We sell turmeric in large and small quantities

Turmeric: famed for its health benefits for centuries

Turmeric comes from a plant native to South Asia. The spice that we use is gathered from its root: sometimes, in specialist shops, you can find turmeric root itself, which you can then grate or grind yourself. We sell the powder at Naturally Good Food, mostly for use in curries and other Asian dishes. You can see our full turmeric range here.

A deep orangey-yellow, glowing in its cavernous 1kg bags, turmeric is one of the most attractive spices we deal with at Naturally Good Food. We pack it down into smaller quantities than 1kg of course, risking the chance of being indelibly stained by contact with the spice! And it’s the colour that interest scientists as well – it comes from curcumin, just one of the 200 or so separate compounds found in turmeric, and the one that’s thought likely to hold the key to the benefits of the spice.

The turmeric experiment

Rude Health on trend with turmeric oatcakes

Ginger and turmeric oaties: deliciously spicy

The Trust me team carried out an experiment in which volunteers ate turmeric regularly. You can see the details here: in essence, they were looking for just one thing – whether the consumption of turmeric might make any difference to pre-cancerous cells. And they found that it did. ‘Quite substantial changes…it was really exciting, to be honest’ – you don’t often hear that from a scientist! The particular genetic change they were looking at is associated with three diseases: depression; asthma and eczema; and cancer.

In the experiment, the changes only occurred in the group that actually consumed turmeric, rather than taking it as a supplement. The scientists pondered whether adding fat, or heating up the spice, made it more easily soluble and so enhanced its benefits.

Is this news? Turmeric has been famed for its health benefits for centuries, used in traditional medicine in Asia for as long as anyone can trace back. These traditional remedies often turn out to have more than a grain of truth in them – and turmeric, in our opinion, has a lot more than a grain of goodness in it. We’d encourage everyone to eat more turmeric – whether you cook with it from scratch, or eat it in one of our turmeric products, which you can see here. It’s warming, it’s tasty and it seems to be very, very good for you.


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This post was written by Yzanne

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