Hope you had a great weekend! I am actually back in New York now, and was able to relax this weekend!

So I wanted to talk to you guys about the amazing properties of Turmeric today. Many of you have been using turmeric as it is an integral part of the Detox Smoothie. I first learned about turmeric (which looks almost exactly like ginger, but orange) while I was traveling in India, which has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years.

Ingesting turmeric helps make the skin glowing and beautiful.

I also wanted to introduce you to a friend of mine, Dr. Raja Krishnaswami, a brilliant scientist how has been focusing on the potency of turmeric! He also lives in New York, and we have had some interesting conversations. His great insight is below in an interview I had with him, along with explaining a tasty product he made: Nutmeric. It combines almond butter with turmeric, along with various spices. Yum! I finished my first bottle of it within a few days!

Raja has his  Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore, India), following which he was a post doctoral fellow in Chemical Biology at the Scripps Research Institute La Jolla.  He worked as a Principal Scientist at Dynavax Technologies in Berkeley, CA (making a new  curative vaccine for Hepatitis B). He is currently a faculty member at the City University of New York and is the President of Spread Health Foods, Inc.

Kimberly:  As a scientist, what do you think of the potency of treating the body and preventing illness with nutrition versus drugs and medication?

Dr. Krishnaswami: Prevention is better than cure. Disease preventive foods that incorporate natural products  such as Turmeric and its primary active ingredient Curcumin with scientifically proven properties is the way to go. The western medical system has looked at only less than five percent of higher plants for medicines. Over fifty percent of all pharmaceutical drugs are either natural products or have been inspired by natural molecules. The Ancient medical systems such as Ayurveda use a much larger palette of herbs to heal. Many vaccines work, many pharmaceutical drugs can be effective in curing diseases to an extent, but most pharmaceutical drugs are synthesized from petroleum by-products which are growing scarce. The healing foods, drugs and cosmetics of the new age will have to come from renewable resources such as plants.  I have written an article on this recently Raja, K.S. et al “ The Concept of a Green Drug, Curcumin and it’s derivatives as a model system. Mini Reviews in Organic Chemistry, (2009) Volume 6, No.2. 152-158.”

Kimberly: What led you to studying and focusing on turmeric? Do you have a background in working with turmeric?

 Dr. Krishnaswami: I have been interested in the medicinal properties of Turmeric for over twelve years. I have published several papers on the Curcumin, the primary active ingredient in Turmeric.

Kimberly:   Can you explain how turmeric is used in India?

Dr. Krishnaswami: Turmeric is used as one of the spices in several Indian curries. Practically all these recipes have  “hot spices”,  which can irritate the Western palate, which is used to and prefers much milder flavors.

Kimberly: I know it is also used topically by women and ingested as a beauty aid!

Kimberly:  What are the benefits of turmeric?

Dr. Krishnaswami: The health benefits of Turmeric along with layman abstracts of recent research papers are available at our website www.spreadhealthfoods.com, click on our spread health hearts.

Turmeric is the dried powdered rhizome of Curcuma longa a plant in the ginger family. Recent reports from leading laboratories worldwide strongly support the health-promoting and disease preventing properties of turmeric and its primary active ingredient curcumin. Curcumin is being evaluated in clinical trials for treating cancer (University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center), and researchers at the University of California Los Angeles are investigating whether the spice may have benefits for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The anti-cancer potential of curcumin is also being investigated intensively at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. Turmeric is also a potent antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.

The medicinal properties of turmeric have been recognized for millennia in the traditional Indian and Chinese medical systems. Statistical studies suggest that populations that consume approximately 500 mg of turmeric daily have reduced incidences of colon cancer (Molecular Nutrition & Food Research  2008, Volume 52, issue 9).“It is evident from these facts that making turmeric an integral part of the daily American diet will have a tremendous positive impact on the health of our citizens.

 Turmeric and Curcumin have anti-aging and detoxifying properties. The role of Turmeric in preserving youthfulness and beauty has been a part of the Indian culture for thousands of years. Curcumin and other components in Turmeric arrest cellular aging by capturing free radicals that cause DNA damage. Turmeric works on numerous biochemical pathways that beneficial to maintaining youthfulness, Curcumin chelates (binds) toxic metal ions; it is also a powerful ant-inflammatory agent.

Kimberly: It is not easy for the average American to get turmeric into the diet. Explain your product, Nutmeric.

Dr. Krishnaswami: NUTMERIC is a taste and biovailability perfected spread and dip that combines the best of the east and the west : Indian Turmeric with Californian Almonds. It provides 700mg of turmeric per serving. The almond medium, along with the black pepper ingredient, significantly enhances the bioavailability of turmeric. Bioperine in black pepper has been shown in a study of humans to increase the blood concentration of curumin by nearly 2000 percent.

Incorporation of turmeric into the American diet poses challenges. Americans equate the mild-flavored turmeric with spicy Indian food. Most recipes incorporating turmeric, such as curries, are too spicy for many Americans because they contain hot spices such as cayenne pepper. While curcumin and turmeric extract is available in tablet form, this is poorly absorbed in the body because they are hydrophobic (don’t dissolve in water), this prevents the tablets from dissolving easily.

An ideal turmeric-based food item for the West must appeal to the American palate, be familiar to Americans, provide a significant amount of turmeric per serving ( 300-700 mg per serving), and have improved bioabsorption..

No such food item existed before the development of patent pending NUTMERIC. Yellow mustard contains a small amount of turmeric, approximately 17 mg per serving, but does not include black pepper, which boosts the bioavailability of turmeric. One serving of NUTMERIC has 42 times more turmeric than a serving of yellow mustard.

NUTMERIC is the result of more than a year of home-based formulation research. When 4-year-old Matthew Bernstein of Boulder, CO., ate half a jar at one go we decided to establish Spread Health Foods, Inc and market the product.

A health food can have a widespread positive impact on human health only if it is exceptionally tasty. “Otherwise, “only a small fraction of humanity would eat it – and then not on a consistent basis.”

Apart from its health benefits, NUTMERIC tastes great. You can visit our website www.spreadhealthfoods.com where we have NUTMERIC based recepies posted.

 Kimberly:  Wow, great! I’ve tried the Nutmeric, and I loved how it tasted. Where can we get Nutmeric, and where is it sold?

Dr. Krishnaswami: NUTMERIC is available for online at our website www.spreadhealthfoods.com.Several stores such as Fairway Markets ( Manhattan, NJ), Integral Yoga Health Foods (Manhattan), Bikram Yoga College of India ( Encinitas, CA) and Ludgate Farms, Ithaca carry NUTMERIC. For a more detailed list please visit our website.

Great!! Thank you so much Dr. Krishnaswami!

Also, check out the recipe for the Detox Smoothie HERE if you haven’t already! It is another great way to get turmeric into your diet.

Also, while I always usually stress organic, and mostly raw, there is room for high quality, highly beneficial cooked food.Here is what Dr. Krishnaswami says, “The almonds are slightly heated to ensure that they are pathogen free. This is an FDA requirement, we have an FDA approved process for manufacture this ensures that the consumer gets a product that is safe and bioavialability perfected. We have also measured the ORAC oxygen radical absorbance capacity of NUTMERIC ( ORAC, antioxidant capacity) it is three times more than regular Almond butter.”

 Have a great start to your week!!!! :) Happy October!! Be sure to take care of yourself, get plenty of rest, and eat your greens and drink your Green Smoothies. During the  change of seasons it can be easy to get sick. I even got a little cough this past week (very rare!), from all the traveling back and forth to LA and running myself down, but by getting back to my normal eating routine and resting more, I was able to wipe it out pretty quickly. :)

Talk soon!

xx Kimberly