Take Down Toxins With Turmeric

If I was stranded on a desert island and could only bring one food with me to help me survive, I would without a doubt bring turmeric root!

While the deep yellow spice may seem like an odd choice in this scenario, the “Indian gold” packs a powerful punch. Not only is it a potent anti-inflammatory (1) and antioxidant (2) compound, it also has been proven to have over 50 healing actions, including:

  • An antacid to sooth digestive problems (3);
  • A powder to speed wound healing and prevent infection (bandages contain turmeric in India) (4);
  • An analgesic to relieve headache (5);
  • A stimulant to improve blood flow (6); and,
  • A topical paste to clear skin problems (7).

Turmeric is also known as the “anti-cancer spice,” with hundreds of research studies showing how it inhibits the activation of genes that trigger cancer, impedes the spread of tumor cells, hinders the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells, and kills cells that mutate into cancer (8).

Even modest amounts of this spice can have a potent effect on your palate, your body, and your brain. Populations that eat more curry (a dish made with turmeric)  tend to have better scores on cognition tests (9). The spice reduces the buildup of the protein known as amyloid-beta, which is found in greater concentrations in demented brains.

It’s easy to harness the healing powers of this powerful spice by adding it to your stir-fries, meats, poultry, or fish recipes. It adds a wonderful little something to soups and stews, and can be used in dishes with cruciferous vegetables for added protection against toxins and to promote healthy metabolic detoxification. Try to include a little black pepper with the turmeric, as the combination helps your body to absorb more curcumin (the active compound in turmeric) than it would otherwise.

Here is one of my favorite curry recipes from my book, Whole Detox, to get you started:

Chicken and Cauliflower Curry (Serves 2)

  • 1 tablespoon extra- virgin olive oil
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  •  ½- inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ medium yellow bell pepper, cut into 2- inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened, full- fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 2 4-ounce organic, free- range, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1- inch pieces
  • 1 cup cooked white quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onions

In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil, then add the onion, garlic, ginger, and bell pepper, and cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, honey, curry powder, turmeric powder, tapioca flour, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the cauliflower and chicken pieces. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the cauliflower is soft. Spoon the prepared quinoa onto a serving plate, and top it with half the hot curry, then garnish the dish with the cilantro and green onions. Enjoy!


(1) Chainani-Wu, Nita. “Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa).” The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 9.1 (2003): 161-168.
(2) Selvam, R., et al. “The anti-oxidant activity of turmeric (Curcuma longa).”Journal of Ethnopharmacology 47.2 (1995): 59-67.
(3) Vir, D. K., Nandu Kayande, and Pankaj Kushwah. “In Vitro Evaluation of Antacid Potential of Curcuma Longa Linn.” PharmaTutor 2.8 (2014): 214-217.
(4) Phan, Toan-Thang, et al. “Protective effects of curcumin against oxidative damage on skin cells in vitro: its implication for wound healing.” Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 51.5 (2001): 927-931.
(5) Agarwal, Krishna Adit, et al. “Efficacy of turmeric (curcumin) in pain and postoperative fatigue after laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study.” Surgical endoscopy 25.12 (2011): 3805-3810.
(6) Kim, Dong-Chan, Sae-Kwang Ku, and Jong-Sup Bae. “Anticoagulant activities of curcumin and its derivative.” BMB reports 45.4 (2012): 221-226.
(7) “Turmeric for treating skin disorders.” U.S. Patent 5,897,865, issued April 27, 1999.
(8) Nagabhushan M, Bhide SV. Curcumin as an inhibitor of cancer. J Am Coll Nutr 1992;11:192–8
(9) Ng, Tze-Pin, et al. “Curry consumption and cognitive function in the elderly.”American Journal of Epidemiology 164.9 (2006): 898-906




  1. sue

    is it good for diabetes. I mean can i avoid taking tablets and jusst have tumeric

    • dminich

      Hi Sue, please check with your healthcare practitioner on what you need to be taking.


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