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Adrienne Dellwo

Turmeric for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By June 9, 2010

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Food of the Week: Turmeric

Do you eat foods from India, Thailand or Morocco? If so, you've probably eaten plenty of this Food of the Week. Turmeric is a spice with a distinctive mustard-yellow color that's popular in the Far East, especially in curry-spice blends. It's a member of the ginger family and, like ginger, comes from the root of the plant. A key component of turmeric is curcumin, which has long been used medicinally in the east and has been studied in the west.

Especially when you consider that many of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome also have intestinal problems, it sounds strange to suggest a seasoning with such a pungent flavor. However, turmeric has proven effects that could make it worthwhile for us -- even those of us with digestive issues.

Turmeric is a proven anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, and some research shows it can boost your immunity. Researchers say curcumin attaches itself to cell membranes and stabilizes them, making it harder for infectious agents to get in. They add that eating it in conjunction with black pepper helps your body use curcumin more effectively. More and more researchers are looking into viruses in connection with our illnesses, and many experts say we should do what we can to shore-up our immune systems.

It seems counter-intuitive, but some research suggests that turmeric actually relieves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It may also alleviate menstrual pain and arthritis symptoms, which are especially common in us.

I love food from that part of the world, so I eat it frequently. I haven't specifically tracked any health effects, but I can say that I don't have intestinal problems from it. (If you have IBS or other digestive problems, however, go slow like you would with any new food.)

I haven't cooked with turmeric yet, but I've been trying to cook more often lately, so it's on my list of things to try soon. I went poking around the About.com Food Channel and found some helpful articles:

You can find lots more recipes containing turmeric on these sites:

Do you cook with turmeric? How do you use it? Have you added turmeric to your diet for health reasons? Leave your comments below!

Learn more or join the conversation!

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Comments
June 9, 2010 at 7:04 am
(1) Margreet Asselbergs says:

An easy way to start using Tumeric if you have never used it, is in Nasi Koening, an indonesian rice, super easy to make and delicous! Just cook 2 cups of rinsed basmati rice in 3 1/4 cup of cold water + 1/4 cup of coconut milk + 1 large bay leaf + 1 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric + pinch of salt ; until rice is tender and slightly sticky dry, about 20 minutes or so. Leave lid on the pan and let it sit for a couple of minutes, remove the bay leaf and serve. Very fragrant and yummy! Can do it with brown rice as well, I would up the coconut milk vs water balance.

June 9, 2010 at 11:26 am
(2) frenchtulip says:

I have long heard about the possible health benefits of turmeric, especially in preventing Alzheimer’s. Recently, I am hearing it may help prevent cancer. With both Alzheimer’s and cancer in my family, I have started using turmeric in a variety of ways. About 1/8 teaspoon in hot water makes a nice tea. Turmeric can be added to pasta sauces, stir fry creations, soups, and potato, noodle and rice dishes. I even sprinkle some on fried eggs. Even eating a half teaspoon of prepared mustard each day can give you a dose of turmeric, so I have started using mustard much more frequently.

June 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm
(3) fogmom says:

I take tumeric/curcumin in tablet form, at my husbands urging. It doesn’t cause any indigestion. I didn’t know about the pepper, I’ll have to start eating that. I have noticed less bloating in my face and stomach area. I was wondering if it helped much when I looked in a mirror and noticed a radicl difference in my face and my stomach. I hadn’t lost weight I just looked healtier. The only side effect is I taste it sometimes and I crave curry.

June 9, 2010 at 10:10 pm
(4) Mary Landis says:

Most of these recipes are too exotic for my spice shelf and pantry, but I have always cooked my dried beans with cayanne, cumin and tumeric. It is a classic for red beans and rice. those spices work just as good in canned beans, too.Don’t forget the onions and hambone.

June 10, 2010 at 3:10 am
(5) KiwiRob says:

I make a point of having some turmeric every day, if not in a recipe then I add it to rice, or a garlic broth in winter. However, my mother finds it aggravates her IBS very badly & is unable to take it at all….

June 11, 2010 at 3:34 pm
(6) JEAN says:

I TAKE TUMERIC CAPSULES EVERY DAY AND SO FAR SO GOOD AS FAR AS DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS. THE ONLY THING I READ ABOUT TUMERIC IS THAT IS CAN THIN THE BLOOD SO IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH THAT OR ARE TAKING BLOOD THINNING MEDS, CHECK WITH YOUR DR. TO MAKE SURE YOU SHOULD TAKE IT. I DID NOTICE THAT IF I TAKE MORE TUMERIC SUPPLEMENTS THAT I BRUISE MORE EASILY.

June 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm
(7) Sue Ingebretson says:

Love, love, love this post! Healing from the inside out is wonderful!

June 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm
(8) Marie says:

I have used tumeric in various Indian dishes I have made over the years and enjoy the taste. However, as my interstitial cystitis has gotten progressively worse over the years, tumeric has caused so much bladder pain that i can no longer eat it. Watch for it in various other foods, like baked beans or ice cream. It is often used to color foods. Those of us sensitive to it have to watch out!!!

June 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm
(9) Linda says:

You can use small amounts of tumeric to make any food yellower. For instance, I don’t use all the yolks in egg salad and substitute tumeric for some color. You can do the same in mac and cheese, for tofu dishes, and other bland cheese foods. It will barely be tasted and will be there to help

June 11, 2010 at 6:48 pm
(10) Sharon says:

A lot of us cannot eat spicy foods including onion, garlic, pepper and any food with acidic fruits such as lemon juice, orange juice and vinegar. IBS plus GERD plus Fibro and CFS is hard for people who want some variety. Any suggestions????

April 26, 2012 at 1:08 am
(11) raisins25 says:

I toss turmeric as a marinade, in fish,meat, veggies for stir fry etc..It doesnt have any taste(if used in small propotions)..I was told that, you can have half a teaspoon of turmeric in a cup of warm milk, it can help congestion..
Best!
R

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