Thursday, 14 July 2011

Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Arthritis:Turmeric

First and foremost, food should be tasty. But, some ingredients go beyond tasty and have chemical components that may help your arthritis. Certain vegetables, herbs and spices are packed with phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that can help reduce arthritis inflammation. Some are well-established and others are just beginning to be studies. I sort the fact from the fiction for some of the key ones touted to help arthritis in the 'Arthur Investigates' series of posts and let you know how they can help and how to incorporate them into your diet through cooking tips and recipes.
Turmeric – Today 'Arthur' is investigating turmeric.Traditionally used in Aruyvedic medicine to treat arthritis, this bright yellow spice has shown some success in easing inflammation in both inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid, psoriatic and ankylosing spondylitis and osteoarthrtitis) mainly thanks to a chemical in it called curcumin. 

In animal and laboratory studies of rheumatoid arthritis, turmeric extract has been shown to reduce inflammatory chemicals and slow joint destruction. Similarly there have been some studies showing it could also help reduce the inflammatory response in osteoarthritis. However, there have been very few trials on whether supplements help patients with arthritis and there isn't enough evidence at the moment to recommend taking turmeric supplements.

As a spice, turmeric is safe to eat and worth adding to your food for the taste alone as well as it's potential anti-inflammatory properties.Try adding a teaspoon to your rice to turn it bright yellow and accompany a curry. It's good in root vegetable soups to add a subtle, smoky spiciness. Turmeric is also fantastic in stir-fries, particularly singapore noodles or sweet and sour chicken dishes. You can find all my recipes using turmeric here
(A word of warning, turmeric turns anything and everything neon yellow! If you spill it on your work top or yourself, wipe it off with a good cleaning product immediately - you have been warned!).

For further information on turmeric, I recommend the excellent Medline resource here.

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