Much has been written about the health benefits of turmeric, but did you also know turmeric can reduce oxidative stress and liver damage caused by haemochromatosis?
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma Longa plant (part of the ginger family) and, with its bright orange flesh, has long been used in eastern medicine as a powerful anti inflammatory. In more recent times, science has confirmed what followers of Chinese and Indian medicine have known for centuries – turmeric really does contain compounds with enduring medicinal properties thanks to the presence of its beneficial compound, curcumin.
Here are four reasons why anyone with haemochromatosis should add more turmeric to their diet:
- Iron Binding – the curcumin within turmeric has been found to be an iron chelator, meaning it actually helps to remove iron from the body. Like drinking tannin rich tea, consuming turmeric has also been found to bind iron in your system, thereby inhibiting the amount of iron absorbed by the body in the first place.
- Improved Liver Function – high levels of iron in the body caused by haemochromatosis can lead to liver toxicity and cirrhosis. The liver is one of the hardest working organs in our body, playing a vital role in converting the food we eat into essential nutrients, aiding the digestive system, neutralising harmful toxins and helping to boost immunity. When our liver is not working as it should, however, toxins in the body can be pushed back into the blood stream damaging cells, leading to poor memory and immune function and enhancing fatigue. Cirrhosis of the liver is heightened in people with haemochromatosis due to the build up of iron in the liver, and for this reason, there is also a greater risk of liver cancer. Thankfully there is some good news, as recent studies on the effect of turmeric on the liver have found that curcumin actively reduces liver damage and oxidization associated with iron overload disease, inhibiting free radical damage. You can read more about the importance of maintaining a healthy liver when managing haemochromatosis here.
- Anti Inflammatory – turmeric is one of the best known natural anti inflammatory spices and, containing more than twenty anti inflammatory compounds, has traditionally been used over many centuries as a remedy for various forms of arthritis. For this reason, consuming turmeric is also beneficial in overcoming joint pain and inflammation associated with haemochromatosis. In fact, research has found turmeric to be as effective as over the counter drugs without the nasty side effects (ulcers, stomach problems and further pressure on the kidneys and liver to name a few).
- Antioxidant – studies have also found curcumin to be a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are our body’s best defense against cell damage, which can lead to a number of chronic diseases. The antioxidant properties in turmeric improve heart health by preventing the build up of collagen around heart cells arising from inflammation, preserves memory associated with Alzheimer’s disease by reducing the build up of amyloid protein plaques in the brain, strengthens the immune system and helps to slow down the ageing process.
Turmeric really is Mother Nature’s healer, so be sure to look for new ways to incorporate this essential spice into your diet today – mix it through cooked brown rice or quinoa, enjoy a turmeric chai tea or indulge in a variety of curries, such as my Indian inspired Healthy Liver Fish Curry.
However you choose to do it, adding turmeric to your diet is one of the best moves you can make towards optimal haemochromatosis health. Enjoy!
- 5cm piece of fresh turmeric
- 5cm piece of fresh ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 small red chilli, chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 red capsicum, sliced
- 20 curry leaves
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 400ml can Light & Creamy Coconut Flavoured Evaporated Milk (or coconut cream)
- 700g rockling fish, diced into large chunks
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- Handful of baby spinach
- Salt and pepper
- Brown rice or quinoa to serve
- 1. Place turmeric, ginger, garlic, chilli, coconut oil and onion in a food processor and pulsate until a thick paste forms. You can add some hot water if needed to bring the curry paste together.
- 2. Heat a large saucepan and add the curry paste, along with a pinch of salt to prevent the paste from burning. Cook gently for 2 minutes.
- 3. Add the curry leaves and spices and cook for a further minute.
- 4. Add Evaporated Milk and bring to a simmer before adding the fish. Simmer for 3 minutes.
- 5. Add the frozen peas, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir through baby spinach.
- 6. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.
- You can also add additional vegetables if you wish, such as zucchini, okra or broccoli.