Commonly used in traditional Asian and Indian cuisine, turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been a staple in kitchens all over the globe for hundreds of years.1 And though it’s most known for the earthy warm flavor it gives to curry or the deep marigold color it adds to your plate, turmeric is more than just a spice.
Cultivated from the roots of the turmeric plant, this antioxidant-rich seasoning has been used medicinally to alleviate arthritis, gastrointestinal discomfort, and skin irritations.1 It’s believed curcumin, the same component giving turmeric its vibrant color, is also the active element responsible for its therapeutic potential. Rich in antioxidants and capable of inhibiting abnormal cell growth, curcumin may be a promising option in tumor therapy and thus, uterine fibroid relief.
Curcumin: Suppressing Tumor Growth
Tumors form when intricate cell cycles are disrupted and abnormal cells replicate and grow. This is true whether the abnormal cells originate in the liver, for example, or the uterus. Uterine fibroids are the most common benign tumor among women and although their exact etiology is unknown, novel discoveries are being made in hopes of understanding the mechanism behind their growth. The more we understand, the more doors we open for effective treatment options.
A study published in Gynecological Endocrinology showed curcumin suppressing fibroid cell replication by interacting with Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-Gamma (PPARg). PPARg is a cell receptor that plays a role in controlling the cell cycle and cell division. It also has been found to suppress inflammation.2, 3
In order for PPARg to be active, it needs to bind to other molecules. Once this happens, it can then influence cell behavior.3 In laboratory trials, the authors of the study found curcumin activated PPARg by binding to it. Doing so inhibited replication and growth of uterine fibroid cells. Curcumin and PPARg interaction also induced apoptosis, or programmed cell death, of fibroid cells.2
Although this area of research is in its infancy and is limited to in vitro trials, it shows promise in the field of natural alternatives for treating uterine fibroids.
Turmeric In the Kitchen
Feeding your body nutrient-rich foods is a safe and proactive way to treat and prevent disease—especially when there’s research to support it.
Spicy Mumbai Chickpea Crisps
Turmeric, curry, ginger, and garlic flavor this fiber-packed vibrant snack. Perfect for a quick nibble or to entertain company, this recipe will satisfy your crunchy cravings—Mumbai style.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (if you cook your own beans, this equates to 3 cups)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon sea salt
Optional: fresh cilantro, minced (for garnish)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. For even baking, make sure the oven wrack is positioned in the center.
Spread the chickpeas on a clean kitchen linen. Gently dry the chickpeas and transfer them to a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, ground ginger, garlic granules, onion powder, turmeric, curry, cayenne pepper, coriander, and cinnamon.
Drizzle the spice and oil mixture over the chickpeas and thoroughly coat (hands work best!). Spread the chickpeas evenly on a cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour, gently shaking the chickpeas every 15-20 minutes to avoid sticking.
When chickpeas have been baking for 30 minutes, remove them from the oven and drizzle with coconut oil. Toss to coat. Bake for the remaining 30 minutes or until done.
Chickpeas will be crunchy and a gorgeous golden brown. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before enjoying. Sprinkle with sea salt and garnish with fresh cilantro. Bon appétit!
Kitchen Tip: Chickpeas will be crunchier if you allow them to cool completely.
Nutrition Facts (per 1/4 cup serving): 197 calories, 23g carbohydrates, 9g fat, 7g protein, 318mg sodium, 4g sugar
Recipe by Alicia Armeli
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Alicia Armeli has a Master of Science in Nutrition and Whole Foods Dietetics (MSN/DPD) and is a registered dietitian nutritionist, a certified dietitian, and a holistic life coach. In addition to writing, she enjoys singing, traveling abroad and volunteering with her local animal shelter.
1. Natural Medicines. (2014). Turmeric (Professional Monograph). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from https://naturalmedicines-therapeuticresearch-com.proxy.heal-wa.org/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=662
2. Tsuiji, K.,Takeda, T., Li, B., Wakabayashi, A., Kondo, A., Kimura, T., & Yaegashi, N. (2011). Inhibitory effect of curcumin on uterine leiomyoma cell proliferation. Gynecological Endocrinology, 27(7): 512-517. doi:10.3109/09513590.2010.507287
3. UniProt Consortium. (2015). Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.uniprot.org/uniprot/P37231