An extraordinary study published in the journal of American Diabetes Association looked at the benefits of curcumin, an extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes, half of the subjects got supplements of curcumin, the yellow pigment in the spice turmeric and curry powder, while the other half got identical-looking placebos, and the researchers followed them for nine months to see who ended up with diabetes.
After nine months of treatment, 16 percent of subjects in the placebo group went on to get full-blown diabetes. How many in the curcumin group? None. The curcumin group saw a significant improvement in fasting blood sugars, glucose tolerance, hemoglobin A1C, insulin sensitivity and pancreatic insulin-producing beta cell function.
What if you already have diabetes? Another study found the same beneficial effects — and at a fraction of the dose. The pre-diabetes study mentioned above used the equivalent of a quarter of a cup of turmeric a day, whereas this other study used only about a teaspoon worth, which is doable through diet rather than supplements.
What is particularly interesting here is the purported mechanism: Fat in the bloodstream plays an important role in the development of insulin resistance and ultimately type 2 diabetes. Fat builds up inside your muscle cells and gums up the works and all the inflammation this causes interferes with insulin signaling. However, curcumin decreases fat levels in the blood, making this the first study to show that these turmeric herb compounds may have an anti-bacterial effect.
So, if you are pre-diabetic, it might be a good idea to add turmeric to your diet, but it’s important to recognize that pre-diabetes is a disease in itself, increasing the risk of death, cancer, heart disease, and vision loss. So, it’s not enough to just prevent progression to full-blown diabetes when pre-diabetes may be cured completely with a healthy plant-based diet.
Those who abuse their bodies with unhealthy diets can lower their risk by eating powerful plants, but of course, it is better to cut out the poor dietary content completely. Indeed, if just one plant can have that effect, what about a whole diet composed of plants?
Dr Greger has more material on Plant-Based Diets and Diabetes, and How may Plants Protect Against Diabetes?
—Michael Greger M.D. FACLM, July 3, 2018
Turmeric is a perennial flowering herb of the ginger family. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia.
Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes. When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled in water for about 30-45 minutes and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground in to a deep orange-yellow powder, commonly used for colouring and flavouring in many Asian cuisines, especially curries. It is also used as a dye. Turmeric powder has a warm, bitter, pepper-like flavour and earthy, mustard-like aroma.
Turmeric powder is approximately 60-70% carbohydrate, 6-13% water, 6-8% protein, 5-10% fat, 3-7% dietary minerals, 3-7% essential oils, 2-7% dietary fibre and 1-6% curcuminoids.
Phyto-chemical components of turmeric include diarylheptanoids, a class including numerous curcuminoids, such as curcumin, demethoxycircumin and bisdemethoxycircumin.
Circumin constitues up to 3.14% of assayed commercial samples of turmeric powder (average is 1.51%)
Some 34 essential oils are present in turmeric, among which tumerone, germacrone, altantone and zingiberene being the major constituents.
Recipe of the Month
Tasty Tamale Bake
||1 t turmeric
1 t onion powder (opt)
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can whole corn
1 c cooked beans*
2 t celtic salt
1 c soya milk
1¾ c polenta (cornmeal)
Place in saucepan the first ten ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients in order given and mix well together. Simmer until thickened, then place into oiled dish 23x33cm. Cover with tin foil and bake for one hour at 180°C.
Note: * Black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, sprouted beans, etc.