Diabetes Diet: The Amazing Benefits of Turmeric Curcumin
Those looking for help with managing or reversing pre-diabetes may have to look no further than their kitchen’s spice rack, or a drug store’s supplement aisle.
Research published in the Journal of the American Diabetes Association shows that curcumin - an active ingredient in the spice turmeric - has a significant effect on the progression of pre-diabetes.
In this randomized, double-blind study half of the pre-diabetic participants took a daily curcumin supplement, and half ingested a look-a-like placebo. After nine months:
- Sixteen percent of those in the placebo group had progressed from pre-diabetes to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
- No one in the curcumin supplement group progressed from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.
Those taking the curcumin enjoyed improved glucose tolerance, A1C levels, fasting blood sugars, insulin sensitivity, and pancreatic beta cell function.
Not Just For Pre-Diabetes
The supplement dosage in the pre-diabetes curcumin research was quite large. However, a similar study involving type 2 diabetes participants used a curcumin dose small enough to ingest through diet—about one teaspoon daily. Even with the lesser dose, participants experienced significant insulin and glucose improvements.
Researchers suspect that turmeric curcumin benefits blood sugar management by reducing the free fatty acids (FFAs) in our bloodstream. Too many FFAs lead to an accumulation of fat substances in our skeletal muscles and liver, triggering inflammation—and disrupting insulin signaling and glucose utilization.
While not a magic bullet, curcumin's fat-busting power may help some individuals prevent the onset of diabetes, and help others reach their target glucose and A1C goals. Fortunately, to enlist curcumin's aid, all that may be necessary is cooking more often with spice turmeric.
Getting More Curcumin
People frequently add turmeric to rice dishes and stews, but it’s a more versatile flavoring than most of us realize. Here are a few more ways to get this beneficial condiment into our daily fare:
- Breakfast: fry or scramble eggs in coconut oil or butter; add a generous sprinkle of turmeric, sea salt, and black pepper.
- Side dish: lightly stir-fry turmeric powder in ghee, or coconut oil. Mix the turmeric and oil mixture with some freshly prepared lentils. Season with black pepper, and serve.
- Snack: generously coat garbanzo beans with a mixture of turmeric powder, black pepper, sea salt, and cold-pressed olive oil, or coconut oil. Roast the beans in a medium oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Smoothie: make a paste by mixing turmeric over heat with ghee or coconut oil; add a liberal dash of black pepper. Blend this paste with a banana (half or whole), some raw honey, grated or powdered ginger, and fresh lemon juice.
- Tonic: boil some turmeric root; let the liquid cool a bit, and discard the root. Add honey, lemon or lime, a dash of ground turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper. Pour the liquid over ice, and enjoy.
Note that to reap the rewards of dietary curcumin three food preparation elements are required:
- Cooking heat.
- Piperine (a nutrient in black pepper).
- Healthy fats (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil, milk fat) to protect curcumin from stomach acids.
Keeping these preparation elements in mind, we can easily experiment with adding turmeric to some of our family’s favorite dishes.