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Diet and Vital Nutrients

The motto of EcoPharmacist has always been ‘Emphasizing the importance of diet and vital nutrients—the natural disease-preventing “medicines” that people need daily.’  Easy translation for some is to look at it as, food as medicine.


Continuing education is exciting to me. Learning and exploring how we can ensure the food choices we make have a benefit to our bodies, is very empowering. Making educated choices feeds the soul with the same benefits. A recent area of intrigue is to dissect some of our household favorites, and maybe tweak them so that the emphasis of diet and vital nutrients is focused on.  In our house, foods from around the world are enjoyed. Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, American and Indian foods are just a few examples of the worlds we explore with our senses. Today I want to share a favorite that has been adapted from Cooking Lights August 2010 issue, called Fall Vegetable Curry with Basmati Cashew Rice. I have dissected a few of the nutritional variables in this dish, to give my soul a nod, and acknowledgment that this dish is good for us!


While this recipe has a variety of vital nutrients, I will focus on the curry powder benefits. The garbanzo beans, rice, cilantro, yogurt, onions and cashews all add another level of nutritional benefits, but the flavor boost of curry is also giving your body a great power of goodness.


Curry powder, the key ingredient in most Indian Curry dishes, can be a blend of up to 20 different herbs and spices, including the commonly used: cardamom, chiles, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mace, nutmeg, pepper, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, saffron, tamarind and tumeric (which gives curry its characteristic golden color).


Here are some reasons I found and repeat directly, through American Grandparents Association and, that make curry good for you:


Alzheimer’s prevention

Researchers from UCLA found that vitamin D3, taken with curcumin, may stimulate the immune system to get rid of the amino acids that form the plaque in the brain that’s associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers are also studying the link between curcumin and the low rate of Alzheimer’s in India, where curry is a diet staple. (The incidence of Alzheimer’s in India is a quarter of that in the United States.)


Cancer suppression

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reviewed studies that looked at the effect of curcumin on cancer. The researchers conclusion? That “it is quite apparent that curcumin has tremendous potential for prevention and therapy of a variety of cancers.” Another UCLA study has found that curcumin can trigger cancer-killing mechanisms found in human saliva. However, to get enough curcumin to achieve this effect, it must be taken in supplement form.


Reduced inflammation

Turmeric has been used for eons as a folk remedy anti-inflammatory, helping with muscle and joint aches. A University of Arizona study confirmed that the curcumin and other essential oils in turmeric can protect against joint deterioration and inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis. And a study on the effectiveness of ibuprofen over curcumin to ease pain found that surprisingly, the benefits were about the same for both the ibuprofen and the curcumin.


Reducing blood pressure

Chinese herbalists have used sweet basil, also found in curry, for centuries to bring down hypertension. A study out of Xinjiang Medical University, China, puts some science behind the folk remedy. Researchers found that basil affects levels of the proteins that constrict blood vessels. In addition, a study by the Indigenous Drug Research Center in India found that cardamom, another curry spice, also had a positive effect on those same proteins.


Protecting your bones

Turmeric may ward off osteoporosis, according to a different University of Arizona study. Researchers found that when female rats that had had ovaries removed were given curcuminoid-enriched turmeric extract, it prevented up to 50% of bone loss, and also preserved bone structure and connectivity.


Preventing food poisoning

Coriander, another curry spice, has been shown to destroy food-borne bacteria, preventing those nasty midnight runs to the bathroom. A study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology found that a solution made with coriander oil effectively killed several strains of bacteria including E coli.


Now its time to try this wonderful recipe and reap the benefits through body, mind and soul. Know you are eating good and doing your body good! ENJOY!


Fall Vegetable Curry with Basmati Cashew Rice

Taken from Cooking Light, October 2010

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup curry and 2 tablespoons yogurt)

Total time: 25 Minutes




1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup diced peeled sweet potato

1 cup small cauliflower florets

1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion

2 teaspoons Madras curry powder

1/2 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt

Cooked basmati cashew rice *



Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder (No Madras curry powder? Try 1 1/2 teaspoons regular curry and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper); cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with yogurt.


*Cook 1 cup basmati rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Stir in 1/4 cup unsalted cashew pieces and 1/4 teaspoon salt.


Picture taken from Cooking Light, October 2010

Posted in Food, Health & Wellness | September 17 th , 2015 | 0 Comments

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