Turmeric Haldi – The Golden Root Explored

Welcome again to the Vanguard Gastroenterology Nutrition blog, where we aim to provide education and tips on a healthy lifestyle. Our subjects will vary from nutrition to medications and disease states. Today, we will discuss what has become the golden child (literally) of the anti-inflammatory club. Turmeric is a compilation of different curcuminoids, with curcumin being the most studied. It has been used for centuries in Indian food and adds to the color and aesthetics of dishes.

Within the GI community, there are numerous ailments that that are targets of curcumin- from fatty liver disease to colon cancer.

Curcumin has been widely studied and one mechanism of its anti-inflammatory benefits involves the suppression of the pro-inflammatory NFK-beta pathway. This is associated with many disease states, including fatty liver disease, colon cancer, and biliary disease.

Aggarwal, et al, (2010) showed that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties can actually downregulate the interleukins and enzymes that cause insulin resistance. What this means is that curcumin can help with decreasing the negative aspects of adipose (or fat) tissues and the causes of fatty changes in the body, including fatty liver disease. Some animal studies also show that there is an improvement in glucose control and cholesterol.

Why does this matter? Well, any state of chronic inflammation makes cells misbehave and can lead to complications.

Of note, oil helps with the absorption of curcumin. Our recipe includes some oil, but you can rest assured there is a purpose!

Lentil Daal – A Family Recipe

What You need:

  • 2 cups of red or yellow lentils
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 fresh cilantro bunch
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric powder (I prefer 2 teaspoons, but base this on your palate)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teapoons red chili powder
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon shredded fresh ginger
  • ½ a red onion (if desired)
  • Pressure cooker or a large pot
  • 4 cups of water (depending on what consistency you want, this can vary.
  • 2 teaspoon of olive oil or avocado oil


  1. Thoroughly wash the lentils so that the water starts becoming clear. Put aside and allow to soak.
  2. Sautee cumin seeds and onions in oil. Next add the shredded ginger to the mix.
  3. Add water and lentils to pot. Allow to cook for 30-45 minutes on medium heat. This is where you have to take a chance and check how soft the lentils are. If needed add more water and continue to heat. I like allowing the lentils to cook until very soft.
  4. Add spices (you can include actual chili peppers, carrots, or celery).
  5. Wash the cilantro and cut into small pieces.
  6. Once the daal is soft and seasoned top with cilantro.
  7. This can be served alone or with brown basmati rice!