The People's Perspective on Medicine

868 Food as Medicine

Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about:

A physician-chef finds that healthy eating is easier when the food tastes good. Food can have a powerful effect on our bodies. Even the herbs and spices in the kitchen cupboard can help us heal.

One of those spices, turmeric, is the subject of many studies of its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity. We speak with a top researcher about the power of turmeric against the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

We explore the stories behind the health headlines and answer listeners’ questions about food as medicine.

Guests: John La Puma, MD, is a board certified specialist in internal medicine at the Santa Barbara Institute for Medical Nutrition and Healthy Weight. He is also a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago and has pioneered the use of food as medicine. His books include RealAge Diet and ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine. His website is The photo is of Dr. La Puma.

Eat and Cook Healthy with Dr John La Puma

Dr. La Puma on Facebook

Dr. La Puma’s free recipe and advice newsletter sign up

Paging Dr. La Puma blog with links to books and products

Ajay Goel, PhD, is Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at the Baylor Research Institute in Dallas, TX. His research on BCM-95 curcumin for rheumatoid arthritis was published online in Phytotherapy Research March 9, 2012.

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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A caller said: “…in chemistry, one acid usually neutralizes another”. I don’t think so. One acid will ADD to the acidity of another. Apple cider vinegar will add to the acidity of the stomach, not reduce it. The mechanism of that helping heartburn is requested.
Sincerely, Russ S.

How much turmeric is needed daily to obtain its myriad benefits? My best estimate is that 1Tbsp turmeric = 250mg of curcumin, which I believe is an adequate amount. I add to the 1Tbsp turmeric, 1tsp ground black pepper to aid in the gut absorption of turmeric, and 1tsp of ground cloves (ORAC of 320,000 units) as an additional antioxidant, and 2tsp of EV olive oil which kills the very strong taste of the mixed spices.
In the Wikipedia report on turmeric, it says in the Bioavailability section: “Alternatively, dissolving curcumin in warm oils prior to ingestion increases bioavailability;” and “The poor stability in aqueous solution as opposed to high stability in lipid solutions argues that cooking with curcumin and oil may increase absorption. Curcumin is not stable in water because it is prone to hydrolysis, that convert it to vanillin and ferulic acid”. I chase the above elixir with sips of warm water.
I’m 67 and my main concern is reversing BPH (which I believe will turn into prostate cancer, if left untreated).

Can you please tell me the names of the commercially available products that contain bcm-95 turmeric – the form of turmeric that was recommended by Dr. Ajay Goel PhD, Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor Research Institute, who spoke recently on the People’s Pharmacy show?
Thank you.

I love your show and especially loved this one as I’ve always told everyone who would listen that you are what you eat! So, this show was especially validating and helpful. It would be wonderful to hear from Dr. LaPuma with more specific tips like the one he shared today about eating turmeric with black pepper for better absorption. I’ve been taking regular turmeric from the grocery store for several years, but now I’ll add the black pepper to make it even more healthful. Thanks for a wonderful, informative, and enjoyable show!

Drinking an ice cold beverage through a straw sometimes relieves headache pain. The straw focuses more of the cold liquid to the roof of the mouth.
An ice pack on one side of the head and heating pad on the other, switching sides every 15-20 minutes relieves headache pain.

carrots are sweet when the soil they are grown in is cool and moist. if they have been grown over hot months they will be bitter. different varieties can be sweeter. try a Nantes variety.

I was just thinking about the last time I had a really sweet carrot! Even the organic ones are at best tasteless, and often all carrots are bitter. Tomatoes that I used to pick from my garden were sweet and wonderful to eat off the vine. I cannot find any so good in the stores. What happened to our veggies? I used to have the neighborhood kids pick green beans and cherry tomatoes from my garden and eat them with gusto. If the raw veggies tasted better, I would not have to put so many spices, and butter on them.

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