Turmeric is well known for the numerous health benefits it provides. It is probably the most popular and healthiest spice in the world. It contains curcumin which is an active compound that provides the beneficial properties of this spice.
As shown by the study abstracts at the National Library of Medicine, under the name MEDLINE, turmeric and curcumin, its major polyphenol, are beneficial in the case of 600 health issues. Still, there are some things you need to take into consideration prior to including this spice into your daily diet:
Curcumin is not Easily Absorbed in the Body
It has been scientifically shown that the absorption/ bioavailability of curcumin is quite low, meaning that its health benefits cannot be entirely used.
More specifically, it has been shown that its concentrations are extremely low, regardless of the dosage taken as well as its concentrations in the blood plasma, urine, and peripheral tissues. The good news is that there are a few ways to boost its bioavailability!
According to Dr. Sukumar: “The potent ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which, despite its power, is not easily absorbed by the body without assistance. This is where the sauté pan and a little warm oil come into play. I use it [turmeric] in every sauté, just a quarter teaspoon, a half teaspoon is enough. But you don’t have to use it sparingly – use it lavishly. The better way to take it, I feel, is to use it in your cooking very extensively. If you have any sauté, just sprinkle it in. The moment you heat oil and add turmeric to it, it now becomes completely bioavailable to you.”
Add Black Pepper
Even though black pepper provides many health benefits alone, it is turmeric`s best adjuvant. As reported by NutritionFacts: “If people are given a bunch of turmeric curcumin, within an hour there’s a little bump in the level in their blood stream. We don’t see a large increase because our liver is actively trying to get rid of it. But what if the process is suppressed by taking just a quarter teaspoon’s worth of black pepper? Then you see curcumin levels skyrocket.
The same amount of curcumin consumed, but the bioavailability shoots up 2000%. Even just a little pinch of pepper—1/20th of a teaspoon—can significantly boost levels. And guess what a common ingredient in curry powder is besides turmeric? Black pepper.” According to the results obtained from a study under the name Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers, the combination of curcumin and piperine increases curcumin`s bioavailability by 2000%.
Add a Healthy Fat
Given the fact that turmeric is fat-soluble, its absorption depends on fats. This means that combining it with healthy fats like ghee, coconut, or olive oil, it will be directly absorbed in the bloodstream, bypassing the liver. The amounts of curcumin exposed to metabolic enzymes are significantly reduced while the rest remains in the system.
It is very important to take the aforementioned facts into consideration prior to incorporating turmeric in your daily diet. To activate curcumin, you should heat it up. To boost its absorption by up to 2,000 %, you should combine it with freshly ground black pepper. Ultimately, to prevent metabolic processes in the liver, mix turmeric with healthy fats.
According to the University Of Maryland Medical Center, the recommended daily allowance of turmeric is:
- Dried, powdered root: 1-3 g
- Cut root: 1.5-3g