Most of us have heard of turmeric and its many health benefits. This yellow spice has been used for centuries in cooking and as medicine. The medicinal benefits come about through its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which makes it potentially helpful in many medical conditions!
Unfortunately buying some turmeric from the supermarket and throwing it in your stirfry is not going to help with your arthritis pain. There are a couple of reasons for this.
What is in turmeric?
Turmeric itself isn’t what helps us. Turmeric is made up of many compounds. The compounds with health benefits are called curcuminoids and the main curcuminoid is called curcumin.
There isn’t much curcumin in turmeric however (only around 3%) which causes the first problem. A lot of turmeric would need to be consumed in order to get a high enough dose of curcumin.
The second problem is that curcumin is not absorbed in to the blood stream very well. There are some ways to get around this. Some manufacturers produce their supplements in a way to increase absorption. Having black pepper with turmeric greatly increases the amount that is absorbed and therefore makes it more effective. Curcumin is fat soluble which means that it is absorbed more easily if it is consumed with a fatty meal. Another great way to get a bit of turmeric in your diet is in drink form. Heat milk, dairy or nut milk, with turmeric and a pinch of black pepper to enjoy some turmeric benefits. As well as tasting great heating up the turmeric makes it more easily absorbed too!
On Wednesday I’ll look at the actual uses for turmeric.