What are turmeric and curcumin?
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow colour.
It has been used in India for thousands of years as both a spice and medicinal herb. Recently, science has started to back up traditional claims that turmeric contains compounds with medicinal properties.
These compounds are called curcuminoids. The most important one is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
Here are the top evidence-based health benefits of turmeric and curcumin
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with medicinal properties. However, the curcumin content of turmeric isn’t that high. It’s around 3%, by weight. Most of the studies on this herb use turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day.
It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using turmeric as a spice in your foods. That’s why some people choose to use supplements.
However, curcumin is poorly absorbed into your bloodstream. In order to experience the full effects of curcumin, its bioavailability (the rate at which your body absorbs a substance) needs to improve. It helps to consume it with black pepper, which contains piperine. Piperine is a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%.
In fact, the best curcumin supplements contain piperine, and this makes them substantially more effective. Curcumin is also fat soluble, which means it breaks down and dissolves in fat or oil. That’s why it may be a good idea to take curcumin supplements with a meal that’s high in fat.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Most studies use turmeric extracts that are standardized to include large amounts of curcumin. I advise to take a tablespoon a day ground or in tablet form found at most health food shops. If you have any joint issues or chronic pain this may help your condition.