Turmeric is a spice, often found in curry, that has been used for medicinal purposes by the Indians for thousands of years.
Over recent years, the amount of scientific studies claiming positive health benefits from curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) has risen significantly.
What Are The Health Benefits of Curcumin?
Anti-inflammatory – longer term, or chronic inflammation can play a significant part in the onset of most diseases. Many studies are showing that curcumin helps to inhibit pro-inflammatory effects.
Antioxidant – curcumin’s chemical properties appear to reduce the free radicals that can cause oxidisation and lead to diseases and ageing, as well as promoting beneficial enzymes
Brain Function – several studies are showing that curcumin increases the level of BDNF – a hormone that both increases neurons in the brain and helps fight off degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Diseases – apart from those already mentioned, various studies on curcumin have shown positive results in relation to cancer, heart attack, stroke, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, IBD, crohn’s disease, psoriasis, gallstones and more.
What’s The Best Way to Obtain Curcumin?
Curcumin on it’s own seems to be fairly poorly absorbed by the body.
It’s claimed that piperine, a substance found in black pepper, can improve the absorption rate of curcumin by anything up to 2000%.
The other well known method is to eat it with fatty foods, as curcumin is fat-soluble and therefore taken up more effectively when eaten with fat.
In commercially produced powder form, curcumin’s effects tend to be fairly weak in terms of treating specific diseases or improving a particular health condition. I’d recommend anyone looking to fully utilise the benefits of curcumin to consider buying a curcumin or turmeric supplement, which should contain a significantly higher extract.
Using Turmeric Powder in Food
A few ideas that work well:
- added to rice
- sprinkled into greens such as cabbage or kale
- added to roasted vegetables
- in soups to add a warming edge
- goes well with egg based dishes
- to spice up a smoothie recipe
- as part of a chicken marinade