Its deep yellow color is due to its active ingredient, curcumin, which is responsible for the most of its medicinal properties.
According to study abstracts at the National Library of Medicine, under the name MEDLINE, turmeric and its primary polyphenol – curcumin provide positive effects in the case of 600 health issues.
However, you must know some things concerning this spice before you decide to incorporate it into your regular diet:
- The body does not absorb it easily
Numerous clinical and animal studies have shown that the absorption of curcumin in the body is reduced, so its health benefits cannot be completely used.
To clarify this, it has been found that regardless of the dosage taken, its concentrations in the urine, blood plasma, and peripheral tissues, if detectable are extremely low.
Yet, there are some effective ways to increase its bioavailability:
- Its bioavailability is increased by heat
Dr. Sukumar explains:
“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
Black pepper is the best turmeric adjuvant, despite its own health benefits.
“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.”
The findings of a study under the name Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers pointed out that the combination of curcumin and piperine raises the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%.
- Add a Healthy Fat
Since it is fat-soluble, turmeric’s absorption is determined by fats. Therefore, if you combine it with fats, like olive, coconut, or ghee oil, it will be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system, bypassing the liver. This is due to the fact that the amounts of curcumin exposed to metabolic enzymes are reduced, and the rest remains in the system, in a free form.
Therefore, it is of high importance to be aware of these facts before you start using this miraculous spice. To activate it, you should heat it up. Then, mix it with some freshly ground black pepper, as that will boost its absorption by 2,000%. Additionally, mix it with some healthy fat, and you will prevent the metabolic processes in the liver.
The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that the recommended daily allowance for turmeric is as follows:
- Dried, powdered root: 1-3 g
- Cut root: 1.5-3g