LIFESTYLE NEWS - Turmeric is a spice that is generally associated with curries.
It can be bought as a ground spice or as a fresh root similar in appearance to fresh ginger. In fact, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is part of the ginger family.
Its extensive use in traditional Ayurvedic medicine has more recently raised significant interest in its health benefits outside of India.
Turmeric contains many active components, but one group, curcuminoids, has the greatest health-promoting benefits. Three of these are curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Of these, curcumin is the most active and most beneficial.
Curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant effects, but turmeric and curcumin have many health benefits in common.
Here are some of the areas in which both turmeric and curcumin supplements have shown clear benefits, backed by science:
Osteoarthritis: Plant compounds in turmeric that include curcumin can reduce markers of inflammation and thus relieve osteoarthritis symptoms.
Obesity: Turmeric and curcumin may inhibit the inflammatory pathway involved in obesity and may help regulate body fat.
Heart disease: Turmeric and curcumin can reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Diabetes: Turmeric and curcumin can improve blood sugar metabolism and potentially reduce the effects of diabetes on your body.
Liver: A study found that turmeric extract and curcumin were protective against chronic liver damage by helping reduce harmful oxidative stress.
Cancer: Though research is still in its early stages, turmeric and curcumin may reduce the activity of colon and other cancer cells.
Antifungal: Turmeric and curcumin can disrupt fungal cell membranes and could be used in conjunction with fungal medication for better outcomes.
Antibacterial: Turmeric and curcumin have strong antibacterial effects. They can reduce the growth of many disease-causing bacteria.
Add black pepper to increase bio-availability of curcumin
A helpful tip is to add some black pepper to your meals or supplements that contain curcumin. A substance in black pepper called piperine can increase the bio-availability of curcumin by 2 000 percent.
Choosing a supplement
- When choosing a supplement, it’s important to buy a formula that has been clinically tested and proven to be well absorbed.
- In a review on joint arthritis, turmeric extracts with 1 gram of curcumin per day showed the greatest benefit after 8 to 12 weeks.
- For those wanting to reduce their cholesterol, 700 mg of turmeric extract twice a day may help.
- One eight-week study found that 2.4 grams of turmeric powder combined with black seed powder or nigella seeds each day, reduced cholesterol, waist circumference and inflammation.