Getting to know turmeric and curcumin

Turmeric is a spice that is commonly used in Southeast Asian and Asian cuisines as well as Ayurvedic medicine. Taken from the roots of the turmeric plant, this spice adds a vibrant orange hue that is hard to miss when added into food. Its earthy and peppery taste adds a layer of richness to food. While it has many uses in cooking, turmeric is also widely used in medicine. 

Curcumin, the most active compound found in turmeric, has many health benefits for our bodies like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Benefits of curcumin

Inflammation is part of the body’s defense mechanism and happens when your body is fighting against things that can harm it. Prolonged inflammation can lead to acute and chronic inflammation. If this condition is left untreated, it will damage your healthy cells, tissues and organs—eventually leading to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring.1

These issues are linked to several diseases, including obesity, asthma, arthritis, heart diseases and cancer. Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory compound that can help prevent these diseases. It fights inflammation at a molecular level and matches the effectiveness of some inflammatory medicine, without the side effects.2

Free radicals can cause various health issues, including deterioration to the eye lens,  joint inflammation, high blood pressure, neurodegenerative diseases, accelerated aging, increased risk of coronary heart diseases and cancer. Curcumin’s potent antioxidant effects can protect our body from free radicals, stimulate our bodies’ antioxidant defenses and prevent oxidative stress from happening.3

Enhancing the absorption of curcumin

Even though curcumin has a lot of health benefits, it is, however, poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. We may be consuming a lot of turmeric in our diet, but we might not be fully getting its benefits. 

To enhance the absorption of curcumin, you should mix turmeric with black pepper when cooking. This aromatic black spice contains piperine, a bioactive compound similar to capsaicin which is the active component found in chili and cayenne pepper. Piperine also has various positive effects. Not only does it have anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help relieve nausea, headaches and poor digestion. Research has shown that piperine in black pepper can boost the absorption of curcumin in turmeric by up to 2,000%.4

So how does black pepper help with the absorption of curcumin? 

Piperine helps curcumin to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. It also helps slow down the breakdown of curcumin by the liver.4

Recipes for turmeric and black pepper

In many curry recipes, you’ll find turmeric an important component. In Indian culture, it is common to consume turmeric and black pepper in tea along with honey, ginger, coconut oil and olive oil. 

Grab your pots and give these tasty turmeric and black pepper recipes a try!

1. Turmeric and Black Pepper Roasted Cauliflower 

For a healthy quick snack, you could try roasted cauliflower tossed in turmeric and black pepper. The recipe is fairly easy to make. 

Mix two teaspoons of turmeric with half a teaspoon of black pepper and a little bit of salt. Coat half a head of chopped cauliflower in a drizzle of oil (grapeseed or olive), then toss them into the spice mixture. Make sure that the cauliflower florets are evenly coated in the spice mixture. Lastly, spread the cauliflower evenly on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and put it in a preheated oven (at 180°C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Golden Milk

If you’re wondering how to make a turmeric and black pepper drink, this recipe is for you. You will need milk, turmeric, black pepper and a combination of your favourite spices - a common tasty combination includes cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. 

Blend or whisk all the ingredients together and warm it up over the stove for 15 minutes. Let it simmer slowly and do not let it boil. 

Or, if you want something fast and easy, you could skip the cooking by drinking NeeFlex. With ingredients like curcumin, hydrolyzed collagen, piperine, moringa, cat’s claw, vitamin C, and zinc-enriched yeast, NeeFlex can relieve joint-related pain while protecting and rebuilding joint cartilage. Live a prosperous life and enjoy lifelong benefits with NeeFlex. 

Reference:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-inflammation
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/oxidative-stress#effects
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/turmeric-and-black-pepper