Updated: Feb 22, 2019
There has been so much research into curcumin, a compound in turmeric. Curcumin is one of three curcuminoids found in turmeric. Curcuminoids are the natural polyphenols that give turmeric the vibrant bright yellow colour (you know, the one that can be so hard to get out of cream coloured worktops!!).
It has been found to be antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, antioxidant, and is protective for the liver, the heart and digestion. Studies suggest it may help with many diseases.
For example, the research suggests it may be beneficial for arthritis, heart disease, depression, cancer, alzheimers disease, IBD and vitiligo (plus many more). You can read more about the therapeutic uses from the references at the bottom.
The curcumin in turmeric is one of the most super of superfoods, and one of the most researched compounds out there!
However, the bioavailability of curcumin by itself is actually quite low (only about 3%). So if you are hoping to use it therapeutically there are a couple of things that you can do to increase its bioavailability.
Studies have shown that by adding piperin (the alkaloid in black pepper) you can increase its bioavailability by 2000%. That is a HUGE difference! It works as an adjuvant by blocking a metabolic pathway, thus making it more bioavailable. Make sure to use freshly ground black pepper, and not the pre-ground stuff!
Curcumin is also hydrophobic (fat soluble). Its absorption is therefore improved when there is fat present.
When you think that traditional Indian cooking uses both fat, and black pepper with the dishes containing turmeric, then it is easy to see the therapeutic side of your curry! Is it a coincidence that India has such low rates of Alzheimers disease?
If you are planning to supplement with turmeric you should consult your doctor or health advisor first if you have any health conditions or are pregnant.
Here is a recipe for golden paste:
I like to make a batch of golden paste, and spoon it in to smoothies or use to make golden tea as and when needed. Although you can't beat a good homemade curry! :)
The paste can be kept in the fridge for a week or two:
35g of coconut oil
Half a teaspoon fresh black pepper
Whisk the turmeric and water together and then bring to a simmer in a pan.
Simmer for about 3 - 5 mins
You should keep stirring until you get a thick paste. (a bit like making a roux for those who like cooking!)
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the coconut oil, and freshly ground black pepper.
Whisk together, cool down, and store in the fridge for use as and when needed.
Try using the golden paste to to make this Golden Tea or add it to your smoothies.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535097 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918523 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752 http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/alzheimers-dementia/by-country