I came across the health benefits of turmeric earlier last year and began to incorporate it into my diet. Initially, I was taking the capsule form then later decided to try the powder form. I would use the powder by adding it into cereals, oatmeal, or hot chocolate. I didn’t think there was much of a difference with taking turmeric in either a capsule or powder form, as well as the foods I consume it with, until I came across a youtube video which summarized interesting studies conducted at Texas A&M University and the University College London pertaining to turmeric and its main ingredient, curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric which is a strong antioxidant with very powerful anti-inflammatory effects. However, our bodies cannot absorb most of it, because “our liver may think curcumin is a foreign substance so it makes it water soluble to get rid of it.” Good news is consuming just a quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper can inhibit that process in the liver, and boost the amount of curcumin in our bodies to receive its powerful health benefits. Even 1/20th of a teaspoon of black pepper with turmeric can significantly make a difference.
Another way to enhance cucumin absorption is to eat turmeric with a source of fat. According to Dr. Robert Chapkin, Texas A&M AgriLife Senior Faculty Fellow and Regents Professor in the department of nutrition and food science, work initiated by Eunjoo Kim, a graduate student in his lab, showed that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have synergistic effects when combined with curcumin in dramatically reducing colon cancer risk. Prevention of colon cancer and possibly other cancers, as well as the removal of DNA damaged cells, is much more enhanced when both omega 3 fatty acids and curcumin are combined.
When it comes to increasing the activeness of cancer fighting genes in our cells, a study conducted at the University College London by Professor Martin Widschwendter and his team concluded that adding turmeric, in its powder form, to our foods can do just that. A hundred participants, split into three groups, were given turmeric. One group received it as a capsule (1 tsp), other group in its placebo form, and the other in its powder form (1 tsp). They all had blood samples taken at the start of the experiment and at the end, after 6 weeks, and used a teaspoon a day in their food. Those taking the capsules and placebo saw no change, however those taking the powder form saw a cancer fighting gene in their cells become significantly more active.
So, to stimulate the effectiveness of curcumin in our bodies, make sure to add the powder form into your food, and consume it with black pepper or fats rich in omega 3 fatty acids like chia seeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and salmon, just to name a few. Also, some milks, yogurts, and cheeses, are now fortified with omega 3- fatty acids so you can sprinkle some turmeric on these foods as well. Enjoy!
Gunnars, Kris. “10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin.” Authority Nutrition. N.p., 18 Aug. 2016. Web.
Nadiap. “Texas A&M AgriLife Researchers Develop Dietary Cancer Prevention Strategies Related to Stem Cells.” Nutrition. Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 02 June 2016. Web.
Newcastle University. “Spice of Life.” Press Office. N.p., 27 Sept. 2016. Web.
80/10/10 In London. “The Reason Why Turmeric Doesn’t Work!” Online Video Clip. Youtube, 07 Dec. 2016. Web.