You Say Curcumin, I say Turmeric.
Whatever You Call It, Here’s why You Need to be Taking it.
It’s the yellow substance that gives curry its deep color. Turmeric, a rhizome, is part of the ginger family. Curcumin is the major active component in turmeric. Now that we’ve got that solved, did you know there are over 7,000 studies researching the efficacy of turmeric for everything from its anti-inflammatory properties to brain health benefits? Here’s a breakdown of the research:
- Curcumin can inhibit many molecules known to play major roles in inflammation.
- Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone Brain-derived Neurotropin Factor, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
- Curcumin has beneficial effects on the heart. It improves endothelium functioning and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.
- Curcumin leads to several changes on the molecular level that may help prevent and perhaps even treat cancer.
- Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to lead to various improvements in some cases of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
- A study in 60 depressed patients showed that curcumin was as effective as prozac in alleviating the symptoms of depression.
How to increase the efficacy of turmeric
Certain ingredients can increase the bioavailability of curcumin, the anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric. They are:
Quercetin, a bioflavenoid inhibits an enzyme that decreases the activity of curcumin.
Black pepper contains the potent alkaloid piperine, which has been shown to increase the bio-availability of curcumin up to 150%.
Fatty acids, like olive oil or coconut oil, have been shown to increase the bioavailability of turmeric.
You can take turmeric in supplement form, dried powder or grated fresh. Here are a few recipes to get you going.