Turmeric is a powerful medicinal spice with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But there are some key facts to know to really get all of the health benefits you’re after! Let’s take a closer look at some must-know facts about turmeric…
Note: This post is sponsored by iHerb though all thoughts and opinions are of course my own. I ONLY work with companies whose products I genuinely trust and believe in. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to continue offering free content to Body Unburdened readers!
Turmeric has really risen to fame in recent years.
Heck, Starbucks even just released a turmeric latte! I guess this means turmeric is now as popular as coffee and unicorns (remember the sugar-dish known as The Unicorn Frappe!?).
Though turmeric may be a new addition to the Starbucks menu, this bright orange root spice has actually been used for thousands of years as a key medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine.
For so many reasons we’ll soon discuss, turmeric is definitely a great addition to your health routine and simple way to give your body a boost. BUT there are some important things to know so that you can really get all of the wonderful health benefits you’re after.
5 Must-Know Facts About Turmeric
1. Turmeric has a wide range of well-studied health benefits.
No, turmeric isn’t just some superfood du jour that’s all talk with little evidence to back it up. Studies have shown…
- Turmeric acts as a potent antioxidant and boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes
- Turmeric reduces inflammation by blocking a specific enzyme that causes inflammation
- Turmeric protects cells from free-radical damage, potentially helping to prevent cancer
- Turmeric improves skin health by calming inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, and dermatitis, and protecting skin from age-accelerating free-radical damage
- Turmeric boosts brain health by supporting healthy levels of a hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is key for long-term cognitive function
- Turmeric has been used to treat inflammatory bowel conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and colitis
- Turmeric eases joint pain, such as from arthritis (my mom actually swears by it for helping to reduce her arthritis pain and swelling)
- Turmeric protects the heart by reducing inflammation and improving endothelial function (endothelial dysfunction promotes atherosclerosis)
Yes, that’s A LOT of very impressive benefits all packaged into one spice!
2. Turmeric really owes its fame to curcumin.
It’s well known that majority of turmeric’s health benefits are thanks to curcumin, a specific compound found in turmeric.
3. Turmeric only contains 3% curcumin by weight.
Needless to say, 3% is not very much!
4. Most of the studies examining the health benefits turmeric were done using a curcumin extract.
So we can’t expect the same results by simply sprinkling some turmeric onto some of our dishes.
5. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream.
However, there are ways to boost absorption (more on this in just a bit!).
So how can you get all of the wonderful health benefits of turmeric and curcumin?
1. Pair turmeric with healthy fat and black pepper to increase absorption.
To get the most bang for your buck, pair turmeric with a bit of healthy fat (like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or grass-fed butter or ghee) and black pepper.
Why? Curcumin is fat-soluble, so fat helps to increase absorption. And studies have found that the piperine in black pepper increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 150-2000%!
This goes for turmeric supplements too. Speaking of which…
2. Opt for a high-quality curcumin extract supplement.
Honestly, if you want the maximum therapeutic benefits of turmeric, a supplement of curcumin extract is going to be your best bet since it’s ultra concentrated and more bioavailable.
Though I typically prefer to get my nutrients via diet rather than supplementation (I view supplementation as a way to fill in the gaps and accelerate healing/progress), I’m not going to lie: I don’t love the taste of turmeric and so it’s not something I can easily add to my diet on a daily basis. So I like that a curcumin extract supplement makes it SO incredibly easy for me to get the health benefits I’m after… and I know I’m getting even more curcumin than I would even if I was sprinkling turmeric on everything I ate!
Solgar Full Spectrum Curcumin is a perfect example — it contains a curcumin extract that’s 185 times more bioavailable than curcumin found in whole turmeric root. Adding a curcumin supplement like Solgar Full Spectrum Curcumin to your daily health regimen is a great way to support your health and provide your body with all of the benefits of curcumin — in just one convenient capsule. It’s also gluten-free ✔ wheat-free ✔ and dairy-free ✔
I still recommend pairing a turmeric extract supplement with a meal or snack containing some fat to help with absorption. And an interesting little tip I picked up from Wellness Mama: swallow a couple whole peppercorns with your curcumin supplement! It sounds a little funny but I tried it and hey, it’s super simple and you don’t taste the peppercorns at all so why not!?
You can pick up a bottle of Solgar Full Spectrum Curcumin for yourself from iHerb – one of my favorite online stores for healthy foods and products since they have a huge selection and great prices. And new customers can get a discount off their first order when by shopping through this link.
Do you use turmeric or take a curcumin supplement?
And have you experienced any benefits relating to their potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities!? Please share with us in the comments below!