Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds With Powerful Medicinal Properties
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color.
It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.
Recently, science has started to back up what the Indians have known for a long time… it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties (1).
These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high… it’s around 3%, by weight (2).
Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day. It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods.
Therefore, if you want to experience the full effects, then you need to take an extract that contains significant amounts of curcumin.
Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine… a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000% (3).
I personally prefer to swallow a few whole peppercorns along with my curcumin supplement, in order to enhance absorption.
Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it may be a good idea to take it with a fatty meal.
Curcumin is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound
Turmeric Dramatically Increases The Antioxidant Capacity of The Body
Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and many diseases.
It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons.
Free radicals tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA.
The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial, is that they protect our bodies from free radicals.
Curcumin happens to be a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals due to its chemical structure (15, 16).
But curcumin also boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes (17, 18, 19).
In that way, curcumin delivers a one-two punch against free radicals. It blocks them directly, then stimulates the body’s own antioxidant mechanisms.