Turmeric has been the darling of the superfood scene for some time now. Research into the spice has shown benefits in reducing inflammation associated with cancer and Alzeimer’s disease, as well as having anti-oxidant properties. it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years and gives curries their bright yellow colour.
Past research has suggested that turmeric can help the following conditions:
. Stomach Ulcers
. Ulcerative colitis
. Heart Disease
. Prostate, breast, skin and colon cancer
. Bacterial and viral infections
. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis
However, as with most hyped up superfoods, studies have come along to debunk any ideas about turmeric’s superfood status and dampen our enthusiasm. A review in the Journal of Chemical Chemistry isolated Curcumin (Cure-cumin as it’s affectionately known) and found that the compound is too unstable once inside the body to have any benefit.
Not so fast says registered dietician, Wendy Bazilian. She says that compounds in food have synergistic effects, and turmeric is no different. The research has isolated curcumin from turmeric and doesn’t take into account that turmeric is never eaten alone when we prepare it for eating. Combining turmeric with black pepper improves the bioavailabilty of curcumin in the body by 1000 times, thanks to piperine, the substance in black pepper that helps curcumin get absorbed in the body. The other way to increase absorption of turmeric is to eat it with fats such as olive oil, coconut oil or flaxseed oil.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to add turmeric to your diet by adding it to stir-fries, soups, smoothies, pasta dishes and of course, curries. Just remember to add some black pepper and cook it in fat. If putting it in smoothies don’t forget to add some coconut oil and black pepper as well.