Turmeric scientifically named Curcuma Longa (as it is part of the Ginger family) is a beautiful bright yellow spice most commonly grown in parts of Asia. The turmeric plant although stunning provides limited health benefits with the root that grows below the soil being the primary part harvested due its diverse functionality. With a rich history stemming from both Ayurveda and Chinese medicines, turmeric has long been celebrated (for as many as 5000 years) for its bountiful health benefits and traditional medicinal properties.
The turmeric root contains as many as 100 compounds including; moisture, omega 3 fatty acids, alpha linolenic acid, dietary fibres and lots of minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, iron and vitamins B and C. The glorious yellow rhizome is then commonly splitinto two main products; turmeric oil and turmeric powder.
Turmeric oil maintains the liquid of the root along with several compounds and is responsible for the aroma of the spice.
Turmeric powder contains most of the curcuminoids. Curcuminoids are the components that offer the bright yellow colour to the turmeric root and studied for a wide spread health benefits. Curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin are the 3 main curcuminoids studied.
Curcumin in particular, gains a lot attention around its potency as potentially inflammatory regulator and aiding cancer cell proliferation.
However, more recent research into turmeric root as a whole is showing that the other compounds in the radicle also play an important role, independently and when paired with curcumin. For instance, high doses of pure curcumin may have very limited ability to be absorbed within the body and thus, make it difficult to gauge how much of this nutrient is being utilised in the body. It is now being considered that natural compounds within the turmeric root can enhance the absorption of curcumin therefore a more complete dose – Mother Nature knows best hey!
What is known and proven to date and what you can trust is that turmeric; can aid digestion, help support healthy liver function, act as a strong antioxidant, stimulate contractions of the gallbladder, help aid the symptomatic relief of dysmenorrhea (TCM) and help relieve mild rheumatic joint pain (Ayuervedic).
A limited amount of studies have shown promising results in aiding the management of ailments such as chronic inflammation, cancer prevention, treatment of depression, immune regulation, pain relief, skin disease, bone disease and various others creating a focus point for research to come.
Natural turmeric powder has low bioavailability, indeed most of the turmeric ingested is not absorbed by the intestines. However, one thing that is know is that when piperine (a wonderful molecule found inside black pepper) is added, the bioavailability of the turmeric increases by 2000%.
In addition to this, and the main reason we love Golden Grind Lattes and Raw Turmeric Chocolate, is that turmeric is a fat soluble molecule. Without being too scientific, this suggests that for it to be carried more efficiently around the blood and cross over into the cells, it is advised that fat molecules are to be consumed at the same time – like coconut milk and oils.
Whilst there is not recommended daily intake of turmeric, most of the research is done with around 2- 6g of turmeric powder taken daily over a period of time. For now, try have a least a cup of me a day (2g). Best to always start lower and increase over time pending your stomach and gallbladder are comfortable with me. For your peace of mind though, high levels (up to 10g per day) have been tested to be safe but this is probably not necessary long term to take.
One final note, and an important one, turmeric is always best when consumed as a high quality, organic powder – like what’s in me.
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