Unless you are a fan of Indian food, health researchers have experienced a health breakthrough that can make you think about adding curry to your diet.
Turmeric, a mustard-yellow spice from Asia, often used in yellow curry, is involved in everything from minor inflammations to fighting cancer. And it's worth your attention.
The spice derives its color from a compound called curcumin, which is the true secret of all the claimed health benefits of turmeric. The University of Maryland Medical Center found that curcumin can help relieve chronic pain in the body by inhibiting inflammatory chemicals, a further study found that it reduces pain in patients with osteoarthritis.
Before you start currying or bombing your turmeric / curcumin shots at your local juice bar, there are a few things you need to know. (You always know when a trend is hot coffee shops try it on their fancy drinks and you can see golden milk products everywhere.)
When it comes to turmeric, it has a slight feed and switching effect. Just because something is good does not mean that some amount feels better. Curcumin may work, but like any dietary supplement, how you take it – and how much you use – is the most important.
The Benefits of Turmeric (and Curcumin)
Curcumin research is making it increasingly difficult to deny its benefits. Most supplements are as reliable as my Magic 8-ball. (All people under the age of 30 use Google search "What is Magic 8-ball?"). A lot of leaps, but when tested under the rigor (and usually the impartial nature) of science, there is prospects aren't that good.
But it is there that curcumin breaks the mold.
There are already many studies showing curcumin can help with everything from inflammation to pain control (as effective as 2000 mg acetaminophen) and can help prevent diseases such as prostate cancer.
A team of Chinese researchers conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to assess the effect of curcumin on blood lipids in people at risk of cardiovascular disease and found that curcumin significantly lowered low-density lipoproteins ("bad" cholesterol) and triglycerides (another thing most people want less in their bloodstream).
How to use curcuma (and curcumin)
The catch with the above benefits? Spraying turmeric (as a means of obtaining curcumin) with coffee, with meals, or eating larger Indian food has little effect. It's like sprinkling fairy dust on your shoulders and thinking you are growing wings and flying (sorry, but that's true).
The potency tested in studies is nowhere near what you might want to add to your favorite dish or lattice.
If you want any benefit from curcumin, you should take a concentrated dose ranging from 500 mg (to lower triglyceride levels) to 2000 mg (pain relief, similar to taking Tylenol), depending on what aspect of your health you are trying to improve.
And if you do not use whole turmeric in your meals, you will not get anywhere near the food.
Equally important is the poor absorption of curcumin on turmeric. This does not mean that hope is lost, but it does mean that you must take specific foods or add additional ingredients to help your body experience all the benefits.
"Easy Button?" Instead of eating or drinking turmeric, take a statement that has exactly what your body needs.
According to Survey.com, you can do the following to maximize the effectiveness of curcumin:
- Complement curcumin with piperine, take 500 mg of the former with 20 mg of the latter three times daily (i.e. 1500 mg of curcumin and 60 mg of piperine daily).
- Complement BCM-95®, a patented combination of curcumin and essential oils, take 500 mg twice daily (i.e. 1000 mg / day).
- Complement Meriva®, a patented combination of curcumin and soya lecithin, take 200-500 mg twice daily (i.e. 400-1000 mg / day).
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