If you were to google a natural remedy for almost any ailment, chances are you’ll find someone, somewhere recommending turmeric as the best thing to take. Why is this yellow spice seen to be possibly nature’s greatest home remedy? Can it really relieve arthritis, protect you from disease, settle your tummy and improve your wellbeing?
Interestingly, the research is beginning to point towards the idea that yes, it’s possible that it can. A recent episode of the BBC documentary Trust Me, I’m A Doctor looked at the role of turmeric in preventing changes to the way in which our cells work, called methylation. And the impact of turmeric was both outstandingly positive and also very interesting. The group who took the placebo, as to be expected had no change. Those using it with food had a tremendous level of improvement, particularly affecting genes responsible for stress and depression, asthma and eczema and cancer.
The group who took a regular supplement also had no change.
The interesting thing for me about this group is that turmeric supplements vary wildly. Some contain very old dried spice, some are blended with a colouring to make them appear brighter and it can be tricky to know if you have a good quality supplement or not. We recently had a very enlightening experience with our local trading standards office. She took 3 bottles of turmeric capsules from the same batch and then filled and sealed 3 bags with a third from each bottle to ensure a spread across each bag. One bag was sent off for analysis, one was kept by them as a spare and the third bag was left with me so if there was to be a query or complaint I had retained possession of a sample for further testing. They were looking for authenticity (that the substance was turmeric), that there was no yellow dye present and that the levels of curcumin were accurately represented on the label. As we expected, the analysis on our turmeric came back as a perfect product but the Trading Standards Officer commented that a number of businesses had products which had failed, including some bigger retailers you would expect a higher quality from. This may have had some bearing on the results of this experiment.
Also interesting is that the group consuming turmeric through adding it to food had to get very creative in the way they ingested it. It’s pretty tough to get a full portion of curry in your diet every day so many took to including turmeric in yoghurt or adding it to milk. The action of including it into fatty substances such as milk or curry and also of heating it seemed to greatly improve its activity. Additionally, adding black pepper to turmeric is known to improve the absorption of curcumin by up to 1000 times.
One of the easiest ways to get turmeric into the daily diet is through mixing 1/2 cup of Green’s Organic turmeric, ginger and black pepper blend, with 1 cup of water and 5 tablespoons of coconut oil. Gently heat and mix into a paste until fully dissolved then allow to cool and place in a jar in the fridge. Each morning, add 1/4 teaspoon of the paste to 1 cup of milk (regular, almond, cashew, coconut, oat milk etc) and add honey to taste if desired. Heat through until mixed, taking care not to allow it to boil. Pour and drink.
Prefer a supplement? One of the challenges with curcumin…there’s a limit to how much your body can absorb and actually use. If absorption goes up, greater levels of active curcumin can be released across multiple pathways to support joint, brain and immune health. For this reason we love Solgar’s Curcumin which takes bioavailability and absorption to a whole new level.
Unlike regular curcumin powder, Solgar starts with a 95% curcumin extract…the standardised active form, purified and concentrated from native turmeric root (Curcuma longa). For the first time, Solgar surrounds and encapsulates standardised curcumin extract with microscopic, “water-loving” spheres called micelles. Micelles make the difference in absorption and are so microscopically small that they allow curcumin to be readily passed into the bloodstream. At this size, micelles are virtually invisible and have the ability to transform a dense and opaque powder into a crystal clear, body-ready liquid. The clearer the liquid…the greater the bioavailability. The greater the bioavailability…the greater the absorption. And, the greater the absorption…the greater the power of curcumin.
So however you choose to include turmeric in your life, it’s safe to say we’re likely to be healthier with a regular dose of turmeric or curcumin than without!