Turmeric is the natural health booster available worldwide in different forms. Whether you use it fresh or dry, the benefits are plenty. Lot has been said about the health benefits of turmeric and how it can work as the wonder spice in your kitchen, but most of these health benefits talk about the bioactive compound called curcumin present in turmeric more than any other components of turmeric. However, the question here is whether it is just curcumin that works as the health booster or having whole turmeric may also help? So, here are few things that may make things clear.
Turmeric – A brief overview
Turmeric is the root of turmeric plant, which is mainly grown in Asia. The plant that grows about 3 feet to 5 feet tall has pointed leaves with yellow flowers. The medicinal use of turmeric is not new to the civilization and is being used from over 5000 years to treat various health ailments. Turmeric rhizome belonging to ginger family is used fresh in juices, pickles, and various other delicacies. The powdered form of turmeric can be sourced from the local grocery store.
Talking about the composition of turmeric, the yellow color of this rhizome is imparted by curcuminoids whereas the aroma of this spice is given by turmeric oil. Mostly the powdered turmeric and curcumin extract would lack turmeric oil.
Curcumin and its benefits
As stated earlier, curcumin gives color to the turmeric and is also the main component responsible for its health properties. It is composed of curcuminoids, the antioxidants having anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antibiotic properties. The bioactive ingredient work on RNA and DNA to get the best health advantages. It also inhibits the protein activity to prevent cancer by regulating the cell proliferation.
Studies have shown that curcumin helps in treating various cardiovascular, neurological, and physiological disorders. The curcumin present in the rhizome amounts to only 2% to 5% of the total content. Hence, when you consume natural curcumin, you are actually consuming only very little of the health enhancing compounds. You will have to consume lot of turmeric to get the substantial dose of curcumin to overcome health disorders. This is the reason why many companies are coming up with curcumin extracts or supplements with adequate dose of curcumin.
Why you should have curcumin extract?
Curcumin is present in turmeric that has very low bioavailability. Bioavailability is the term used to describe the property of the substance to get absorbed. Low bioavailability means that out of the total turmeric consumed, only little is absorbed by the intestine while the rest is removed from the body.
There are safe limits of turmeric consumption prescribed by the health and nutrition experts to ensure that the consumer only gets benefited because of turmeric consumption and not harmed due to overconsumption. The common problems associated with overconsumption of curcumin include heartburn, indigestion, and blisters as turmeric generate heat in the body.
Curcumin extract contains about 95% of curcumin and eliminates other unwanted compounds. The bioavailability of these supplements or capsules is increased by adding other active ingredients to the formula of supplement. One of the most common ingredients used to increase the bioavailability of curcumin is black pepper. It is Piperine in black pepper that can increase the bioavailability of turmeric by almost 2000%. Curcumin extract has good bioavailability due to addition of piperine to it. Black pepper can also increase the effectiveness of turmeric when you add it to any dish with turmeric in it.
Another active ingredient to increase the effectiveness of curcumin is fat. Water insoluble curcuminoids are combined with healthy fats like olive oil or coconut oil to formulate a supplement that has increased bioavailability for quick absorption. Supplements are scientifically formed to target the problem area effectively. Some of the major benefits of curcumin extract that cannot be availed by direct consumption of turmeric are –
1.More than 95% curcumin – Curcumin that is just 2 to 3 percent of total turmeric weight amounts to more than 95% of the extract composition. All you would be taking is just curcumin and nothing else. This increases the effectiveness of the extract manifolds compared to the natural curcumin.
2.Bioavailability – Supplements are formulated for better absorption. You can get the most out of every spoon of turmeric by adding some active ingredients like black pepper or oil to it, but curcumin extract comes with higher bioavailability due to well-researched formulation. This helps the consumer to absorb most of the curcumin present in the extract to get great results.
3.Fixed dosage – For those targeting the medicinal properties of curcumin, having turmeric naturally would not serve the purpose as the dosage would not be known. Supplements have fixed amount of curcumin content to help you fix the right dosage. You can decide the dosage as per your physiological needs.
4.Divide daily dosage for better absorption – When you know your daily curcumin needs, you can fix up the dosage at regular intervals for better absorption. Supplements can be taken twice or thrice per day to attain the required dosage along with proper absorption. Natural turmeric lacks this benefit.
5.Availability – Whether you are travelling, at home, or placed at some distant continent, curcumin extract would be there for you. These supplements are made available in either powdered or capsule form and are very easy to carry. They come with good shelf life, so you can conveniently stock up for long term use.
There are many benefits of taking curcumin extract instead of natural turmeric, however one cannot deny the fact that this extract is derived from turmeric only. Hence, those looking for completely natural long term solution for the issues like inflammation or blood purification can rely on natural turmeric powder or fresh turmeric bulb, whereas people looking forward to getting quicker results with detailed treatment for certain health condition should reach out to curcumin extract. While curcumin extract is natural and effective, make sure that you buy only the best quality extract that is pure and possess at least 95% curcumin for better results.
Turmeric is the natural health booster available worldwide in different forms. Whether you use it fresh or dry, the benefits are plenty. Lot has been said about the health benefits of turmeric and how it can work as the wonder spice in your kitchen, but most of these health benefits talk...