If you're not a fan of Indian food, health researchers have experienced health discoveries that will make you rethink the addition of curry to your diet.
Turmeric, a mustard-filled spice from Asia that is a spice often used in yellow curry, is associated with everything from less inflammation to cancer fighting. And it's worth your attention.
The spice gets its coloring from a compound called curcumin, which is the real secret behind all the supposed health benefits of curcumin. The University of Maryland Medical Center has found that curcumin can help relieve chronic pain by suppressing inflammatory chemicals in the body, an additional study found to reduce pain in those with osteoarthritis.
Before you start currying or bombing curcumin in your local bar, there are a few things you need to know. (You always know that a trend is hot when cafes try it on their fancy drinks and you will see "golden milk" products everywhere.)
When it comes to turmeric, there is a bit of a bait-and-switch effect. Just because something is good does not mean that any amount will make you feel better. Curcumin may work, but like any supplement, how do you take it – and how much money you use – the most important.
The benefits of curcumin (and curcumin)
Research on curcumin has made it increasingly difficult to deny its benefits. Most supplements are as reliable as my Magic 8-ball. (Everyone under 30 is on Google Going "What is Magic 8-Ball?"). Many ads, but once tested under the risky (and typically impartial) nature of science, the outlook is not so good.
But where curcumin breaks the mold.
It is already significant Research showing curcumin can help with everything from inflammation to pain control (as effective as 2000 mg of acetaminophen) and can help prevent diseases like prostate cancer.
A team of Chinese researchers conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effect of curcumin on the blood lipids of people at risk for cardiovascular disease and found that curcumin significantly reduced low-density lipoproteins ("bad" cholesterol) and triglycerides (another thing that most people want less of their blood).
How to use Curcumin (and Curcumin)
Catches with the above benefits? Spraying curcumin (as a curcumin intake) on your coffee, meals, or eating more Indian food is not going to make a big impact. This is like splashing fairy dust on your shoulders and thinking you are going to wings and fly (sorry, but it's true).
The power of what is tested in research is not close to what you would add to your favorite food or latte.
If you want some benefit from curcumin, you should take a concentrated dose anywhere from 500 mg (to reduce triglycerides) to 2,000 mg (pain reduction similar to taking Tylenol), depending on which aspect of your health trying to improve.
And, unless you use the whole turmeric container in your food, you won't get anywhere near it from food.
Equally important, the absorption of curcumin in curcumin is very poor. This does not mean that all hope is lost, but it does mean that you need to take in specific foods or add extra ingredients to help your body experience all the benefits.
The "easy button"? Instead of eating or drinking turmeric, get an extract that has exactly what your body needs.
According to examine.com, here you can do to maximize curcumin's effectiveness:
- To complete curcumin with piperine, receive 500 mg of the former with 20 mg of the latter three times daily (i.e., 1,500 mg of curcumin and 60 mg of piperine per day).
- To complete BCM-95®, a patented combination of curcumin and essential oils, take 500 mg twice daily (ie 1,000 mg / day).
- To complete Astra®, a patented combination of curcumin and soy lecithin, take 200-500 mg twice daily (i.e. 400-1000 mg / day).