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The benefits of combining turmeric and pepper

The benefits of turmeric have been well documented recently. However, there has been a real shift towards combining foods to enhance nutritional properties and ensure maximum absorption.

Tumeric (curcumin) is a member of the ginger family and is thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Curcumin also neutralises free radicals and helps the body create antioxidant enzymes. However, the medicinal properties of curcumin cannot be utilised effectively due to poor bioavailability caused by rapid metabolism in both the liver and intestinal wall - in short, the body struggles to absorb the medicinal properties of curcumin. For example, anyone who has eaten turmeric will experience a slight increase within the blood stream; though this will be temporary as the liver is actively work to eliminate it.

Pepper (piperine) is responsible for the pungency of black pepper and has been used in forms of traditional medicine for centuries; and it also helps the body absorb things it usually suppresses, such as curcumin. Therefore, when black pepper is mixed with turmeric the natural metabolism process is suppressed and your body's ability to absorb increases dramatically.. It doesn’t require a lot of piperine either, even just a little pinch of pepper, say 1/20th of a teaspoon, can significantly boost levels.

An alternative method known to increase curcumin absorption is to eat it witha source of healthy fat, such as coconut oil. As a result, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system, thereby in part bypassing the liver.

However tumeric is not for everyone -those who are pregnant, have gallstones, or are susceptible to kidney stones should moderate their consumption.

To add more turmeric to my diet, I like to make a homemade golden paste - which is a combination of turmeric, black pepper, coconut oil and water, or golden milk - turmeric, almond milk and raw honey. You can easily find a recipe online. Golden paste/milk can be added to various dishes to add flavour, such as yogurt, smoothies, curries, rice, soup and frittata, or taken on its own.

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