The True "Spice of Life"?

Google ”turmeric” and “curcumin”, and you’ll find nearly 80 million links to sites hailing the incredible powers of this “wonder” spice. But is really a “super food” and if it is, how do you maximize its benefits?

Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric and gives it that distinct yellow color. Early evidence from both animal and human trials shows curcumin has powerful, anti-inflammatory effects. Those may ease depression and anxiety, fight Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, diabetes, macular degeneration, and psoriasis. But experts say neither curcumin nor turmeric absorb well into the bloodstream, so merely sprinkling them in your curry may *not* be effective.

Instead, nutritionists say you need to add black pepper, or piperine, to your curcumin. New studies show 1/20th of a teaspoon of black pepper, added to 2 milligrams of curcumin, can intensify cellular absorption by 2000%. Experts say 500 to 2,000 milligrams of curcumin, taken 30 minutes before you eat, or 2 hours after a meal, works best.

Curcumin and turmeric have a long established safety record. The FDA recognizes capsules, tablets, drinks, soaps, and ointments as “generally safe”. But to avoid drug interactions, tell your doctor before you use them. And, the FDA is currently evaluating findings of lead in products imported from Bangladesh and India.

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