Improve the Benefits of Turmeric by Adding Black Pepper
This article looks at turmeric and why we should be including black pepper in our meal, to increase the benefits associated with using turmeric. Turmeric is increasing in popularity for its health benefits, having been used in Ayurvedic medicine over 5,000 years ago! Black pepper in its own right, also, has an abundant amount of health benefits and is a source of manganese. However, there is also another beneficial function of black pepper, when you combine it with turmeric.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, a bright yellow chemical, giving turmeric its vibrant colour. Curcumin has been associated with numerous health benefits, including an antioxidant. Curcumin is quickly metabolised and removed from the body by the liver and the intestinal wall, due to its poor bioavailability (more on that later).
When you ingest turmeric with black pepper, you are increasing the amount of the curcumin you can absorb and your body can use.
The reason that black pepper enables this increase in our body using curcumin, is due to piperine a compound found in black pepper. Piperine allows the body to use the curcumin more effectively.
What is ‘Bioavailability’?
The bioavailability of a food is the amount of a nutrient which is available and readily absorbed by the body to use for metabolic purposes in the body, from the food that we ingest.
Some nutrients have a high bioavailability and can be digested, absorbed and metabolised by the body with ease, however, when it has a poor or low bioavailability (certain vitamins and minerals) the process of digestion, absorption and metabolism can vary and this can also be impacted by other vitamins and minerals that we consume – these can either inhibit or facilitate these processes.
To facilitate our body to increase the bioavailability of curcumin it has been found that adding black pepper enables this increase in bioavailability.
Piperine has been shown to increase the bioavailability of nutrients in both food and supplements. This includes selenium, the B vitamins, and beta-carotene.
Addition of Fat
Curcumin is also fat-soluble, which means that it needs fat to be dissolved and then absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
In meals where turmeric is used, there is usually a fat and black pepper in the meal, which aids the bioavailability and absorption of the turmeric. This is why in our turmeric latte, we include both black pepper and Lucy Bee Coconut Oil.
Storage and Use of Pepper and Turmeric
To get the best flavour from your pepper, you should buy whole peppercorns, and grind them up yourself. This means that you will just be receiving peppercorns, and not pepper with other spices, which can happen when you purchase pre-ground pepper.
You should store pepper in a cool, dark and dry place. It is also best if you add pepper towards the end of cooking, as the oils in the pepper lose their flavour and aroma if heated for too long.
You can get turmeric in powdered form or fresh. When fresh it should be kept in the refrigerator, where it can last for a month. You can also slice it and store it in an airtight container for 3 months.
If using powder, you should store it in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place, where it will last for up to a year.
Turmeric has an abundance of beneficial health effects that you can research and read up on, especially with more research being conducted on just how powerful it is. I even put it on my fried egg in the morning, with some black pepper, delicious! But just be warned, when it gets onto your hands it can stain them yellow!!
By Lucy Bee