Turmeric is much more than just a spice to stir into your curries and mustards. It’s now recognised as a health product in and of itself due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. It is in a lot of complementary and alternative treatments in medicine.
The bright yellow spice comes from the Curcuma longa plant (more commonly known as the turmeric plant). This particular plant is part of the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family, which is native to Southeast Asia and India.
Turmeric vs Curcumin – What’s the Difference?
So, what is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?
To put it simply, turmeric is the root of the Curcuma longa plant and curcumin is the major bioactive compound in the root. There are other bioactive compounds (called curcuminoids) in the turmeric plant but curcumin is the main star of the party.
So, whenever you have turmeric powder, you’re taking in curcumin molecules as well as the other nutrients that are naturally found in the root. You can also take turmeric or curcumin tablets that contain more concentrated extracts of the root.
If you choose to take turmeric or curcumin tablets, you’ll need to be careful with the dosage. Unlike turmeric powder, you can easily take too much curcumin if you’re just swallowing a tablet or capsule.
Generally, a safe dosage of curcumin is anything below 8 grams a day when taken orally. Exceeding this dosage can cause some side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, and digestive issues.
What is Curcumin Good For?
The curcumin benefits go far beyond simply giving turmeric a nice yellow colour. This curcuminoid is known to elicit a range of positive effects on the body.
So, why should you take turmeric ? Some of the many curcumin benefits are:
- Lowered inflammation in the body
- Antioxidant effects, meaning reduced oxidative stress in your cells
- Reduced risk of a range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer
- Neuroprotective effects and lowered risk of neurodegenerative conditions
- Improved gut microbiome
- Reduced risk of depression
- Improved sleep and lower risk of sleep apnoea
- Better mood
10 Ways to Get More Curcumin in Your Diet
If you want to start experiencing all of the amazing health benefits of curcumin yourself, you will need to start adding turmeric and curcumin into your diet. So, there are lots of great and simple ways that you can do this and we’re going to cover these below!
Before we do, let’s quickly talk about bioavailability. This refers to the amount of a certain substance that gets absorbed into your body.
When a substance enters your digestive tract, not all of it will enter your bloodstream. Some of it passes straight through your tract and is excreted without being used at all.
Research shows that the bioavailability of curcumin in foods as drinks is just 10%. So, around 90% of the curcumin that you ingest through foods ends up in the toilet and not in your body!
That’s why it’s often difficult to get a very effective dosage of curcumin by adding turmeric powder into your diet. Unless you’re stirring turmeric powder into every single thing you eat, you won’t reach anywhere near the 8 gram limit and you won’t be getting the maximum benefits from the plant.
Because of this, we always recommend that you take a turmeric or curcumin supplement alongside turmeric powder. Supplements have a higher, more concentrated dosage that will be more effective on your health and well-being.
However, there is no harm in adding turmeric into your diet to get the most out of the curcumin benefits. Plus, you can reap the benefits of turmeric with dosages of as little as 500 to 1000 milligrams.
If you want to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin, add a sprinkle of black pepper into your dishes or combine turmeric with high-fat substances, such as olive oil, avocados, and nut butters. Black pepper and fats are known to boost the absorption of curcumin in the gut, meaning you’ll get more out of your turmeric powders and supplements.
Here are some amazing ways to include turmeric into your diet and supplement with curcumin
1. Make a Hot Turmeric Latte
If you love hot drinks, why not stir some turmeric powder into your morning coffee?
A turmeric latte a can be a soothing and enjoyable way to reap the benefits of curcumin. As a result, it’s a known remedy to reduce anxiety, stress, and even muscle soreness after exercise.
You can buy pre-made turmeric hot drink mixtures, such as our Wunder Workshop Golden Turmeric Chai Tea or the Wunder Workshop Golden turmeric Tea. You can also make your own from scratch. Here is a simple recipe for you to follow to make a deliciously healthy turmeric latte.
300 ml milk (any kind)
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla syrup
Sprinkle of black pepper
- Combine everything in a saucepan and place on medium heat.
- Continue to heat until the ingredients are combined and the mixture is piping hot. Use a milk frother if you prefer extra frothy lattes.
- To serve, pour into your favourite mug and add a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon on top.
2. Stir it into Your Curries
One of the most obvious ways to increase your turmeric intake is to stir it into curries. If you often cook up your own curry dishes from scratch, try adding a teaspoon of turmeric powder into the pan alongside all of your other spices.
Turmeric will add lots of flavour, aroma, and colour to your curries alongside lots of extra health benefits.
3. Add it to Your Scrambled Eggs or Tofu
For those of you who love whipping up some scrambled egg or scrambled tofu on toast in the mornings, try sprinkling some turmeric powder into the pan. Don’t forget to add a touch of black pepper as well to enhance the absorption of the curcumin!
4. Sprinkle it Onto Roasted Vegetables
Turmeric tastes amazing when sprinkled on top of your veggies. Before you pop the tray of prepared vegetables into the oven, add some turmeric powder and black pepper on top.
5. Stir it into Your Rice Dishes
Why not turn your rice golden by stirring in some turmeric powder? Whether you enjoy eating vegetable rice or spicy Mexican-style rice, turmeric can make a great addition to your dish.
6. Add it into Smoothies and Shakes
If you are an avid smoothie or shake drinker, this is the perfect opportunity to increase your turmeric intake. Add a generous amount of the yellow spice into your drinks alongside seven healthy fats, such as peanut butter, almond butter, or avocados, to increase curcumin’s absorption.
7. Make Your Own Turmeric Mustard
Home-made mustard tastes much fresher and nicer than shop-bought options that can be filled with artificial preservatives and flavours. Making your own mustard at home means you can add lots of healthy ingredients, including turmeric powder.
A quick and simple turmeric mustard recipe is as follows:
½ cup ground mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until fully combined.
Transfer into a clean jar that can be sealed (such as an old jam jar with a lid).
Store in the fridge.
8. Stir it into Homemade Soups
Turn your soup into a bowl of goodness and stir in a tablespoon or two of turmeric next time you make a hearty soup or broth. So, it makes the perfect addition to homemade soups alongside your meats, veggies, and other herbs and spices.
9. Sprinkle it Onto Your Avocado Toast
For those of you who enjoy some smashed avocado on toast, try adding a sprinkle of turmeric on top. The healthy fats in the avocado will enhance the absorption of curcumin so you can gain the maximum benefits of the turmeric plant.
10. Add it into Your Salads
Turmeric can add flavour and colour to your salads. You can either sprinkle the powder on top of the food itself or stir the turmeric into your salad dressing before adding it to your dish.
How Else Can You Take Turmeric?
Aside from adding turmeric powder into your meals and drinks, you can take turmeric and curcumin supplements. Here at GreenBox, we have a great range of turmeric supplements, such as the Solar Turmeric Root Extract Capsules that contain premium quality turmeric extract.
Capsules and tablets are a convenient way to get a higher dosage of curcumin if you’re struggling to get enough through turmeric powder.