Turmeric is a blazing golden spice with amazing anti-inflammatory abilities, and black pepper is often found on our dinner tables. What about putting them together makes them more powerful? What are the health benefits in turmeric root and black pepper extract, and should you be taking turmeric with black pepper in place of just plain turmeric capsules? We have the answers below.
What’s the Key Ingredient in Turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the golden spice, is a plant that grows largely in Central America and Asia. As a spice, it lends curry its yellow color, but outside of its culinary uses it also has medicinal benefits long used in Ayurvedic healing. This is largely thanks to the antioxidant properties of its active ingredient curcumin.
The curcuminoids found in turmeric powder have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory abilities that make it a valuable dietary supplement for human health. By defending our cells against the damage done by free radicals, curcumin and turmeric can help alleviate numerous health conditions as far-flung as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.
The only issue is that the low bioavailability of curcumin is difficult to overcome. You could take a turmeric supplement every day and still not receive the full benefits of turmeric because it isn’t being properly absorbed. What can help fix that issue? Black pepper.
What’s the Key Ingredient in Black Pepper?
The key ingredient in black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a bioactive compound known as piperine. It’s an alkaloid (like capsaicin, which is the active ingredient found in cayenne pepper and chili powder) that has been scientifically shown to help relieve headaches, ease nausea, aid poor digestion, and provide anti-inflammatory support (inflammation is a huge component of chronic diseases).
Piperine has its own health benefits, but perhaps its most valuable contribution is its ability to increase the absorption of curcumin and turmeric extract in the human digestive tract. That is why these two ingredients have been brought together as the new power couple.
The Amazing Combination of Turmeric with Black Pepper
The curcumin in organic turmeric is absorbed poorly into the bloodstream, but that’s not just a sad supplement fact you have to swallow. When combined with piperine, and thanks in part to products like Turmeric Curcumin with BioPerine, you can get the best of both worlds. Here’s what those health benefits entail.
1. Scientifically Proven Enhancement of Turmeric
The research is clear: the piperine in black pepper helps boost the absorption of curcumin by as much as 2,000%. By adding just 20 milligrams of piperine to 2 grams of curcumin, the previously linked study showed an incredibly significant increase in absorption, either due to piperine helping to usher curcumin through the intestinal wall during the digestive process, or perhaps because it slows down curcumin breakdown in the liver, allowing more of it to enter the bloodstream. However the method, the result is clear, together these ingredients are more formidable.
2. The Reduction of Inflammation
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps support your immune system and can even help to mediate medical conditions as serious as multiple forms of arthritis, all without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Many people with chronic medical conditions worry about the harsh effects of medications on their stomach linings, livers, and kidneys, which is why there’s so much interest in more natural medicines to help manage long-term health problems.
Turmeric has been shown in multiple scientific studies to help relieve the joint inflammation, pain, and swelling associated with arthritis. Piperine too has some of these same anti-arthritic findings due to its ability to desensitize certain pain receptors in the body. By removing or improving the pain of arthritis, both of these substances help boost quality of life for people with arthritis and other inflammatory issues.
3. Anti-Cancer Abilities
Curcumin has been studied for its ability to prevent and treat certain cancers. Laboratory studies show that curcumin decreases the spread and development of cancer and could help cause cancer cell death (apoptosis). Again there’s a team effort at play: piperine, too, may bring about cancer cell death and help to inhibit the proliferation of cancerous growths.
Turmeric’s curcumin and black pepper’s piperine have been shown, in combination and individually, to interrupt the starting point of breast cancer cells, possibly preventing this cancer before it starts. It doesn’t end there either: prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and more have shown promising scientific results when treated with both of these natural substances.
Supplemental Turmeric with Black Pepper
If you’re now interested in the amazing anti-inflammatory properties of these two spices and want to start supplementing with them, there are plenty of products available. Keep in mind that while many health supplements are not closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you can still find high-quality products if you know what to look for.
You can make sure your supplement is vegan (no animal gelatin capsules), non-GMO, gluten free, and absent of any unnatural preservatives. The only reported adverse side effect some people experience with turmeric is nausea, headache, and rash, but usually those are only seen in excessive doses of the compound. Once you have your supplement of choice, just take the product as directed, and keep it in a cool, dry place out of reach of children and you’re good to go.
On the other hand, since these are both natural substances, you could create your own supplement with the raw ingredients, including in the form of a health-boosting smoothie.
Smoothie Recipes with Turmeric (and Black Pepper)
Turmeric and black pepper are often combined in Indian moon milks and teas alongside olive oil, honey, ginger, coconut oil…basically all the healthy elixirs and powerful powders on the shelf. We have developed a few unique smoothie recipes with turmeric that you can dash black pepper into, plus one golden recipe that includes both of these beneficial ingredients.
By mixing fresh turmeric root with coconut oil and milk, we’ve combined their proven natural health benefits with powerful spices like nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger. Each of these ingredients contribute to comfortable digestion and bring their own unique perks like antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to help calm and care for your insides. Should you choose to dash in some pepper, know that you’ll be boosting the uptake of curcumin, but even if you don’t, this golden milk latte is a powerhouse of health-granting properties.
Since turmeric has long been a part of homeopathic and traditional medicines, this recipe gathers even more ancient remedies into one comprehensive smoothie. By combining banana, pineapple, ginger, lemon juice, and almond milk with turmeric, you have a sweet, smooth concoction with ingredients that can help support healthy weight loss and keep your blood sugar levels stable even as you treat yourself. The recipe even comes with a pro-tip: adding a dash of turmeric powder to your scrambled eggs in the morning punches up that dish’s color and flavor profile, and, of course, including a dash of pepper can increase the absorption rate.
Here it is, your golden ticket: a smoothie designed to bring turmeric and black pepper together as naturally as possible. By joining together the basics of a pumpkin spice smoothie with a golden milk recipe, this combo smoothie brings you all the health benefits of turmeric with the boosting power of black pepper and the nutritional benefits of plantains, almonds, honey, and pumpkin spice blends. All combined, this smoothie practically has the best of everything.
Team Turmeric and Black Pepper
So now you know: turmeric is as strong as you’ve heard it to be, but it can be thousands of times stronger with the support of black pepper when it comes to human absorption. You can take them together in a daily supplement, or combine them yourself with your other preferred natural health ingredients in smoothies, lattes, and shakes. When it comes to natural remedies, you don’t need a spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down, you just need the right recipe to bring out the sweetness and spice inherent in these healthful ingredients.