Turmeric has become the spice of the decade and with very good reason.
If you have added Turmeric to your diet or have been using it for a long time, kudos to you — you’ve just been adding years to your life by reducing chronic inflammation and preventing many diseases.
The Outstanding Health Benefits of Turmeric
According to whfoods, Turmeric is native to India and Southeast Asia, where it has been popular in cuisines for several thousand years. Besides its culinary use, turmeric has remained a mainstay herb in botanical medicine, with medical usage going back thousands of years in the Ayurvedic tradition. In the U.S., turmeric is a substance that is included on the GRAS List (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the U.S. FDA where it is considered as a natural food coloring agent.
Regardless of it’s use in cooking for several thousand years, turmeric continues to shock researchers in terms of its wide-ranging health benefits. While once focused on anti-inflammatory benefits, decreased cancer risk, and support of detoxification, studies on turmeric intake now include its potential for improving cognitive function, blood sugar balance, and kidney function, as well as lessening the degree of severity associated with certain forms of arthritis and certain digestive disorders. 
Turmeric benefits are numerous including anti-inflammatory properties, anti-bacterial, blood purifier, it is a natural painkiller, and serves as a chemo-preventive or chemotherapeutic agent in several types of cancer— including pancreatic carcinoma– one of the most difficult types of cancer to treat. (see the study here).
I have started to love this drink more and more, especially when I am feeling achy after exercise or way too many hours gardening, standing or sitting (yes that’s how herniated discs do to you). I can feel my back getting tighter and tighter which means that my herniated discs start pressing on that sciatic nerve. Inflammation is developing… Great!
You’ve been there.
Whether it is your legs, shoulders, entire body, head, joints… Not fun! What now?
The first thing I do is– not letting it get too far.
How? Stop doing what you are doing to aggravate pain, and do what feels right. The key here is to listen to your body and act accordingly.
Does laying/sitting/standing in a certain position feel good?
Does stretching feel good?
Sitting, driving, bending etc.. aggravates it? Stop!
Does a certain type of exercise or activity feel uncomfortable or you feel pain? Stop!
For example, I can’t do squats, run on the treadmill or anything that has to do with jumping. Also, when lifting weights I use the equipment with back support vs free weights. I choose activities that are low impact such as the elliptical machine, fast walking, swimming, stationary bike (with a backrest) and you get the point…
Pain and aches aside, let’s get back to my favorite natural painkiller drink.
Making this recipe is very easy. I either add the spices, and coconut oil to my coffee or sometimes it replaces it in the mornings. I also drink it as a nice comforting snack any time of the day or enjoy it with almond, hemp, rice, coconut milk and swerve or raw honey. (See recipe below)
How Do You Enhance Turmeric Benefits and its Bioavailability?
Some studies have found that when consuming even 2 grams of curcumin its serum levels were very low. However, when combined with 20 mgs of “the other spice” curcumin’s bioavailability increased by 2000%.
Do you know what “the other”spice is? Drum roll, please…
A study by Planta Medica revealed that when used in the right dosage, piperine enhances the serum concentration, extent of absorption and bioavailability of curcumin (Turmeric) in both humans and rats without adverse effects.
To confirm these findings here’s an excerpt from the very study:
The medicinal properties of curcumin obtained from Curcuma longa L. cannot be utilized because of poor bioavailability due to its rapid metabolism in the liver and intestinal wall. In this study, the effect of combining piperine, a known inhibitor of hepatic and intestinal glucuronidation, was evaluated on the bioavailability of curcumin in rats and healthy human volunteers. When curcumin was given alone, in the dose 2 g/kg to rats, moderate serum concentrations were achieved over a period of 4 h. Concomitant administration of piperine 20 mg/kg increased the serum concentration of curcumin for a short period of 1-2 h post drug. Time to maximum was significantly increased (P < 0.02) while elimination half-life and clearance significantly decreased (P < 0.02), and the bioavailability was increased by 154%. On the other hand in humans after a dose of 2 g curcumin alone, serum levels were either undetectable or very low. Concomitant administration of piperine 20 mg produced much higher concentrations from 0.25 to 1 h post drug (P < 0.01 at 0.25 and 0.5 h; P < 0.001 at 1 h), the increase in bioavailability was 2000%
As you can see it is very important to mix these two spices in order to reap the health benefits to the fullest. Additionally, you can add coconut oil and make “golden paste” and you’ll be increasing its bioavailability to the max. While turmeric and black pepper each have their own unique health properties, many of the properties are enhanced when you combine the two.
Question: What is your favorite way to enjoy turmeric? Have you mixed the two spices? I’d love to hear your experiences.