Turmeric owes its many health-promoting qualities to curcumin, the natural compound that gives turmeric its rich golden color. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice held in high regard for its bountiful health properties and its culinary uses.
Turmeric does have one weakness. The golden spice has very low bioavailability. This means that your body can only use a very small portion of the turmeric you consume. As the absorption levels of curcumin are very low, your body cannot harness the full healing properties of the spice. Fortunately, there is a simple way to enhance bioavailability. Just add black pepper to unlock the full potential of turmeric.
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is one of the most commonly consumed spices on the planet. Black pepper also has many health benefits of its own. It’s been used to relieve nausea, headaches, poor digestion, and sore throats. Much like how turmeric owes its healthy properties to curcumin, black pepper gets both its health benefits and its pungent flavor from a natural alkaloid compound called piperine.
Taking turmeric with black pepper may boost its bioavailability up to an astonishing 2000%. This is because piperine acts as an excellent bio-enhancer. Put simply, it can improve the bioavailability of other substances in the body. The serving needed is quite small. You only need a pinch of pepper to enhance the absorption of turmeric.
The Perks of Turmeric Plus Pepper
While turmeric and black pepper each have their own unique health properties, many of the properties are enhanced when you combine the two.
Possesses Antioxidant Properties
Turmeric contains many compounds with antioxidant properties. Curcumin, in particular, is a potent antioxidant. In fact, it’s ten times more powerful than resveratrol, the much-hyped antioxidant in red wine. Piperine possesses its own antioxidant properties. Animal studies have found that piperine can reduce the oxidative stress brought on by a high-fat diet. By consuming pepper with turmeric regularly, you get double the antioxidant protection, helping you stay healthier, longer.
Resists Harmful Organisms
In vitro studies have found that turmeric resists harmful organisms, though more research is required to determine if this effect can be replicated in the human body. As a bioenhancer, black pepper not only boosts these abilities, it resists harmful organisms as well.
Protects Liver Health
In the liver, turmeric helps increase cholesterol elimination by boosting bile production. Curcumin also protects liver cells from damage caused by toxins such as peroxide, galactosamine, tobacco smoke, and household chemicals. Black pepper helps by boosting the bioavailability of glutathione, an important compound that protects the liver on a cellular level.
Both turmeric and black pepper work to relieve temporary discomfort. Piperine desensitizes a pain receptor called TRPV1. Turmeric helps ease occasional joint discomfort. Put them together and you have surefire relief for stiffness and soreness. This is one of the reasons turmeric is so popular among athletes.
Ayurvedic medicine has relied on turmeric to support digestive health for thousands of years. Modern studies have found that it reduces spasms and flatulence. Both turmeric and black pepper have been found to enhance the activity of digestive enzymes in the gut, helping your system process food more quickly and easily.