You’ve probably heard about the amazing health benefits of turmeric. Sometimes called ‘poor man’s saffron’, it’s a humble spice that’s made it to the big time.
But it’s hard to read about this superfood without stumbling across the word ‘curcumin’. As one of the major compounds of turmeric – with a wealth of health benefits to boot – it may seem like this nifty nutrient is hogging the limelight. But what is curcumin? Why is it so special? And most importantly, what’s it got to do with turmeric?
Turmeric is an Indian spice made from the rhizomes (the offshoots) of the turmeric plant. The herb originates from Asia, where it’s been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Although turmeric powder is its most common guise, the spice is also available in capsule form, as a tea or oil. It’s often used in Indian cooking, giving curries that fantastic bright yellow color.
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, this humble spice may just be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. And it’s got the science to back it up. Studies have shown the benefits of taking turmeric to include improved brain function, lowered risk of heart disease and a potential measure of prevention against cancer.
On top of all this, it’s a brilliant natural anti-inflammatory substance and may also be able to treat arthritis and depression. In other words, it’s could just be your best friend when it comes to achieving a healthy mind and body.
That’s where curcumin comes in. As well as being the compound that gives turmeric its bright orange colour, curcumin also gives the spice most of its powerful medicinal benefits. Curcumin is one of the several compounds, known as curcuminoids, found in turmeric.
There have been numerous scientific studies carried out into the effects of curcumunoids. Most of them support what Ayurvedic practitioners have known for centuries – curcumin really does have health benefits. With its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, this powerful compound can really pack a punch when it comes to preventing and healing all sorts of illnesses, from helping ease arthritis to keeping dementia at bay.
So, now you know that curcumin is a compound in turmeric, you may be wondering whether you can have one without the other? Like any good friendship, the relationship between turmeric and curcumin is synonymous. Turmeric is the best known source of curcumin and in turn, turmeric gets most of its health benefits from the curcumin it contains.
However, not all turmeric is created equal. The majority of turmeric supplements contain between 5 and 10 percent curcuminoids. As most of the studies into turmeric use much higher percentages of the compound, you’d need to consume a lot of turmeric to take advantage of the spice’s health benefits.
This means that you should really be looking out for a turmeric powder that’s packed with curcuminoids. For example, TRUCURC contains 95 percent organic curcuminoids – perfect for taking full advantage of the these powerful compounds. It’s also best to choose Certified Organic turmeric currcumin where possible. As they’re free from nasty pesticides, using organic supplements takes away any unnecessary health risk. To find the best turmeric supplement you can read our latest article here.