Turmeric Vs Curcumin: What's The Difference? Here's What You Need To Know
Turmeric is the pure nutritional gold that comes straight from nature. You probably know turmeric as the beautiful bronze-yellow spice that gives many Indian curry dishes their bright, distinctive color. However, you might not know that it is also a hugely powerful nutritional supplement that is jam-packed with impressive health benefits.
In India, turmeric has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal effects. And more recently, the health world is starting to figure out that this simple golden spice offers massive benefits for our bodies. Scientific studies have shown that turmeric offers fantastic health-boosting effects, and many health experts, from doctors to dietitians, are suggesting that the general public start integrating turmeric as a supplement. So what is it that makes turmeric so good for you?
The reason why turmeric offers so many health benefits is because it is rich in compounds known as curcuminoids. The most powerful of these is the compound curcumin. Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric and offers a host of beneficial health effects like reducing inflammation and improving brain function, which we'll discuss in more detail later.
Approximately 2% to 5% of turmeric root powder is curcumin. Keep in mind you'd need to be adding quite a bit of turmeric to your food in order to get the real health effects of this helpful compound. On top of that, it is quite difficult for your body to absorb curcumin into the bloodstream. Luckily, you can increase the absorption of curcumin by around 2000% by consuming it alongside piperine, a compound which you'll find in black pepper. What does this mean? Well, to really get the benefits of curcumin from turmeric, you need to find the best source of this super-compound.
This is where the distinction between turmeric root and turmeric extract comes in. So what's the difference between the simple turmeric root and the more powerful turmeric extract?
A Deep Dive Into Turmeric Root Powder
Turmeric root is the kind of turmeric you'll find in your kitchen's spice rack. Powdered turmeric root is the bright orange powder which you put into curries, and like we mentioned previously, it is generally made up of between 2% and 5% curcumin (the powerful compound in turmeric). You can sprinkle it into your food and add some black pepper to get a little curcumin into your system, and you can also find turmeric capsule supplements which will offer you a slowly released low dose of curcumin.
A Deeper Dive Into Turmeric Extract (Curcumin)
Turmeric extract is the far more powerful form of turmeric. This form provides a powerful punch of curcumin drawn from the whole turmeric plant, not just the root. This means that you get a higher dose of curcumin, and more healthful effects, when you use turmeric extract than turmeric root. These turmeric extracts also get into your bloodstream more easily and provide faster effects because their form allows them to be metabolized more quickly and effectively than standard turmeric root. This means that they aren't just more potent, but they're also more fast-acting. It's easier for you to control your dose by using carefully composed turmeric extracts.
As well as all those benefits, turmeric extracts last longer too. A normal turmeric root powder will last around a year on your shelf, whereas extracts can last three years or more before they're out of date. This means that you get more bang for your buck when you choose a turmeric extract in terms of curcumin level, absorption, and shelf life. Using turmeric in any form is good, but if you really want to take advantage of the health benefits it offers, you should reach for turmeric extract rather than plain old turmeric root.
We've seen the benefits of turmeric extract can be a brilliant source to boost your health, heart & brain. But in what ways other ways does turmeric curcumin benefit your health?
Turmeric Has Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects - in fact, studies have found curcumin to be as effective as many pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs. Inflammation is a big part of many health issues like heart disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer's, so turmeric extract can be a helpful supplement for people suffering with these issues and other inflammation problems.
Turmeric Assists in Brain Health
Curcumin can boost the amount of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in the brain. This is important because BDNF helps your brain to function effectively, and issues like depression and Alzheimer's are linked to lower levels of BDNF in the brain.
Turmeric Helps Reduce the Risk of Heart Attack
Curcumin has various effects on the body which lead to a reduced risk of heart attacks. It does this by reducing inflammation, improving anti-oxidant responses, and improving endothelial functioning. Studies have shown that curcumin has powerful protective effects on heart function.
Turmeric Has Been Shown To Help Prevent Cancer Cells From Growing
Curcumin reduces the growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors, effectively slowing cancer growth, and also seems to prevent the occurrence of cancers in the first place. This has been particularly noted in studies of digestive tract cancers like colon cancer.
Turmeric Greatly Improves Mental Health
Curcumin has been shown to be almost as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants for people suffering with depression. In fact, a combination of the anti-depressant Prozac and curcumin was found to be much more effective than just Prozac too.
Turmeric extract is a powerful source of curcumin which offers you health benefits ranging from anti-inflammatory effects to a healthier, happier brain. If there's one thing you can do to really boost your health, it's adding turmeric extract as a supplement to your diet.