If you take a peek into your spice cabinet, you'll likely find cinnamon, dried oregano, and maybe even crushed cayenne pepper. But is turmeric in your cabinet? If not, it might be time to make a trip to the grocery store or a specialty spice store to pick some up.
Here's why: Turmeric holds a wealth of anti-inflammatory properties. The spice, which has an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine, may help improve cognitive function and may even delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's.
The main active ingredient in turmeric called curcumin is what gives the spice its inflammation-fighting capabilities. The authors of a 2018 study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition suggest that adding curcumin to your diet can help "prevent accelerated cognitive decline" by staving off chronic inflammation.
However, in order to properly activate these anti-inflammatory properties, you'll need to eat it with black pepper. One 2017 research review pointed out that the major active component of black pepper, piperine, was associated with a 2,000% increase in the bioavailability of curcumin. In other words, when black pepper is consumed with turmeric, it increases the body's ability to absorb and reap the benefits of the spice.
So, the next time you order a turmeric latte or golden milk at your local coffee shop, be sure to sprinkle a dash of black pepper onto it or eat something that has black pepper on it, like a salad or deli sandwich. This way you can increase the bioavailability of curcumin in turmeric and give your body a greater chance of fighting inflammation.
Or consider seasoning a veggie stir-fry or piece of meat with turmeric and black pepper for dinner. The ways you can include the inflammatory spice into your diet are truly endless. For more information, be sure to check out What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Turmeric. Then, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter!