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Why Turmeric And Black Pepper Are A Powerful Combo

If you’re interested in turmeric for its associated health benefits, then you’re going to want to listen up! 

It’s all well and good adding turmeric spice to your meals or taking a curcumin supplement, but for maximum health benefits, you need to know about a bioactive compound called piperine. 

What Is Piperine? 

Piperine is an alkaloid and is the compound responsible for giving black pepper its pungency. In its own right, it has been found to help reduce nausea, relieve headaches and improve digestion, but the magic happens when it is eaten with turmeric or curcumin. 

Why Is Black Pepper And Turmeric A Powerful Combo?

The reason why black pepper and turmeric make a powerful combination is that the piperine in black pepper helps the body to absorb more curcumin - the active ingredient in turmeric.

Without piperine present, our bodies struggle to absorb curcumin, which means that we could be missing out on many of its associated benefits. Just a small amount of piperine is enough to improve the absorption of curcumin by up to 2000%, ensuring that our bodies are able to get the most out of the turmeric and curcumin we consume. 

How Does Piperine Improve The Absorption Of Curcumin?

Scientists are still researching the relationship between curcumin and piperine. Currently, there are two theories about how piperine improves the absorbency of curcumin, they are:

  • Piperine helps curcumin molecules to pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. Without piperine, many curcumin molecules remain in the digestive system and pass through the body without providing any benefits. 
  • Piperine slows the breakdown of curcumin by the liver. This allows curcumin levels to build up in the bloodstream and gives them more time to perform their health-benefits.  

Taking Turmeric And Black Pepper Together 

By adding a pinch of black pepper to your dinner whenever you add turmeric or purchasing curcumin supplements blended with black pepper or piperine isolate, you can help to ensure your body is able to absorb the maximum amount of curcumin. Of course, taking these two spices together isn’t compulsory, but it is recommended if you’re looking to reap the most reward. To make things easier for yourself in the kitchen, you may want to keep your ground black pepper and turmeric close to one another, or you could create a black pepper and turmeric spice blend by mixing turmeric spice and black pepper together at a ratio of 4:1. This is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of turmeric for every ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper. 

March 30, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices

7 Evidence-Based Health Benefits Of Cardamom

Cardamom has been used in ancient medicines for many centuries and still features prominently in Ayurveda medicine to this day. But what are the health benefits?
February 05, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices

What Is Cardamom And Why Is It Called The 'Queen Of Spices?'

 Cardamom forms an integral part of key cultural spice-mixes, in addition to that it's also  a delicious flavor in its own right, pairing exceptionally well with a number of common household ingredients and all the while providing a range of health benefits. 
February 04, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices

Three Easy Things To Do With Green Cardamom

Green cardamom is a fantastic flavor that can bring even the simplest flavor pairings to life. If you’re unsure of what to do with these little green pods and their pungent seeds, then here are three easy things to try. 
February 01, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices

How To Correctly Use Cardamom In Your Cooking For Maximum Flavor

When cardamom is used correctly, it can add a depth of flavor like no other to your dishes, but if used heavy-handedly, end up with a less than pleasant taste in your mouth. Here are some top tips to help you use cardamom correctly in your cooking.
January 14, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices

How Long Does Cardamom Last In The Cupboard?

Although spices don’t spoil in the same way as other fresh ingredients, they lose their flavor over time, and if stored incorrectly, they can also become musty or even moldy. This is also true for cardamom, so how long does it last?
January 14, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices

Why Is Cardamom One Of The Most Expensive Spices?

The correct use of spices when cooking can make or break your dish, but sometimes they can also feel like they’re breaking the bank. Why is cardamom so expensive?
January 13, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices

Green Cardamom VS Black Cardamom - Which Is Healthier?

If green cardamom is considered a weight-loss super-spice, then is black cardamom also packing the same health benefits? Let’s take a look.
January 12, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices

Can Cardamom Really Help You To Lose Weight?

Cardamom has earned itself somewhat of a reputation as a weight-loss spice but can consuming cardamom really help you to lose weight?
January 07, 2021 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices

Why You Should Add Saffron To Your Daily Cooking

Saffron is a wonderful spice that’s full of unique flavor. It can be used in so many different ways and has a truly unique taste and aroma. But did you know that it's not just a delightful spice to cook with but one with many health benefits?

Let's take a look at why saffron is so good for you and why you should consider adding it to your cooking more often. But before we get to that, click here to read all about what saffron is, why its so expensive, where it comes from and how to store it.

What are the health benefits of saffron?

There are many claimed health benefits of saffron and most of them are due to the fact that saffron is very rich in certain antioxidants. The main active antioxidants in saffron are called: crocin, picrocrocin and safranal.

So, what are antioxidants good for? Antioxidants fight against oxidative stress and free radicals in the body and these both play a big role in many deadly health conditions like cancer and heart disease and less serious conditions too. The antioxidants can also play a part in protecting the body from nervous system disorders like Alzheimer’s. That’s why it’s believed that antioxidants from good nutrition can help keep people healthy both physically and mentally. 

Below are some of the important possible health benefits of saffron:


Saffron to improve mood


Saffron has been found to help improve mood so could be a good treatment for depression. How does this work and why does saffron make you happier? It’s been found that a saffron extract increases the dopamine levels in the brain and that 30mg of saffron each day can have the same kind of effect as drugs that are prescribed to treat mild-to-moderate depression but without the side effects. Several placebo studies even showed it to be more effective. It’s not currently recommended as a treatment on its own, but it might be in the future after more studies have been done. It could be worth trying for people with mild symptoms who want a little bit of help to brighten their mood.


Saffron to improve PMS symptoms 


PMS symptoms affect many women each month and consuming or even just smelling saffron can help with these symptoms. PMS symptoms can be physical, emotional or psychological and occur shortly before a woman’s period. Saffron tea is a common remedy for PMS symptoms in some cultures. 

There are several studies that support that saffron could help treat PMS symptoms. The result was that taking 30mg of saffron per day was more effective than a placebo for treating PMS symptoms. Simply smelling saffron for 20 minutes also helped reduce symptoms like anxiety and even lowered the amounts of stress hormone cortisol in the women’s bodies. 


Saffron to help maintain a healthy weight 


There’s some evidence that shows that saffron could help reduce your appetite which can result in weight loss. Scientists are not quite sure how this works yet but it could simply be that when you’re happy – saffron can enhance your mood, remember? – you are less likely to turn to food for comfort.

Studies have shown that people who take saffron supplements feel fuller, are less likely to snack, lose weight, fat mass and inches around the body compared to a placebo group. 


How can you include saffron in your diet?


So, now you know about some of the health benefits of saffron but how can you include saffron in your own diet?

It’s so easy to add saffron to your diet by adding it to the meals you cook at home. It goes so well with lots of savory dishes and sweet bakes too. It works especially well in rice dishes like paella and risotto. 

There are many uses for saffron and you can even make tea from it. Just make sure you’re buying a good quality product because unfortunately there are some fake versions on the market too and these don’t have any of the health benefits of saffron nor the amazing flavor. 

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world – it’s more expensive than gold – but a little goes a long way when you’re using high quality saffron in your cooking. 


Are there any side effects of consuming saffron?


Saffron is safe to consume and the amount you use in standard cooking does not appear to have any side effects in humans so can be enjoyed safely and without any concerns.

As a supplement, it’s recommended that people can take up to 1.5g of saffron daily but the studies mentioned above have shown that 30mg per day is enough to present health benefits. 

High doses of 5g or more per day can be toxic and should be avoided by everyone but especially by pregnant women. As always, it’s best to consult your doctor before starting any new supplements and this is true for saffron too.

The bottom line...


Saffron is a delicious spice to add to your diet and can be enjoyed in many different ways. Studies have shown that it may have several important and promising health benefits. Using it in normal amounts in cooking is safe and not likely to have any side effects at all but if you want to take saffron as a stronger supplement, you should advice with your doctor first as with any new supplement.


November 20, 2020 by Gillian Brady
Tags: spices