Turmeric and black pepper each have their own notable health properties, but when they’re combined together, they’re even more powerful. The spices taste great as a pair in a number of savoury dishes, including curries, soups, roasted vegetables, and scrambled eggs – and when you learn about their endless benefits, you’ll want to start adding them to everything.
So, what exactly are turmeric and black pepper, and where do they come from?
Turmeric is a golden-orange coloured spice that’s derived from a tall plant that grows in Asia and Central America. It’s known for the distinct yellow colour and its tangy aroma and has been used for years as herbal Ayurvedic medicine.Black pepper, or peppercorn, is derived from a flowering vine native to South India. The staple ingredient is often teamed with salt and sprinkled onto sweet and savoury dishes, like omelettes, chips, soups, fruit, seafood, and dipping sauces for a spicy kick.
They may have their culinary uses, but black pepper and turmeric make a great team when consumed for health purposes. Some of their biggest benefits include:
1. Complementary active ingredients
The key compound in turmeric, known as curcumin, boasts a number of advantages to health. As well as being a strong antioxidant, it has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, which can reduce the risk of disease, inhibit pain, and prevent common infections of the skin.
Black pepper contains the bioactive compound piperine, which has been found in studies to effectively relieve nausea, headaches, and poor digestion. Like curcumin, it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Piperine is particularly useful in helping the body to absorb curcumin. Some research has even found that when you combine piperine and curcumin, curcumin absorption is improved by up to 2,000 percent. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so beneficial to take black pepper and turmeric together.
2. Double the anti-inflammatory power
While turmeric and black pepper boast health properties on their own, they’re doubly as effective when taken together. Both turmeric and curcumin have anti-inflammatory properties, which makes them incredibly powerful in soothing indicators of inflammation, like pain, swelling, rashes, aching bones, and even mental health problems like depression.
Studies have found turmeric is as effective as some over-the-counter remedies for treating inflammation, without the harmful side effects. Black pepper offers similar benefits – experts believe it can desensitize a specific pain receptor in your body, reducing discomfort.
3. Both may prevent cancer
Both turmeric and black pepper have proved promising in studies looking into cancer prevention. Turmeric’s curcumin compound has been found to decrease the growth, development, and spread of cancer cells. It may also be powerful enough to kill certain cancer cells.
Piperine may also play a role in the death of cancer cells, decreasing the risk of tumour formation.
4. Combined digestive aid
Turmeric has been used in Indian medicine to help with digestion for thousands of years, and for good reason. Plenty of recent studies support its use, showing that it can help reduce stomach spasms and bloating.
Piperine’s digestive benefits are equally as impressive – it’s been found in studies to enhance the activity of digestive enzymes in the gut, which helps your body to process food more quickly and easily. When combined together, the anti-inflammatory properties of the two spices can reduce gut inflammation, which ultimately results in better digestion.
How to take turmeric and black pepper
Turmeric and black pepper are two of the most widely available spices around the world. You’ll be able to get your hands on them easily, as you can almost guarantee you’ll find them in your local supermarket.If you’d rather not add turmeric and black pepper to your home-cooked meals, you can choose to include a teaspoon of each in a tea, along with hot water, a dash of olive oil, or coconut oil, a teaspoon of honey, and a sprinkle of ginger. Drinking a turmeric black pepper tea every morning is a good way to make sure you get your daily dose of the spices.
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Side effects of turmeric and black pepper
As natural, plant-sourced ingredients deemed safe for culinary use, turmeric and black pepper don’t have many side effects to be aware of. There’s no recommended maximum dose for either, but if you’re supplementing, it’s important to follow product instructions to stay on the safe side.Taking too much turmeric might lead to stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. Eating large amounts of black pepper may cause a burning sensation in your throat or stomach. If you’re cooking with spices, it’s best to add only what you’re comfortable with your food.
If you’re yet to make space for turmeric and black pepper in your spice rack, what are you waiting for? There are so many benefits to be had from the pair, whether you choose to enjoy them sprinkled into your dishes, added to a tea, or taken in supplement form. Not only are they both delicious, but your body will also thank you for their complementary advantages to your health.