We have been hearing a lot about turmeric and curcumin off late, reading about them magazines, various advertisements stating the various health benefits that these two substances can give us. A lot many people get confused with the two.
What is the Difference Between Turmeric and Curcumin?
The turmeric plant is also scientifically known as Curcumin longa and is a very popular herb in India and various other Asian countries. The turmeric root belongs to the ginger family and is harvested cleaned, dried and converted into another form of a powder to be used as a spice. Turmeric has been used for ages to give beautiful golden yellow color, aroma and flavor to curries and also in healing wounds and treatment of various ailments.
The health benefits of turmeric are due to the presence of a compound called curcumin. Like how lemons are a rich source of vitamin C, curcumin is found in turmeric. Curcumin is extracted from turmeric to be used as natural medicine.
These two substances are used interchangeably many a times but the difference lies in the fact that turmeric is a yellow powder which is used to flavor foods while curcumin is a chemical polyphenol which is found in turmeric and is responsible for the health benefits. Curcumin was first isolated in the year 1815 but it was not until the next hundred years later that its proper chemical structure was found out in the year 1910. Thereafter, the research on the health benefits of curcumin has increased many folds.
Curcumin belongs to a large group of chemicals known as curcuminoids which are polyphenolic compounds found in turmeric. Do we know what is responsible for the yellow color of turmeric? Yes, you guessed it right! Curcumin is responsible for the yellow color of the turmeric. Curcumin has many health benefits as shown by many research studies that curcumin is a great anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and anticancerous agent.
Curcumin can regulate the messengers that cause inflammation in the body and hence are quite effective in also treating the autoimmune disorders like arthritis, studies also show that curcumin has great potential in treating and preventing cancer, diabetes, Psoriasis, allergies, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Consumption of turmeric is also related to potential side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in some cases it can also lead to stomach cancer. Individuals with gallbladder disease are suggested to be careful before taking turmeric as it can worsen the symptoms of gallbladder disease.
The main problem with curcumin is that its bioavailability is very low. What does that mean? It means that curcumin is not absorbed completely by the gastrointestinal tract. A lot of curcumin is wasted and is thrown out of the body. What is the solution to this problem?
The main solution to the problem is consuming curcumin with a pinch of black pepper which increases by bioavailability to a large extent.