A very common concern presented by readers is that why should I take turmeric when curcumin is the one responsible for all its health benefits.
Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric and research has focused its attention of this molecule out of the 100 different compounds present in the herb. Turmeric includes curcumin in its natural state which makes it more absorbable and also the whole herb has more to offer than just curcumin.
Nevertheless, a not so common but an important question that pops up: Is it OK to use curcumin powder instead of organic turmeric powder to make the Golden paste? Let’s find out!
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Is it safe to use curcumin powder instead of turmeric powder to make Golden Paste?
The answer is – No, you may not want to use curcumin powder instead of turmeric to prepare Golden paste. The reason is that curcumin has intermediate thermal stability and it may not withstand the heat for the period that involves cooking of the paste. Further, replacing turmeric with curcumin will lead to overdose (typically turmeric has just 3-5% curcumin).
Moreover, turmeric powder has more to offer than just curcumin, and it contains curcumin in its natural state.
Lastly, turmeric is inexpensive in comparison to curcumin powder. However, you can still add curcumin powder to your Golden Paste after it has cooled for that extra punch or for treating chronic conditions.
Here are a few scientific details on curcumin’s thermal stability and how that impacts your choice between turmeric and cucumin for preparing Golden paste.
1. Curcumin has intermediate heat stability
If you have read our post Does Cooking Destroy Health Benefits of Turmeric and Black Pepper? You must be aware that curcumin has intermediate heat stability.
Certain studies show that 85% of curcumin is lost within 15-30 minutes of cooking. Another study suggests that when curcumin is used as a food coloring agent, the temperature should not exceed 190 degree Celsius.
Further, a study using a temperature range of 30-90 degree Celsius found curcumin to have intermediate thermal stability.
Despite the cooking losses, curcumin is still transformed into beneficial therapeutic compounds. But we can aim to minimize such losses.
The Golden Paste recipe is a DIY optimized way of getting health benefits of turmeric at home. Curcumin has poor solubility in water, and this limits its absorption in the body.
Golden Paste contains black pepper and healthy fats to improve absorption of turmeric and curcumin. Additionally, the recipe calls for cooking turmeric with water to get a paste of uniform consistency initially.
Cooking or heating turmeric is proven to increase curcumin and turmeric’s solubility in water. However, the cooking involved in Turmeric Paste may not be suitable for curcumin powder; it may degrade under such conditions.
2. Turmeric has more to offer than curcumin
Another reason to use turmeric powder instead of curcumin is that turmeric powder has more to offer than curcumin.
It contains curcumin in its natural ratio with curcuminoids, little amounts of turmeric essential oils and other therapeutic compounds.
Also, organic turmeric is inexpensive in comparison to curcumin powder. We recommend using organic turmeric powder for making Golden paste; you can add curcumin powder to it after it cools.
How to take turmeric for daily health benefits?
Including turmeric in the diet is the best way to take the herb. Please check our list of recommended organic turmeric brands. The Golden paste is an effective way to take turmeric as it contains healthy fats and black pepper to enhance absorption. You can Golden Paste from fresh turmeric roots as well.
Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks.
It is best taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take meds.
Though not a necessity, if you have purchased curcumin powder beforehand, you can add it to the Golden Paste after it has cooled. Also if you are suffering from a chronic or serious health condition, you may consider adding curcumin powder to your paste.
It is difficult to suggest how much to add to the entire batch.
However, you can add ¼- ½ tsp curcumin powder to 1 tsp Golden Paste (adjust based on your intake) just before consuming it.
You can also make turmeric capsules with the curcumin powder. (Read How to make Turmeric capsules at home)
If opting for supplements, please consult a health practitioner prior. Read 8 Popular Turmeric Supplements Available In Market Today
A few precautions to be noted when taking turmeric
- Opt for organic turmeric powder.
- Avoid taking turmeric supplements if experiencing bleeding disorders or taking antiplatelet medications. (Read Curcumin: Side effects & Precautions)
- Discontinue turmeric supplements two weeks before surgery.
- Limit or avoid turmeric powder if you have kidney stones or gout. Opt for supplements if needed. (Read Side Effects of Turmeric)
- Limit turmeric intake in case of gallbladder stones.
- Avoid taking turmeric on an empty stomach. (Read Precautions with Turmeric Use)
- Start with small doses of turmeric and increase gradually to minimise gastric side effects.
- Avoid turmeric supplements in pregnancy and lactation.
Golden Paste involves cooking turmeric with water on low heat to get a uniform consistency of the paste. This helps to increase the solubility of turmeric in water and enhances absorption. Since the heat is low and time involved in cooking is limited, heat losses are minimised.
However, curcumin has intermediate heat stability. Cooking purified curcumin powder alone may cause it to degrade.
Also, turmeric contains more therapeutic components other than curcumin. It is inexpensive as well.
Therefore it is advised to use organic turmeric powder only for preparing Turmeric Paste. If you have purchased curcumin powder already, you can add it to the paste once it cools down and before consuming it.