Inflammation is the defense mechanism that our body activates in case of infection and goes away when its action is no longer necessary, that is, when the threat has been defeated. And so far everything works perfectly. Sometimes, however, particular conditions trigger low-level and chronic inflammation, which never goes away, but acts silently causing, in the long run, an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular problems, depression, tumors but also skin aging. One of these conditions that promotes inflammation is obesity. In addition to eating healthy and doing moderate physical activity, what can we do to combat the inflammation caused by fat deposits? One weapon at our disposal seems to be turmeric, as we learn from a recent article published in the Nutrients magazine by an Italian team (Vari et al, Nutrients, 2021).
The problem of fat
Fat, especially if located around the waistline, can activate the immune response as if the body were constantly under threat. The adipose tissue actually behaves like an endocrine organ and produces hormones and pro inflammatory substances.
Turmeric and its anti-inflammatory action
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. It is lipophilic, meaning it dissolves in fat, and it is the substance that makes turmeric a spice with antioxidant, anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, the researchers wondered if turmeric could also have a role in countering chronic inflammation induced by obesity. From the comparison and analysis of data from previous studies, it emerged that curcumin is able to balance again the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory substances, reducing inflammation in the presence of overweight. And this with quantities of curcumin that can be easily reached with food, taking into account that a teaspoon of turmeric contains about 90 mg of curcumin. In fact, it has been observed that taking two capsules of 40 mg per day of curcumin for three months in overweight or obese people with fatty liver has reduced the indicators of inflammation, such as C reactive protein or interleukin 6.
Turmeric and weight loss
Not only that, it has also been found that curcumin is able to increase weight loss induced by dietary and lifestyle changes in obese people and people with metabolic syndrome.
Turmeric and pepper, the winning combination
The basic problem of using turmeric in cooking is certainly given by the poor bioavailability of curcumin, which hardly exceeds the stomach barrier. However, it has been observed that the association of turmeric with a fat, such as extra virgin olive oil, and with the piperine of pepper, significantly increases its absorption. So, a good way to dress the salad is to prepare a small bowl in which you have poured a teaspoon of turmeric, ground black pepper and a drizzle of oil. Finally, as also mentioned in the article, it is good to include turmeric within a healthy lifestyle as there are no miracle foods but only many substances that work in synergy for well-being.