Search Close Search
Search Close Search
Page Menu

Eat Better Feel Better

Using Black Pepper to Enhance the Anti-Inflammatory effects of Turmeric

Friday, June 28, 2019


What is Turmeric?

  • Turmeric is an herb descended from the ginger spice family and is widely used throughout India, Asia and Central America to enhance the color and flavors of foods. Turmeric’s various medicinal benefits are highly associated with its active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin is acquired from the underground stems of the herb and is widely known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients can play an important role in combatting inflammation, arthritis, and problems of the stomach, skin, liver, gallbladder, or certain cancers.

How to enhance Turmeric’s benefits and absorption:

  • Curcumin only makes up about 5% of turmeric, similar to black pepper where the active ingredient, piperine also makes up about 5% of the spice. Piperine is responsible for black pepper’s rich flavor and helps inhibit drug metabolism. For example, the liver gets rid of foreign substances by making them water-soluble so that they can be excreted, and piperine can inhibit this process so that curcumin is not excreted. This explains how piperine can help to make curcumin more bioavailable. With just 1/20 teaspoon or more of black pepper, the bioavailability of turmeric is greatly improved, and turmeric’s benefits are further enhanced.
  • Another way to increase the bioavailability of turmeric is to consume this spice with a source of fat (such as avocado, nut butters and nuts, fish, etc.), and therefore curcumin will directly be absorbed into the blood stream and bypass the liver.4

How to add more spice (pepper/turmeric) to your life:

  • Add some pepper and turmeric to scrambled eggs
  • Sprinkle these spices on sautéed or roasted vegetables
  • Use these spices for extra delicious flavor in soups
  • Add them to a salad or salad dressing
  • Turmeric is commonly added into mustards and a little pepper will spice it up!
  • Blend some turmeric into a smoothie
  • Add extra flavor to rice
  • Be creative!

For an easy recipe, try making this salad dressing for topping salads, vegetables, fish or chicken! 


  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon of organic miso (optional) 


Whisk together all ingredients until texture is smooth. Can be prepared ahead and last up to 4 days.