Superfood powerhouses: The health benefits of combining black pepper and turmeric (recipes included)
01/21/2022 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Superfood powerhouses: The health benefits of combining black pepper and turmeric (recipes included)

Turmeric is a superfood powerhouse because it contains a beneficial active compound called curcumin. However, curcumin has poor bioavailability, meaning your body can only absorb a small amount of this potent compound.

To address this issue, you can combine black pepper and turmeric.

Black pepper is another superfood with incredible benefits thanks to its active ingredient, piperine. Combining curcumin and piperine will give you greater health benefits than consuming turmeric alone.


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of the most potent medicinal herbs on the planet. Its many benefits are also backed by over 10,000 peer-reviewed studies.

In Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), turmeric is known as a warming spice that first cools then dries the body in the short term. TCM practitioners often prescribe it to patients experiencing stagnation of “qi” and the blood, which is thought to cause conditions like bleeding disorders or an enlarged liver or spleen.

Combining black pepper and turmeric boosts curcumin absorption

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is another superfood with many health benefits. It can help promote digestive health and even help prevent cancer. Black pepper’s pungent flavor and health benefits come from piperine. Combining black pepper and turmeric helps boost the bioavailability of curcumin.

Black pepper also stimulates digestive enzymes and decreases inflammation linked to the quick breakdown of turmeric in the body.

According to a 1998 study, combining two grams (g) of curcumin with 20 milligrams (mg) of piperine produced a whopping 2,000 percent increase in the bioavailability of curcumin in human volunteers. Meanwhile, the absorption of curcumin increased by 154 percent in rats.

This suggests that a low dose of curcumin from turmeric would have a greater effect when combined with piperine than a larger dose of curcumin or turmeric would alone.

To boost the benefits of curcumin, add a pinch of black pepper (1/20th of a teaspoon).

6 Amazing health benefits of black pepper and turmeric

Curcumin and piperine have unique health-supporting properties of their own. But combining the two enhances the health benefits of turmeric. Here are some of them:

Improves digestive health

In Ayurveda, turmeric is used to address digestive issues. According to studies, curcumin can be used to manage symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease like abdominal pain, bloating and gas.

Black pepper and turmeric can both enhance the activity of digestive enzymes, which means they can help you process food faster.

Improves liver health

Turmeric is often used for liver detoxification. When ingested, turmeric helps increase cholesterol elimination by boosting bile production.

Curcumin also helps protect against some toxins that can harm your liver, like tobacco smoke, galactosamine, peroxide and household chemicals.

Combining turmeric with black pepper may help boost the absorption of glutathione, a compound that protects your liver at the cellular level.

Data from a study showed that glutathione was most effective when given to people with fatty liver disease intravenously and at high doses. Study participants also showed reductions in malondialdehyde, a marker of liver cell damage.

Helps reduce inflammation and prevent arthritis

Piperine may help reduce the inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. Research also suggests that the curcuminoids in turmeric can prevent rheumatoid arthritis.

Findings from a 2016 study suggest that a specialized formulation of curcumin can inhibit inflammation in the synovial fluid that lubricates joints.

Helps prevent and treat cancer

Several studies have shown that combining black pepper with turmeric helps inhibit the growth of cancerous stem cells in breast tumors. Turmeric also exerts anticancer effects on colon cancer cells, gastric cancer cells and leukemia cells.

Additionally, researchers have discovered that black pepper and turmeric extracts can protect healthy tissue in patients undergoing radiation therapy.

Relieves discomfort

When taken together, black pepper and turmeric can help relieve joint discomfort, soreness and stiffness. Turmeric is often used to address joint pain, while piperine can help desensitize transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1), a pain receptor.

In a 2017 study, researchers discovered that curcumin and piperine supplementation before and after exercise helped reduce muscle damage. This means this superfood duo may be beneficial for athletes when taken before and after a workout.

Promotes weight loss

In a 2010 study, researchers reported that curcumin interacts with fat cells, liver cells, pancreatic cells, muscle cells and immune cells called macrophages. This suggests that both turmeric and black pepper may help protect against several factors linked to obesity, like inflammation, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), hyperlipidemia (higher than average levels of lipids or fats in the blood) and insulin resistance.

Boost your metabolism by consuming turmeric, black pepper and ginger mixed in a glass of water in the morning.

Incorporating turmeric and black pepper into your diet

Experience the incredible health benefits of curcumin and piperine by adding turmeric root or powder with black pepper to your regular diet.

You can also consume turmeric with healthy fats like coconut oil to further enhance absorption.

If you prefer a more convenient way of consuming these superfoods, try taking a black pepper and turmeric supplement. When taking turmeric and black pepper supplements, start with small doses of a quarter-teaspoon to a half-teaspoon. As you get used to the supplement, gradually increase the dosage to two or three teaspoons daily for a few weeks.

Want to try the superfood combo of black pepper and turmeric? Check out the recipes below.

Golden turmeric paste

Use this tasty “golden” turmeric paste for smoothies, salad dressings or curries.


  • 1 cup filtered water (Use an extra 1/2 cup of water if needed.)
  • 1/2 cup organic turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Pour the water into a pan and add the turmeric. As you heat the turmeric, gently stir until you get a thick paste. Stir for six to 10 minutes. If the paste is watery, add more turmeric. If it’s too thick, add more water.
  2. Add the black pepper and coconut oil when the mixture reaches your desired thickness. Keep stirring until al thel ingredients are mixed properly.
  3. Set the mixture aside and let it cool.
  4. Keep the paste in a jar.

This golden turmeric paste will last for one to two weeks in the fridge.

Peppercorn turmeric chia tea

Boost your digestive health with a cup of soothing peppercorn turmeric chia tea.


  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons black tea leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw honey
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 drops wild orange essential oil
  • 1 drop cinnamon essential oil
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg


  1. Get a saucepan and heat the almond milk and water.
  2. Add the tea leaves, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, black peppercorns, cinnamon essential oil, orange essential oil and cloves to the mixture in the pan.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to low heat and simmer. For tea with a stronger taste, let the mixture simmer longer.
  4. Strain the spices and pour into cups. Add honey to taste bef0re serving.

Combine black pepper and turmeric, two amazing superfoods, to enhance curcumin absorption and boost your digestive health.

Sources: 1 2

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