Food manufactures are allowed to put misleading claims on package labels. I make it my mission to seek out the truth behind these claims. The latest product being released is a perfect example - Lay's Potato chips, "Poppables" - a crisp and puffy chip made from potato - a snack that contains turmeric.
Although PepsiCo isn't touting their new product as health food it has caught the eye of health enthusiast.
Why? Turmeric is one of the hottest new "superfoods" that actually is backed by science for its many health benefits and anti-inflammation properties. But before you run out and spend your money on a bottle of over the counter turmeric spice or a bag of potato chips there is more to the story.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant that comes from the ginger family and is the spice used for the yellow coloring in curry. In addition to being used as a spice it has been used for medicinal purposes in India for thousands of years. Research has found promise in a primary compound of turmeric called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high, it’s around 3% by weight.
Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day. It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods. In addition, It turns out that curcumin is poorly absorbed in the bloodstream so in order to "unlock" its benefits, curcumin needs to be combined with another nutrient called piperine (derived from pepper) which increases absorption by 2000%
So, is adding turmeric to a bag full of potato chips going to make them healthier - the answer is no. But adding turmeric to your diet (while adding black pepper) can prove to be beneficial. And although it is RARE that I ever recommend supplements this is one worth considering.
Here is a link to a sight with reviews on the leading supplement brands.
Recommended doses per web MD
ADULTS BY MOUTH:
- For high cholesterol: 1.4 grams of turmeric extract in two divided doses daily for 3 months has been used.
- For itching (pruritus): 1500 mg of turmeric in three divided doses daily for 8 weeks has been used. Also, a specific product containing turmeric extract (C3 Complex, Sami Labs LTD) plus black pepper or long pepper has been used daily for 4 weeks.
- For osteoarthritis: 500 mg of a non-commercial turmeric product four times daily for 4-6 weeks has been used. 500 mg of a specific turmeric extract (Turmacin, Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd.) has been used twice daily for 6 weeks (89721). 500 mg of a specific turmeric extract (Meriva, Indena) containing turmeric and phosphatidylcholine has been used twice daily for 2-3 months. Other combination products have also been used.
CHILDREN BY MOUTH:
- For high cholesterol: 1.4 grams of turmeric extract in two divided doses daily for 3 months has been used in children at least 15 years-old.