RZESZÓW, Poland — Want yogurt that’s even healthier for your gut? Researchers have successfully added a purified form of curcumin to create probiotic yogurt with no artificial preservatives. Moreover, the team in Poland says this product still has a long shelf life and health-enhancing properties.
Curcumin is the naturally-occurring compound that gives turmeric its bright yellow color. Studies consistently show it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties, capable of inhibiting bacterial and fungal growth while improving immune health.
“It is well known that curcumin has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects. However, it is insoluble in water, which is one of the main reasons why our bodies are not able to absorb sufficient amounts for it to have a biological effect. We wanted to see if it was possible to create a dairy product containing curcumin in a bioavailable form that would also appeal to the consumer,” says study first author Dr. Magdalena Buniowska-Olejnik from the Institute of Food Technology and Nutrition at the University of Rzeszow in a media release.
The researchers added a form of curcumin called NOMICU L-100® to yogurt, which easily dissolves in water and the body is capable of absorbing. To see how effective it was at inhibiting bacterial and fungal growth, they compared it with a yogurt that only contained a standard turmeric extract. Over a 28-day period, the team evaluated the color of the yogurts and their taste, using a panel of expert taste testers.
How did the purified curcumin benefit yogurt?
“We found that NOMICU L-100 was better at inhibiting the growth of yeast, fungi and bacteria than the standard turmeric extract,” says Dr. Buniowska-Olejnik. “It maintained the recommended levels of the ‘good’ lactic acid bacteria that are contained in fermented, live yogurts.”
“Yogurt containing the standard turmeric extract was slightly better at remaining in a homogenous form without a layer of water developing on the top. However, it tasted bitter and the taste deteriorated after the first week of storage in the fridge, so it did not appeal to the tasting panel. In addition, its color was towards the green end of the yellow spectrum, whereas NOMICU shifted the color towards the red end, making it look more attractive. NOMICU imparted a sweet, rich, creamy flavor to the yoghurt, which remained stable to the end of the 28 days storage in the fridge,” the researcher adds.
Scientists are taking this as a win, considering this could be a big breakthrough for health and wellness products. NOMICU is the first highly purified curcumin on the market that doesn’t have artificial additives. Despite that, it’s extremely bioavailable because of how well it dissolves into water.
Cardiologist Maciej Banach thinks this will have great implications for human health, especially considering how popular yogurt is. With this extra boost of added health, it could change the probiotic game.
“This is especially important now, in post-pandemic times, when around 70% of the population is overweight, obese or suffer from disorders of the gut, and are at high risk of chronic diseases, including two of the biggest killers – cardiovascular disease and cancer, which are responsible for over 30 million deaths per year worldwide,” Banach explains.
The findings are published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.