Probiotic yogurts are full of good bacteria that improve gut health and aid in digestion. The good-for-your-gut bacteria have an array of health benefits, but the sneaky inclusion of additives lessen their effectiveness by a few degrees.

A team of researchers from Poland, therefore, is looking to replace the harmful additives with curcumin–a naturally occurring agent that gives turmeric its color–which has a rich anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidative profile.

Given the fact that curcumin isn’t water-soluble, the body isn’t able to take in sufficient amounts to produce a biological result. Experts added curcumin to probiotic yogurt to evaluate if it remained dissolved in the dairy product, while helping to preserve it.

“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,” the study’s first author Dr. Magdalena Buniowska-Olejnik from the Institute of Food Technology and Nutrition at the University of Rzeszow, said in a press release.

The newly-formed probiotic yogurt consisted of a form of curcumin called NOMICU L-100®, which is better soluble in water than its other kinds. It was then compared to yogurt containing a standard turmeric extract to see which one worked better in striking out yeast, fungi, and bacteria over 28 days, according to News-Medical.

A panel of expert testers evaluated whether there were any changes in the color and taste of the yogurt in the course. In the end, NOMICU L-100® was found to have outweighed its competitor with better results.

“We found that NOMICU L-100 was better at inhibiting the growth of yeast, fungi and bacteria than the standard turmeric extract,” said 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 toward the red end, making it look more attractive. NOMICU imparted a sweet, rich, creamy flavor to the yogurt, which remained stable to the end of the 28 days storage in the fridge.”

Researchers are now hoping to add the new curcumin variant in other dairy products to enhance their health benefits as well as their shelf life.

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A new study shows that curcumin, a substance found in the spice turmeric, could help improve the conditions of people with knee osteoarthritis. PIXABAY