The Asian root spice turmeric, often known as Haldi, requires little introduction. The spice is derived from the root of a flowering plant in the ginger family that is native to the Indian subcontinent and portions of Southeast Asia. The plant’s rhizomes are collected and dried in heated furnaces before being processed into the powder that we all know and love. Turmeric powder is used in a variety of home remedies for a wide range of minor and major disorders, and it is also used to improve the beauty and heal wounds.
The Ayurvedic spice known for its significant anti-aging and antioxidant qualities is a prominent ingredient in many vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian recipes. Turmeric is a staple in almost every Indian meal and is one of the most significant spices in the spice cabinet. But, in order to receive the full advantages of turmeric, should it be cooked or ingested raw? Let us investigate!
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Turmeric Health Advantages
Tumeric has a variety of health benefits, including the ability to naturally chill the body and improve immunity. Several studies have also demonstrated the spice’s antioxidant qualities. This is why golden milk and golden lattes with turmeric powder have begun to appear in cafes all over the world.
The existence of specific chemicals known as curcuminoids has been attributed to the majority of the advantages of turmeric. Turmeric powder contains 1 to 6% curcuminoids, which provide the spice its antioxidant qualities. Turmeric contains 34 essential oils in addition to curcuminoids. Turmeric’s health advantages are attributed to these components, which include brain protection, improved digestion and immunity, relief from arthritic pain, and even cancer prevention!
Is it true that cooking turmeric destroys its benefits?
The majority of turmeric’s culinary applications require either frying it at high temperatures or fermenting it in pickles. But, by heating it, are we diminishing its benefits? A study done by the Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition at the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore discovered that boiling and pressure cooking turmeric for an extended period of time may result in the loss of turmeric’s curcumin component. The researchers investigated the effect of heat on curucumin in turmeric in three different scenarios: boiling for ten minutes, boiling for twenty minutes, and pressure cooking for ten minutes.
According to the study’s findings, heat processing destroyed between 27 and 53 percent of the curcumin. When a souring agent was present during the heat processing, the loss of curcumin was reduced to between 12% and 30%. The souring agent employed in this investigation was tamarind. The greatest loss of curcumin was seen during turmeric pressure cooking.
Expert Opinion: Raw Turmeric vs. Cooked Turmeric According to Dr. Rupali Dutta, a consulting nutritionist, boiling turmeric has the opposite effect on curcumin as in the study above. The majority of the study on the effects of heat on curcumin point to heating the spice. “When turmeric is cooked, it becomes more bioavailable. This is because of specific enzymatic reactions that occur when the chemical is heated “Dr. Dutta says She also stated that boiling turmeric for five to ten minutes in any type of oil improves the body’s absorption of curcuminoids.
Shilpa Arora, a Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, also suggests adding turmeric to dals and curries on a daily basis to boost the body’s antioxidant capability. When it comes to cooking turmeric, Arora agrees with Dr. Dutta, stating that the absorption of curcumin is considerably better when turmeric is cooked or fermented in pickles.
Finally, should you cook with turmeric?
According to the study, boiling is the worst way to prepare turmeric since it results in the most curcumin loss. Cooking it for a brief period of time, on the other hand, may improve its health advantages by making the curcuminoids more easily absorbed by the body. You might wish to experiment with turmeric in the kitchen. Try putting turmeric powder on top of soups and smoothie bowls, or blending it into your coffees and milkshakes. When cooking lentils or dal, you may wish to add the turmeric later rather than during the pressure cooking process. One method is to include turmeric in the tadka, which is often added after the dal has been cooked. Curcumin retention may be improved by cooking turmeric in ghee for a brief period. As far as I know, turmeric has the opposite qualities of other nutrients and vitamins that are severely damaged by heat. Heat facilitates absorption by the body. Manufacturers also include Bioperine (black pepper extract) to improve turmeric bioavailability. The issue is that heated turmeric does not have a particularly pleasant flavor. If that doesn’t bother you, always use turmeric blended in hot water. If it’s raw, look for a formula that has 500mg turmeric and at least 5mg piperine in each capsule, and take it after a meal.