Turmeric, a well-known spice in South East Asian cooking hardly needs any introduction. Turmeric has a long legacy of being used as a natural healer and a potent immunity booster. This is one of the commonest spices which form an integral part of the seasoning cabinet in every Indian kitchen. Turmeric is with us since the time immemorial in several forms, whether it be the time tested home remedy of haldi doodh in the grandma’s box or the very innovative curcumin capsules.

The principal component responsible for the action of Turmeric is Curcumin. This bright yellow ingredient is known for its healing and immune boosting properties. It houses several other pharmacological properties like anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-diabetic and neuro protective action. Indians are consuming turmeric widely almost in every dish right from the lentils curry to smoothies. But do you think the whole of it finds its way till gut?


 Whether cooking impacts the health benefits of Turmeric. Several studies conducted in this context give us clear evidence that there is a significant loss of its active principles when exposed to high temperatures for a longer time. The study also demonstrated that pressure cooking makes the spice lose most of its active curcumin than just boiling. Almost 27-53% of curcumin was destroyed upon boiling under pressure.

Indians prefer eating cooked foods over the raw ones. Most of the cooking involves boiling, frying, or roasting at higher temperatures. Experts had found out that curcumin has a higher susceptibility to degradation upon heating procedures like frying. There is a significant reduction in the anti-oxidant potential of curcumin upon cooking under different conditions. While boiling retained active principles to some extent, roasting and frying lowered them considerably.

 So the question arises whether you should be cooking turmeric? Cooking turmeric for a long time is a bad idea as it makes it lose most of its beneficial curcumin. Some of the active principles are left behind if cooked for a shorter interval. You need to be wiser with cooking the spice to reap the maximum benefits out of it. Just a dash of turmeric upon on your smoothies or pinch of it in latte or cooked lentils may help to preserve the curcumin but it may not be sufficient to ward off your body against dreadful viruses and bacteria in the surroundings. So why not incorporate pure natural curcumin extract to your daily routine and preserve your immune health.  


  • Effect of heat processing of spices on the concentrations of their bioactive principles: Turmeric (Curcuma longa), red pepper (Capsicum annuum) and black pepper (Piper nigrum); D Suresh, H Manjunatha, Krishnapura Srinivasan; Journal of Food Composition and Analysis; Volume 20, Issues 3–4, May 2007, Pages 346-351;

  • Effect of heat and microwave treatments on phenolic compounds and fatty acids of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) and saffron (Crocus sativus L.); Mariela Valentina Cortez et.al.; Brazilian Journal of Food Technology, On-line version ISSN 1981-6723