Turmeric Powder vs Raw Turmeric: Health Benefits
Turmeric, the golden-hued spice celebrated for its medicinal benefits and delicious spicy taste, has found its way into health-conscious diets worldwide. But can you eat raw turmeric? And are there greater health benefits if you eat it raw or use turmeric powder? Let's delve into the potential benefits and drawbacks each may bring to the table.
Can You Eat Turmeric Raw?
Yes, you can eat turmeric rhizome raw. But why would you want to? It's flavour is very strong and the texture is not very pleasant raw. According to Dr Doug, “it is virtually indigestible if eaten raw. Similar to the potato, turmeric is made up of tough starches and needs to be cooked in boiling water to break it down and make it easier to digest.”
- Fibre Content: The fibrous nature of raw turmeric root provides additional dietary fibre.
- Limited Bioavailability: Curcumin in raw turmeric has very low bioavailability, meaning the body barely absorbs it at all compared to properly prepared high-potency turmeric powder.
- Taste and Texture: The strong, earthy flavour and hard, stringy texture is not very palatable.
Consuming High Potency Turmeric Powder
High potency turmeric is a concentrated form of turmeric, crafted to maximise the health benefits of curcumin. This version promises a convenient, reliable and potent alternative, reducing the limitations posed by eating raw turmeric.
- Enhanced Bioavailability: High-potency turmeric powder, when cooked in boiling water, enhances curcumin absorption. Oil and black pepper are added after cooking.
- Convenience: Powder form allows for easy incorporation into various dishes, beverages, or even smoothies.
- Standardised Dosing: With measured concentrations, achieving consistent curcumin intake becomes more manageable.
- Processing Concerns: Some argue that processing may strip away certain natural compounds present in raw turmeric, potentially affecting the overall nutritional profile but this isn’t the case.
- Artificial Additives: Depending on the product, high-potency turmeric powders may contain additives for preservation or flavour enhancement, but generally all turmeric powders are additive-free, particularly in Australia and USA.
You can overcome these hurdles by reading the label carefully. Look for key terms including ‘high-potency’ and ‘100% natural’ like Dr Doug’s turmeric powder available here.
Is Powdered Turmeric as Good as Fresh Turmeric?
Powdered turmeric is much better. Research shows us that to get the health benefits of turmeric you need to heat it with water to make it bioavailable (that is, to help your body absorb) the active ingredient curcumin. So although eating fresh turmeric can be delicious for some, high-potency turmeric powder has greater medicinal benefits when prepared properly and has more curcumin for the body to absorb.
What is the Healthiest Way to Consume Turmeric?
Dr Doug recommends making Golden Paste with high-potency turmeric powder. This involves cooking turmeric powder in boiling water and adding oil and black pepper after cooking. Find the recipe here. The oil for absorption of curcumin polyphenols, and the piper nigrum (pepper) to slow excretion so they act in metabolic processes longer.
If you’re looking for a simple ready-made option, Turmeric Life offers Dr Doug’s Golden Paste recipe in transportable health bars and bites available below: