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Cumin vs Curry powder - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Cumin
vs
Curry powder

Introduction

Earthy and aromatic spices add delicate flavors to any dish they are added to. Cumin and curry powder are two spices that you can find in any kitchen all over the world. However, these spices are often confused with each other. In this article, you can find differences and similarities between cumin and curry powder and their nutritional value.

Classification

Cumin is the dried seed of the Cuminum herb. Cumin is also known as jeera. Cumin belongs to the Apiaceae family, which also includes celery, carrots, anise, dill, and other edible plants.

Curry powder is a spice mix, which main ingredients are ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Some blends also contain garlic and cinnamon. Curry powder originates from India, used to flavor food.

What’s The Actual Difference?

The biggest difference between them is that cumin is a single spice, while curry powder is a mix of multiple spices, which includes ginger, garlic, and turmeric.

Cumin and curry powder also differ in their taste. Cumin is earthy, pungent, and slightly bitter. Curry powder can be hot due to chili or black pepper, and it can also taste sweet due to spices like cinnamon. Cumin has a brown color while curry powder is often a shade of yellow.

Uses

Cumin is widely used in cooking, you can add it to dry rubs for roasted or grilled meats, to soups, and the breading for fried foods. Cumin can be found in some cheeses, it can be an ingredient in chili powder.
Curry powder is used in a variety of dishes to give it its characteristic flavor and vibrant flavor. Curry powder is used to flavor soups, sauces, meat, and vegetables.

Nutrition

In this section of the article, we will discuss a detailed nutritional description of cumin and curry powder. At the bottom of this page, you can find a nutrition infographic that visually shows the main differences between cumin and curry powder.

Micronutrients

In comparison, curry powder contains 5 times more fiber than cumin. It also has more carbs. On the other hand, cumin is richer in protein and has less sugar. Both have no cholesterol.

Fats

Overall, cumin contains more fats than curry powder. The amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are higher in cumin. Moreover, it contains less saturated fat. Both spices have no trans fats.

Vitamins

The chart below shows how much of your daily needs is covered by 300 grams of cumin and curry powder

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Cumin
6
:
Contains more Vitamin C +1000%
Contains more Vitamin A +6584.2%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +256.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +63.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +40.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +314.3%
Contains more Vitamin E +658%
Contains more Vitamin K +1748.1%
Contains more Folate +460%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 26% 77% 67% 0% 157% 76% 86% 0% 101% 0% 14% 8%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 3% 2% 505% 0% 44% 47% 62% 65% 25% 0% 250% 43%
Contains more Vitamin C +1000%
Contains more Vitamin A +6584.2%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +256.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +63.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +40.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +314.3%
Contains more Vitamin E +658%
Contains more Vitamin K +1748.1%
Contains more Folate +460%

Both cumin and curry powder are packed with vitamins, however, vitamin amounts are different. Curry powder contains 18 times more Vitamin K, 6 times more Vitamin E, and more folate than cumin. On the other hand, cumin contains 10 times more Vitamin C, and 66 times more Vitamin A. It also has more Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin B6. 

Minerals

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Iron +247.4%
Contains more Calcium +77.3%
Contains more Potassium +52.8%
Contains more Magnesium +43.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +36%
Contains more Copper +38.4%
Contains less Sodium -69%
Equal in Zinc - 4.7
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 2489% 280% 158% 262% 289% 131% 214% 22%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 717% 158% 104% 183% 400% 129% 158% 7%
Contains more Iron +247.4%
Contains more Calcium +77.3%
Contains more Potassium +52.8%
Contains more Magnesium +43.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +36%
Contains more Copper +38.4%
Contains less Sodium -69%
Equal in Zinc - 4.7

Cumin is relatively richer in minerals than curry powder. It contains 2 times more iron, more calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. On the other hand, curry powder is higher in selenium, copper, and has less amount of sodium than cumin. The daily required intake of iron is 8.7mg for men and 14.8mg for women. Cumin contains 66.36 mg per 100 g.

Both spices are equal in zinc.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index of cumin is lower than that of curry powder due to the low concentration of sugars in it. The GI of cumin is equal to 0, whereas curry powder has a GI equal to 5. Both are considered low glycemic index food.

Acidity

Both spices are alkaline. On average, Cumin is an alkaline spice, it has a pH equal to 7.3, while curry powder has pH equal to 5.4. That means taking them in high doses may increase your risk of indigestion.

Calories

The number of calories of cumin and curry powder is almost equal. Cumin contains 375 calories per 100 g, and curry powder has 325 calories per 100 g. However, people often consume them in little quantities, so calories will not matter so much. 

Health Benefits

Weight Loss

Most natural, sugar-free spices are acceptable during diets. In particular, cumin is considered to be a keto-friendly, paleo-friendly seasoning. 

Curry powder usually contains turmeric, so it will give a golden hue to your recipes. Curry powder is suitable in low calories and low fats diets. 

All fresh herbs in small amounts, including cumin and curry powder, are acceptable in the first phase of Atkins and beyond [1].

Anti-inflammatory Effects

Both cumin and curry powder contain bioactive compounds that are called curcumin. Curcumin is considered a strong antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have shown that curcumin can block the action of free radicals and may stimulate the activity of other antioxidants [2]. 

In addition, chili pepper and coriander in curry powder also have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Capsaicin compounds in them can block the destructive effects of free radicals [3].

Hypotensive Effects

According to the rat study,  oral administration of cumin seeds has decreased systolic blood pressure and improved plasma nitric oxide, a factor responsible for lowering blood pressure. This study has also shown cumin can lower inflammation and oxidative stress [4].

Cancer

Studies show that the chemopreventive effects of cumin can be attributed to its ability to modulate the metabolism of carcinogens. Studies in mice show significant suppression of the growth of stomach tumors as well as cervical tumors with cumin [5].

Since curry powder contains turmeric, it also has an anti-cancer effect. Animal studies have shown that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancer cells. It also can reduce angiogenesis [6].

Diabetes

Many studies have shown that cumin can lower blood glucose levels. According to the rat study, cumin supplementation in alloxan-induced diabetic rats has resulted in a significant reduction in blood glucose and an increase in total hemoglobin and glycosylated hemoglobin. It also prevented a decrease in body weight and reduced total cholesterol levels [7]. Curry powder can help with blood sugar management in people with type 2 diabetes, because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. According to the study, turmeric extract helps stabilize blood sugar levels and make diabetes more manageable [8]. 

Cardiovascular Health

Estrogens in the body have a beneficial effect on lipid metabolism, therefore protecting the heart from conditions, such as coronary heart disease. During menopause estrogen levels significantly decrease, leaving the person vulnerable to heart disease. According to the study, cumin extract has hypolipidemic activities, which is making it a potential element for the treatment of certain menopausal disorders [9].
The main component of curry powder, curcumin, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. It improves the function of the endothelium that lines your blood vessels. Studies have shown that curcumin may improve endothelial function [10].

Brain Health

According to the study, curcumin, one of the main compounds of curry powder and cumin, can protect your brain. It can significantly improve markers of mental decline and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease [11].

Downside and Risks

The allergy reaction of cumin is caused by a compound called profilin. People who are sensitive to profilin can also experience allergic reactions triggered by coriander. Cumin allergy can also have a cross-reaction with pollen allergy. Symptoms usually include itching, swelling, and tingling of the mouth area 

Being a mix of different spices, curry powder can have some side effects if taken in high amounts. In rare cases, people can have side effects such as stomach upset, dizziness, or diarrhea.

Summary

Cumin is relatively rich in minerals, it contains 65 times more Vitamin A, Vitamin C, protein, and less sugar. Cumin is lower in saturated fat and glycemic index. On the other hand, curry powder contains 17 times more Vitamin K, more copper, carbs, and has less sodium.

References

  1. https://sa.atkins.com/static/default/files/documents/pdf/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17044766/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407112/
  4. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10641963.2013.764887
  5. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327914nc4702_10
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6429287/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12220968/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857752/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841243/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23146777/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5950688/
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Profession: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: September 2, 2021

Infographic

Cumin vs Curry powder infographic
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Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
51
Cumin
87
Curry powder
Mineral Summary Score
480
Cumin
231
Curry powder

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
107%
Cumin
86%
Curry powder
Carbohydrates
44%
Cumin
56%
Curry powder
Fats
103%
Cumin
65%
Curry powder

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Cumin Curry powder
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Cumin Curry powder
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Curry powder
Curry powder contains less Sodium (difference - 116mg)
Which food is cheaper?
Curry powder
Curry powder is cheaper (difference - $1.4)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Cumin
Cumin is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.51g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Cumin
Cumin is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.113g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Cumin
Cumin is lower in glycemic index (difference - 5)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Cumin
Cumin is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cumin Curry powder Opinion
Calories 375 325 Cumin
Protein 17.81 14.29 Cumin
Fats 22.27 14.01 Cumin
Vitamin C 7.7 0.7 Cumin
Carbs 44.24 55.83 Curry powder
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 66.36 19.1 Cumin
Calcium 931 525 Cumin
Potassium 1788 1170 Cumin
Magnesium 366 255 Cumin
Sugar 2.25 2.76 Cumin
Fiber 10.5 53.2 Curry powder
Copper 0.867 1.2 Curry powder
Zinc 4.8 4.7 Cumin
Starch
Phosphorus 499 367 Cumin
Sodium 168 52 Curry powder
Vitamin A 1270 19 Cumin
Vitamin E 3.33 25.24 Curry powder
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.628 0.176 Cumin
Vitamin B2 0.327 0.2 Cumin
Vitamin B3 4.579 3.26 Cumin
Vitamin B5 1.07 Curry powder
Vitamin B6 0.435 0.105 Cumin
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 5.4 99.8 Curry powder
Folate 10 56 Curry powder
Trans Fat 0 Cumin
Saturated Fat 1.535 1.648 Cumin
Monounsaturated Fat 14.04 8.782 Cumin
Polyunsaturated fat 3.279 3.056 Cumin
Tryptophan 0.11 Curry powder
Threonine 0.35 Curry powder
Isoleucine 0.63 Curry powder
Leucine 0.89 Curry powder
Lysine 0.7 Curry powder
Methionine 0.19 Curry powder
Phenylalanine 0.58 Curry powder
Valine 0.75 Curry powder
Histidine 0.29 Curry powder
Fructose 0.79 Curry powder

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Cumin - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170923/nutrients
  2. Curry powder - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170924/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.