Cumin vs. Turmeric — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Turmeric is derived from a root vegetable (Curcuma longa), while cumin is derived from a dried seed of a plant (Cumin cyminum).
Although the serving sizes of spices are not large enough to contribute to the daily needs of vitamins and minerals, both contain high levels of these nutrients. Specifically, cumin seeds provide 11 times more Vitamin B1, 4 times more Vitamin B6, 2 times more Vitamin B2, and 3 times more Vitamin B3 when compared to turmeric. On the other hand, turmeric provides 6 times more manganese.
Table of contents
This article will discuss the main differences in the nutrition of turmeric and cumin while also focusing on their health impact.
What's the Actual Difference?
These two spices are derived from different sources and differ in taste and appearance, but they are both commonly used in many recipes around the world.
The main difference between these spices is that turmeric is derived from a root vegetable (Curcuma longa), while cumin is derived from a dried seed of a plant (Cumin cyminum).
Cumin powder is often described as having a peppery, nutty, and bitter taste, while turmeric is described as earthy and bitter. Ground cumin is brownish-yellow in color, while turmeric is orange-yellow.
The serving sizes for both spices are usually about 0.5g-2g, but depending on the dish, you might add more. One teaspoon of whole cumin seeds is about 2.1 grams, while one teaspoon of ground turmeric is around 3 grams.
However, to keep the comparison between the two spices simple, we will sometimes refer to 100-gram servings of each.
Macronutrients and Calories
As can be seen from the macronutrient comparison charts below, carbs are the predominant macronutrient in both spices. Turmeric consists of 67% carbs, while cumin consists of 44% carbs.
Given that the serving sizes for both cumin seeds and ground turmeric are very small as they are mostly used as seasonings, the differences in macronutrients are not relevant in the context of the daily recommended amount of nutrients and calories.
Cumin seeds and ground turmeric contain similar amounts of calories.
One teaspoon serving of ground turmeric (3 grams) provides around 9 calories, while one teaspoon of whole cumin seeds (2.1 grams) provides around 8 calories.
Per 100-gram serving, turmeric provides 312 calories, whereas cumin provides 375 calories.
Cumin contains 7 times more fats than turmeric.
One teaspoon of turmeric provides around 0.098 grams of total lipid fat, while one teaspoon of whole cumin seeds provides around 0.468 grams of total lipid fat.
Per 100-gram serving, cumin seeds contain 22.27g of fats, whereas turmeric provides only 3.25g of fat.
Both turmeric and cumin have no cholesterol.
Cumin seeds contain slightly lower levels of carbs when compared to turmeric.
Turmeric has 67.14g of carbs per 100g. It contains 22.7g of fiber and 44.44g of net carbs. Cumin has 44.24g of carbs per 100g, of which 10.5g is fiber and 33.74g are net carbs.
A single serving of neither of these spices provides significant amounts of vitamins to contribute to your daily needs; however, they still do contain various vitamins that we can discuss here.
Cumin contains a higher amount of various vitamins compared to turmeric. It provides more Vitamin A and most of the B-Complex vitamins, including Vitamin B3, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B1.
Specifically, it contains 11 times more Vitamin B1, 4 times more Vitamin B6, 2 times more Vitamin B2, and 3 times more Vitamin B3.
On the other hand, turmeric is high in Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
Both of these spices completely lack Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. While turmeric contains some amounts of Vitamin B5, cumin seeds are completely absent in that vitamin. On the other hand, cumin seeds contain adequate amounts of Vitamin A, which is completely absent in turmeric.
As discussed above, single servings of these spices do not contribute any significant amounts of vitamins or minerals to your daily need; however, we can still discuss their differences.
Both turmeric and cumin contain high amounts of various minerals.
The predominant minerals found in both are manganese and iron. Whereas turmeric contains 6 times more manganese, cumin contains slightly more iron.
Moreover, turmeric has more copper and less sodium. However, cumin provides more magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
They have similar amounts of zinc, potassium, and selenium.
The estimated glycemic index of turmeric and cumin is 0. Both are considered low-GI foods.
Both turmeric and cumin are alkaline. Cumin has a pH equal to 7.3, while turmeric has a pH equal to 35.5. Taking turmeric in high doses may increase your risk of indigestion and nausea.
Several studies show that cumin can lower blood glucose levels. Cumin supplementation in alloxan-induced diabetic rats resulted in a significant reduction in blood glucose and increased total hemoglobin and glycosylated hemoglobin. It also prevented weight loss and reduced total cholesterol levels (1).
Turmeric's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may aid in blood sugar management in people with type 2 diabetes. One study indicates that turmeric extract may help stabilize blood sugar levels and make diabetes more manageable (2).
Studies demonstrate that the chemopreventive effects of cumin are associated with its ability to modulate the metabolism of carcinogens. Mice studies show significant suppression of the growth of stomach tumors and cervical tumors with cumin (3). However, more research on humans is needed.
Turmeric contains a lot of curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit cancer cell development in vitro and in animal studies (4). It can contribute to cancer cell death and reduce angiogenesis.
Research shows that estrogens in the body may help with lipid metabolism, protecting the heart from coronary heart disease. During menopause, estrogen levels drop significantly, making women vulnerable to heart disease. According to the study, cumin extract has hypolipidemic properties, making it a potential treatment for certain menopausal disorders (3).
Turmeric has beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. It may improve the function of the endothelium that lines your blood vessels (5).
One rat study shows that oral administration of cumin may reduce systolic blood pressure and enhance plasma nitric oxide, a component that lowers blood pressure. The study also indicates that cumin can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress (6).
Downsides and Risks
Cumin allergies are caused by a compound called profilin. People who are allergic to profilin may also experience allergic reactions to coriander. Cumin allergy can also cause a pollen allergy to flare up. Itching, swelling, and tingling in the mouth are common symptoms.
Turmeric, in rare cases, may cause serious side effects. In rare cases, some people may experience side effects such as stomach upset, dizziness, or diarrhea (7).
Fat Type Comparison
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in price|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Lower in Glycemic Index||Equal|
|Rich in minerals||Equal|
|Rich in vitamins||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||64µg||0µg|
|Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid||0.081g|
|Omega-3 - ALA||0.003g|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Glycemic Index diet||Equal|
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Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.
- Cumin - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170923/nutrients
- Turmeric - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172231/nutrients
All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.