Most of us have probably read a recipe that contained cumin before, or, perhaps for us novice cooks, we’ve at least heard someone else mention they used cumin in their recipe before. But what exactly is it? Where does it come from, what does it taste like and what it is good for? So many questions! So today we’re going to learn a bit about cumin and some of its amazing benefits for our health.
Cumin is a seed that grows on a small plant. The plant has blue-ish green leaves and white or pink flowers. The seeds resemble caraway seeds but they’re lighter in colour and have tiny bristles hardly visible to the naked eye. Cumin is native to the Levant and Upper Egypt although now it grows in most, warm countries, especially India, North Africa, China and the Americas. No need to book a trip though, it’s likely you’ll find it in your local grocer both as a dried seed, or ground into a powder. It has a strong, heavy and warm scent and a powerful, sharp and slightly bitter taste and is rated a 3 on the hotness scale.
It’s likely you’ve come across cumin before in Indian, Eastern, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish recipes. Cumin is much more than a spice found in your typical curry though, it actually has a ton of amazing health benefits. Here are 10 of our favourites.
Cumin may be helpful for people trying to lose weight. A study involving overweight adults compared the effects of cumin, a weight-loss medication, and a placebo on weight. After 8 weeks, the cumin and weight-loss medication groups both lost significant amounts of weight. People in the cumin group also experienced a decrease in their insulin levels.
The previously mentioned study in overweight and obese women also found that consuming 3 g of cumin powder per day resulted in lower total cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. The women who consumed the cumin powder also had higher HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.
Aids in Digestion
Thymol, a compound in cumin, is known to stimulate the glands that secrete acids, bile and enzymes. This stimulation is responsible for the digestion of food in the stomach and intestines.
Boosts your Immune System
The presence of vitamin C in cumin seeds helps boost your immune system. Vitamin C is beneficial for fighting inflammation, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack, fighting oxidative stress that leads to cancer, and promoting healthy skin.
Promotes Healthy Skin
The presence of vitamin E in cumin seeds acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin E helps to strengthen the capillary walls in the skin. It improves moisture and elasticity, acting as a natural anti-ageing nutrient. Studies have shown that vitamin E helps to reduce inflammation both within your body and on the skin, helping to maintain healthy, youthful skin.
Cumin contains vitamins C and A, both of which have anticarcinogenic properties. Vitamin A, for example, is known to help boost the immune system and prevent oxidative stress. According to a study conducted at the University of York, vitamin A intake could help treat several forms of cancer thanks to the vitamin’s ability to control malignant cells in the body.
Cumin seed components are good detoxifying agents. They contain cuminaldehyde, thymol and phosphorus which helps your body detox through urination and excretion. It’s important for kidney function, and the kidneys serve several essential regulatory roles.
High Source of Iron
Cumin seeds are a nutritious additive for people with anaemia. Anaemia is related to a problem with the hemoglobin cell that carries oxygen throughout the body. When the body is unable to get enough oxygen to the cells and tissues, it feels weak and fatigued. Because of the presence of iron in cumin seeds, it serves as a natural cure for anaemia and combats symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, cognitive malfunction and digestive issues.
High Source of Bone-Strengthening Calcium
Calcium is used for nerve transmission, blood clotting, hormone secretion, muscle contraction and reducing blood pressure. Calcium-rich foods, like cumin seeds, help to relax sore muscles; in fact, getting enough calcium is critical for teens and people in their early 20s because that is when bones are solidifying and the body is achieving its peak bone mass. The greater the peak bone mass, the longer one can delay osteoporosis or loss of bone mass at a later age.
Many adults experience insomnia at some point, but some people have long-term (chronic) insomnia. Some primary causes of insomnia include stress, indigestion, pain and medical conditions. Fortunately, proper intake of vitamins, particularly B-complex vitamins, and maintaining good digestion are ways to treat insomnia without drugs. Cumin aids digestion, relieving bloating and discomfort, which can make you restless and unable to sleep. Additionally, cumin seeds are known to ease the mind and treat cognitive disorders.