Native to Egypt, cumin has been part of the culinary traditions of people in the Middle East, India, China and Mediterranean countries for centuries now.
Although it’s part of the same family as caraway, parsley, and dill, cumin has a more distinct taste, nutty and peppery at the same time.
Today cumin is used all around the world, but is most commonly found in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
According to latest research, this ancient spice packs many more health benefits than being simply a food additive. To be more specific, an Iranian study on cumin effects on excess body fat revealed that this spice can triply accelerate weight loss. The three-month study was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
Surprisingly, the results showed 50% greater weight loss in the cumin group as opposed to the control group. Also, the cumin group saw a 14.64% reduction in body fat – three times higher than the fat loss in the control group. Plus, they had considerably lower BMI and waist circumference at the end of the study.
According to the authors, cumin produces a thermogenic effect in the body, which temporarily accelerates metabolism and accounts for cumin’s weight loss benefits.
This spice also proved beneficial for reducing blood lipid levels. As a matter of fact, the cumin group has a 23-point reduction in triglycerides as opposed to only 5 points in the control group. Moreover, they had 10-point drop in LDL cholesterol levels whereas the control group had less than one point.
There are more than 100 different chemicals, including essential fatty acids and volatile oils, in cumin. Plus, it contains glycoside saponins, compounds which prevent cholesterol absorption and increase its excretion. There’s also a significant amount of phytosterols that control lipids by reducing cholesterol absorption.
Therefore, including small amount of cumin into your diet will not only reduce your triglyceride and cholesterol levels, but also lower your risk for metabolic syndrome.
However, the list of cumin health benefits doesn’t stop here.
As found in a 2008 animal study, published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, cumin seeds can prevent loss of bone density and strength in a same way as estrogen does. On the plus side, cumin didn’t lead to weight gain or uterine cancer like estrogen.
Cumin is also used in traditional medicine to improve digestive function. A number of contemporary studies confirm that cumin promotes the excretion of pancreatic enzymes, acids, and bile vital for proper digestion. Also, cumin is extremely useful for predigesting food owing to the compound cuminaldehyde, found in the essential oil of the cumin plant, which stimulates salivary glands. Plus, it relieves gas and IBS symptoms and improves appetite.
According to a different study, published in 2010 in the journal Food Chemistry and Toxicology, cumin can reduce blood sugar as effectively as the drug glibenclamide (known as glyburide in the US). Also, cumin proved beneficial for decreasing oxidative stress and preventing the advanced glycated end products (AGE) linked to the pathogenesis of diabetic vascular problems.
A separate animal study concluded that cumin was more efficient in reducing inflammation, cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, and blood glucose than the drug glibenclamide.
According to preclinical research on cumin effects on cancer, the spice can prevent cervical and colon cancer.
There is also evidence that cumin improves memory function.
Last, but not least, cumin is abundant in numerous antimicrobial properties.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CUMIN INTAKE
1# Savor your soups, stews, chili, rice, beans, or lentils with some cumin.
2# Add cumin to vegetable sautés; it also blends well with sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, and cauliflower.
3# Savor your marinades, salad dressings and mayonnaise with this spice.
4# Sprinkle on roasted nuts or chickpeas.
5# Use it as an additive in the meat mixture when making meatloaf, meatballs, or hamburgers.
6# Add to scrambled eggs before cooking.
7# Make some cumin seed tea by boiling the seeds in water and then leaving them to steep for about 10 minutes.
Source: The Hearty Soul