Cumin is a peppery spice that has been mentioned in the bible as seasoning for bread and soup. In fact, the priests were paid with these seeds. It has mention even in ancient Egypt where it was used for preserving the mummies of the pharaohs.
According to the latest study, cumin is found to be beneficial in burning extra weight. Scientists in Iran were studying the effects this ancient spice made on our body’s composition and the level of fat in our blood.
The researchers chose 88 obese women and assigned them to 2 groups on random basis. The 2 groups were given low calorie diet along with nutrition counseling. 1st group was given yogurt and 3g of cumin 2 times a day. The 2nd group was given plain yogurt.
According to the results of the study (published – Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice) the 1st group (cumin group) noticed average weight loss of 50% more compared to the 2nd group (in just 3 months). The body fat percentage was also reduced by 14.64% (this was 3 times the body fat loss in the 2nd group). Members of the first group also reduced their waist circum ference and body mass index by a significant margin compared to the 2nd group.
According to the authors, the weight loss benefits from cumin may be caused due to its heat. It may also boost our metabolic rate on a temporary basis. It was found that cumin helped in reducing blood lipid levels by a significant margin. The Triglycerides fell 23 points in the first group and 5 points in the second. LDL cholesterol fell by around 10 points (average) in the cumin group and <1 point in the control group.
Cumin has over a hundred various compounds that include volatile oils and fatty acids. According to the scientists, the cholesterol reducing benefits of this spice may be likely due to its glycoside saponins. The chemicals the absorption of cholesterol and boost its excretion. The spice also has high levels of phytosterols. It may help in modulating lipids in a positive way by minimizing absorption of cholesterol.
(Note: Low cholesterol is not essentially a good thing. Even deficiency of cholesterol can cause damage to our health).
Cumin is extensively found in Egypt. It has been grown in the Middle East, China, India and the Mediterranean countries for centuries. It is from the same plant family as dill, parsley and caraway. Cumin seed may look like caraway, yet its taste is peppery and nutty.
Cumin can often be found to be a commonly used ingredient in curry powder mixtures. The spice is widely popular and can be found in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines and Mexican chili. Similar to most other spices, cumin also offers many health benefits.
According to an animal study (2008), published in Experimental Biology & Medicine, cumin seeds have been found to inhibit the loss of bone strength and density just like estrogen. However, it was found not to cause problems like gain in weight and uterine cancer (which is associated with estrogen).
Conventional medicine made use of cumin seed for improving the digestive system. according to current research, it is linked with stimulating secretion of pancreatic enzyme, bile and acids required for healthy digestion.
Cumin plant’s essential oil has a chemical known as cuminaldehyde. It activates our salivary glands, which helps in predigesting foods. It is also beneficial in relieving gas and improving appetite. The compound also provides relief from IBS symptoms.
According to a 20910 research (published – Food Chemistry and Toxicology), cumin can be beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels similar to the drug glibenclamide (available in the US as glyburide). The study also found that it helped in lowering oxidative stress and in inhibiting advanced glycated end products (AGE). These are considered to cause pathogenesis of diabetic vascular complications.
According to another earlier study involving animals, it was found that cumin had more efficacy compared to the drug glibenclamide in reducing inflammation, triglycerides, cholesterol, blood glucose, and free fatty acids .
It is considered that cumin could also have cancer fighting benefits. According to preclinical research, this spice is helpful in inhibiting colon cancer and cervical cancer. According to other researches, it may be helpful in improving memory function. It has also been found to have a variety of antimicrobial powers.
Tips for including more cumin in your diet:
-Sprinkle some cumin on your veggie sautés. It can be taken with carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and squash.
-You can drink cumin seed tea. You may brew it at home by boiling some seeds and allowing it to steep for a few minutes. You may also buy it.
-You can add it into the pot when cooking stews, soups, beans, rice, lentils or chili.
-It can also be added to salad dressings, marinades, or mayonnaise.
-When preparing meatballs, hamburgers or meatloaf, add it to the meat.
-Sprinkle some of this spice on roasted chickpeas or nuts.
-Beat some cumin seeds in scrambled eggs prior to cooking.