Cumin is a fabulous spice with a long and ancient history. Aside from delicious cooking, the health benefits of cumin are vast.
Cumin is generally sold dry as seeds or powder, or in a liquid form as an essential oil. Cumin powder is one of the main spices used in curry powder blends, and it carries a distinctly spicy, nutty flavor and smell.
Notably present in recipes from the continents of Asia and South America, cumin has also been used as a medicinal remedy in Northern Europe and the Middle East.
This versatile spice can be a simple, effective addition to your spice cabinet. Let’s take a closer look.
Antioxidants For The Win!
One of the most prominent benefits of the cumin seed is as an excellent source of antioxidants.
In general, antioxidants in foods and spices are measured by the USDA for their ORAC levels, or “oxygen radical absorbance capacity,” to determine their potency. And cumin has a fairly high ORAC level which means it’s a powerful source of antioxidants when added to your home-cooked meals on a regular basis. Plus, more antioxidants in your diet are definitely good for you.1
But why do you need antioxidants in the first place?
Well, antioxidants act basically just as they sound – they fight against and prevent oxidation from free radicals within your body. The presence of too many free radicals has been linked to the development of some very serious health issues.
So, you should always strive to incorporate antioxidant-rich foods and spices into your diet to help you stay healthy.2
A Seat at the Table
While there are many health benefits of cumin and cumin seeds, this spice is also packed with rich flavor. That’s why it’s often used in richly flavored dishes like a spicy chili or on dry-rubbed, roasted meat.
To up your cumin intake, try to add at least one recipe each week that is Mexican, Southwestern, Indian, or Persian in origin, as cumin use is very prevalent in those regions.
But, if a new recipe feels overwhelming or difficult to execute, challenge yourself by creating a fun game: Take this opportunity to try a new restaurant or pick an unfamiliar menu item! Stretching your culinary choices outside of your comfort zone is as good for your personal growth as it is good for your health!
Benefits of Cumin: Weight Management and Blood Health
Using cumin as a spice in a powder or seed form is easy when cooking, but what other health benefits does the spice offer? And how can it be applied to your daily routine?
Well, one of the major benefits of cumin, especially when consumed as an essential oil or capsule, is to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Healthy blood sugar levels are achieved through a sometimes delicate balance of insulin and adiponectin, two naturally occurring hormones in your body.
Insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose levels in your blood, is created in your pancreas. Adiponectin, a protein hormone, helps your body break down glucose and fatty acids. A healthy body has steady levels of both hormones – ideally with higher adiponectin levels than insulin levels. This is where the benefits of cumin come into play.
Turns out, cumin oil has been shown to be effective in keeping insulin levels down and adiponectin levels up.
Studies show that regular daily consumption of cumin can help keep blood sugar levels stable over a two-month period. Also, cumin may help lessen many of the uncomfortable side-effects that come with having blood sugar issues.3
Furthermore, cumin may also help with weight management. In fact, one study showed that cumin might offer serious weight management benefits similar to popular western prescription medications. In the end, it seems cumin isn’t just a spice that tastes great, it’s also potentially incredibly good for you? Win-win!4
Benefits of Cumin: Digestive Health
Long-trusted as a traditional digestive remedy, the use of cumin seeds and powder in cooking for its health benefits is common across the Middle East. This is because another benefit of cumin is that it helps create more bile in your liver which, in turn, helps your body break down fatty foods or large meals without taxing your digestive system. Cumin also stimulates digestive enzymes, which translates into shorter periods of time where you feel uncomfortably full or bloated after a meal.5
More specifically, studies show using cumin as a spice may have health benefits for indigestion, bloating, and a feeling of urgency to use the bathroom. In fact, participants in one study who incorporated cumin into their diets on a daily basis for at least four weeks showed a significant decrease in these symptoms and a steady feeling of digestive normalcy.6
Benefits of Cumin: Physical Strength
If you’re focused on gaining strength and you’re tired of spinach or trying to cut back on red meat, it’s no sweat! Another benefit of cumin is that it is very high in iron.
Having an iron deficiency is a very common ailment, especially in women and young children, and can cause feelings of weakness and excessive tiredness. If you notice these feelings happening to you on a regular basis, adding cumin to your diet might prove beneficial. Just a small amount of cumin packs a serious punch of iron: one tablespoon of cumin contains 22 percent of a healthy adult’s daily recommended intake of iron. Cumin is good for you on many levels.7
Benefits of Cumin: So Good, and Good for You
As you can see, the health benefits of cumin and cumin seeds are many. And don’t forget how delicious it tastes when added to your favorite meals.
Cumin has health benefits for blood sugar, weight management, and iron levels… and it’s rich in antioxidants. That’s a lot of goodness in each spicy bite! So, incorporate cumin into your everyday health routine — it’s a real no-brainer.
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