9 powerful cumin health benefits

Cumin is a spice made from the seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant.

Many dishes use cumin, especially foods from their native regions of the Mediterranean and southwest Asia.

Cumin lends its distinctive flavor to chili, tamales and several Indian curries. Its flavor has been described as earthy, nutty, spicy and warm.

In addition, cumin has long been used in traditional medicine.

Modern studies have confirmed that some of the health benefits for which cumin is known, such as promoting digestion and reducing foodborne infections.

The research has also revealed some new benefits, such as promoting weight loss and improving control of blood sugar and cholesterol.

This article will review nine health benefits based on cumin evidence.

1. Promotes digestion

The most common traditional use of cumin is for indigestion.

In fact, modern research has confirmed that cumin can help accelerate normal digestion (1).

For example, it may increase the activity of digestive enzymes, which could accelerate digestion (2).

Cumin also increases the release of bile from the liver. Bile helps digest fats and certain nutrients in the intestine (1).

In one study, 57 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reported improved symptoms after taking cumin concentrate for two weeks (3).

Summary: Cumin helps digestion by increasing the activity of digestive proteins. It can also reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

2. It is a rich source of iron

Cumin seeds are naturally rich in iron (4).

One teaspoon of ground cumin contains 1.4 mg of iron, or 17.5% of the RDI for adults (5).

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, affecting up to 20% of the world's population and up to 10 in 1,000 people in wealthier nations (6, 7).

In particular, children need iron to support growth and young women need iron to replace the blood lost during menstruation (6).

Few foods are as dense as cumin. This makes it a good source of iron, even when used in small amounts as a condiment.

Summary: Many people around the world do not get enough iron. Cumin is very dense in iron, and provides almost 20% of your daily iron in a teaspoon.

3. Contains beneficial plant compounds

Cumin contains many plant compounds that are related to potential health benefits, including terpenes, phenols, flavonoids and alkaloids (8, 9, 10, 11).

Several of these work as antioxidants, which are chemical substances that reduce the damage to your body from free radicals (12).

Free radicals are basically solitary electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs and when they separate, they become unstable.

These solitary or "free" electrons steal other electron partners from other chemicals in your body. This process is called oxidation. "

Oxidation of fatty acids in your arteries leads to blockages of arteries and heart disease. Oxidation also leads to inflammation in diabetes, and oxidation of DNA can contribute to cancer (13).

Antioxidants such as cumin give an electron to a single free radical, which makes it more stable (14).

The antioxidants in cumin probably explain some of their health benefits (15).

Summary: Free radicals are solitary electrons that cause inflammation and damage DNA. Cumin contains antioxidants that stabilize free radicals.

4. Can help with diabetes

Some of the components of cumin have shown promise to help treat diabetes.

A clinical study showed that a concentrated cumin supplement improved the early indicators of diabetes in overweight people, compared with a placebo (16).

Cumin also contains components that counteract some of the long-term effects of diabetes.

One of the ways in which diabetes damages cells in the body is through advanced glycation end products (AGEs) (17).

They occur spontaneously in the bloodstream when blood sugar levels are high for long periods of time, as in diabetes. AGEs are created when sugars adhere to proteins and alter their normal function.

AGEs are probably responsible for damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves and small blood vessels in diabetes (17).

Cumin contains several components that reduce AGE, at least in test tube studies (18).

While these studies tested the effects of concentrated cumin supplements, the routine use of cumin as a condiment can help control blood sugar in diabetes (19, 20).

It is not yet clear what is responsible for these effects, or how much cumin is needed to make a profit.

Summary: Cumin supplements can help improve blood sugar control, although it is not clear what causes this effect or how much is needed.

5. It can improve the cholesterol in the blood

Cumin has also improved blood cholesterol in clinical studies.

In one study, 75 mg of cumin taken twice daily for eight weeks decreased unhealthy blood triglycerides (21).

In another study, oxidized "bad" LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by almost 10% in patients who took cumin extract for a month and a half (22).

A study of 88 women analyzed whether cumin affected levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Those who took 3 grams of cumin with yogurt twice a day for three months had higher levels of HDL than those who ate yogurt without it (23).

It is not known if the cumin used as a condiment in the diet has the same cholesterol benefits in the blood as the supplements used in these studies.

In addition, not all studies agree on this effect. One study found no changes in blood cholesterol in participants who took a cumin supplement (24).

Summary: Cumin supplements have improved blood cholesterol in multiple studies. It is not clear if the use of cumin in small quantities as a condiment has the same benefits.

6. Can promote weight loss and fat reduction

Concentrated cumin supplements have helped promote weight loss in some clinical studies.

A study of 88 overweight women found that yogurt that contained 3 grams of cumin promoted weight loss, compared to yogurt without it (23).

Another study showed that participants who took 75 mg of cumin supplements every day lost 3 pounds (1.4 kg) more than those who took a placebo (21).

A third clinical study analyzed the effects of a concentrated cumin supplement on 78 adult men and women. Those who took the supplement lost 2.2 pounds (1 kg) more in eight weeks than those who did not (16).

Again, not all studies agree. A study that used a dose lower than 25 mg per day did not observe any change in body weight, compared to a placebo (23, 24).

Summary: Concentrated cumin supplements have promoted weight loss in multiple studies. Not all studies have shown this benefit and higher doses may be required to lose weight.

7. Can prevent foodborne diseases

One of the traditional functions of cumin in seasoning may have been food security.

Many condiments, including cumin, appear to have antimicrobial properties that can reduce the risk of foodborne infections (25).

Several components of cumin reduce the growth of bacteria transmitted by food and certain types of infectious fungi (26, 27).

When digested, cumin releases a component called megalomycin, which has antibiotic properties (8).

In addition, a test tube study showed that cumin reduces the pharmacological resistance of certain bacteria (28).

Summary: The traditional use of cumin as a condiment can restrict the growth of fungi and infectious bacteria. This can reduce the diseases transmitted by food.

8. Can help with drug dependence

Narcotic dependence is a growing concern at the international level.

Narcotic opioids create addiction by sequestering the normal feeling of desire and reward in the brain. This leads to continuous or increased use.

Studies in mice have shown that the components of cumin reduce addictive behavior and withdrawal symptoms (29).

However, much more research is needed to determine if this effect would be useful in humans.

The next steps include finding the specific ingredient that caused this effect and testing whether it works in humans (30).

Summary: Cumin extracts reduce the signs of narcotic addiction in mice. It is not yet known if they would have similar effects on humans.

9. Can fight inflammation

Test tube studies have shown that cumin extracts inhibit inflammation (31).

There are several components of cumin that may have anti-inflammatory effects, but researchers still do not know which are the most important (8, 9, 10, 11).

It has been shown that plant compounds in various spices reduce the levels of a key inflammation marker, NF-kappaB (32).

There is not enough information at this time to know if cumin in the diet or cumin supplements are useful to treat inflammatory diseases.

Summary: Cumin contains multiple plant compounds that decrease inflammation in test tube studies. It is not clear if it can be used to help treat inflammatory diseases in people.

Should you use cumin?

You can get some of the benefits of cumin by simply using small amounts to season your food.

These amounts will provide antioxidants, iron and potential benefits to control blood sugar.

Other more experimental benefits, such as weight loss and improved blood cholesterol, may require a higher dose, probably in the form of a supplement.

Several studies have tested cumin supplements of up to 1 gram (about 1 teaspoon) without their participants reporting problems. However, severe allergic reactions to cumin have been reported, but they are very rare (33).

That said, be careful when taking any supplement that contains much more cumin than you can consume in food.

As with any ingredient, your body may not be equipped to process the doses you would not normally experience in the diet.

If you decide to try the supplements, tell your doctor what you are taking and use the supplements to supplement, not replace, the medical treatments.

Summary: You can get many of the benefits of cumin by just using small amounts as a condiment. Other benefits may be available only in supplemental doses.

The bottom line

Cumin has many health benefits based on evidence. Some of these have been known since antiquity, while others are barely being discovered.

The use of cumin as a spice increases the intake of antioxidants, promotes digestion, provides iron, can improve the control of blood sugar and can reduce foodborne illnesses.

Taking higher doses in supplement form has been linked to weight loss and improved blood cholesterol, although more research is needed.

Personally I prefer to use cumin in the kitchen instead of a supplement. In this way, I take advantage of the tenth benefit of cumin, it is delicious.

There is a wide selection of cumin available at Amazon.

Healthline and our partners can receive a portion of the income if you make a purchase using a link above.

Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-benefits-of-cumin


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