The aromatic spice cumin,scientifically known as Cuminum Cyminum, is a staple in Indian, North African and Mexican dishes, and has been for quite a while. Cumin has a peppery taste that will add a warm, slightly nutty flavor to your food. The herb is coming from Egypt, and it’s a key component in some chili powder and curry powder. Not only it can add flavor to your food, but a recent study shows that cumin might also help you burn a few extra pounds.
The Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice journal published a study in which they tested the effects of cumin on overweight women. Scientists randomly divided 88 obese or overweight women into 2 groups. Both of the groups received nutritional counselingandfollowed a reduced calorie diet. One group ate yogurt with 3 grams of cumin in it, two times a day, while the other group ate yogurt without cumin (the control group).
After 3 months, those who ate cumin in their yogurt lost an average of 50 percent more weight than the women eating yogurt without cumin. They also reduced their body fat percentage by 14.4% — practically3 times more than the control group!
Those women who ate cumin also lowered their BMI and waist circumference, significantly more than the other women. The cumin also reduced their blood lipid levels. Triglycerides dropped 23 points, compared to only 5 points in the other group, and LDL cholesterol levels dropped an average of 10 points, compared to the group of women that didn’t ate cumin where they dropped less than 1 point.
Scientists speculate that cumin’s weight loss benefits may possibly stem from its heat. It may temporarily improve your metabolism. The effect of cumin to lower the cholesterol can be partially attributed to compounds named glycoside saponins which prevent the absorption of cholesterol and increase its elimination.
There are many health benefits of cumin. It is great for digestion problems, since its essential oils, magnesium and sodium content canstimulate digestion and can provide relief for stomach pains. It has been used to fight respiratory disorders, insomnia, anemia and even some skin disorders. Cumin is naturally abundantin iron, and contains Vitamin Cthat promotes a healthy immune system and keeps infections from forming.
Cumin can be used ground or as seeds. For the best flavor, buy the whole seeds and grind them by yourself. Here are several ways to get more cumin into your diet:
- Cumin goes well with carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and cauliflower.
- Add cumin when you’re cooking rice, soups, stews, chili, beans or lentils.
- Sprinkle it on roasted nuts or chickpeas.
- Add the spice to salad dressings, mayonnaiseand marinades.
- Sprinkle some into your scrambled eggs before cooking.
- Buy cumin seed tea, or brew them on your own! Just boil the seeds and let them steep for around 10 minutes.
- Add cumin to a meat mixture when making meatballs, meatloafor hamburgers.
Some other studies show that cumin can be used to improve memory function, and that it also has a broad range of antimicrobial powers. With all of these health benefits, cumin is a great staple to add to your diet.
Watch the video below for more ideas on how to cook with this spice.