Is cumin a "miracle spice?" According to the World's Healthiest Foods, this may be the case, as it has been found to have a number of benefits along with its all-important contribution to weight loss. Cumin aids digestion, improves immunity, and can be used to treat piles, insomnia, asthma, bronchitis, skin disorders, boils, and cancer.
Cumin belongs to the same family as caraway, parsley, and dill, its seeds are small, resembling yellow caraway seeds. These seeds play an important role in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, adding a peppery and nutty flavor to chili. They also form the base of Middle Eastern Curry powders.
Being rich in antioxidants and phytosterols, it inhibits the absorption of harmful cholesterol in the digestive tract which could also contribute to its impact on weight-loss.
Cumin is also beneficial if you have problems in your digestive system by helping you get the full benefit of the food you consume. Its aroma, derived from an aromatic compound called cuminaldehyde, activates the salivary glands of the mouth, which, in turn, get the digestive system flowing.
When ingested, the thymol in cumin stimulates the glands that produce all the substances necessary for thorough digestion of the food, like acids, bile and enzymes.
Taken with hot water, cumin also gives relief for stomach-ache, due to its essential oils and its sodium and magnesium content.
Adding cumin to your diet also helps in the healing of wounds and infections in the digestive tract and excretory system, and due to its fiber content, and its calmative and stimulatory effect, it acts as a natural laxative and eradicates the causes of piles.
Early studies have reported that Cumin can have a significant effect in preventing diabetes by lowering the chances of hypoglycemia. Animals that were fed cumin seeds showed a prominent decline in hypoglycemia, along with a decrease in a condition where the urine's sugar content is too high, called glycosuria.
Other studies have found that some of the components of cumin essential oil are hypnotic and have a tranquilizing effect, thereby helping to relieve stress and anxiety that may cause insomnia.
Cumin contains caffeine, a stimulant which along with its essential oils, creates a perfect anticongestant for those suffering from respiratory disorders such as asthma and bronchitis, and loosens up phlegm and mucous in the respiratory tracts, making them easier to expel by coughing or sneezing. The essential oils also act as a disinfectant and help fight conditions like the common cold. Being rich in iron and containing a substantial amount of vitamin-C, two essentials for a healthy immune system, it keeps infections at bay.
The high iron content of cumin prevents anemia due to the increased production of hemoglobin and increases blood flow, delivering optimal amounts of oxygen to the organs and the brain, resulting in better all-round performance. These levels of oxygen and iron in the brain result in enhanced cognitive performance and decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. In the rest of the body, increased oxygen levels increase efficiency, speed up the metabolism and prevent signs of aging.
There are a number of ways to add cumin to your diet -- try the following.
- Add ground cumin to roasted, steamed or stir-fried vegetables
- Add ground cumin to hummus
- Boil the seeds and steep to make cumin tea
- Add the ground, toasted seeds to nuts, soups and salads
- Add powdered cumin to rice
- A mixture of cumin, black pepper and honey can be used to flavor vegetables, chicken and fish dishes.
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