Cumin is a small seed, ridged and yellow-brown in colour and has been used for both medicinal and culinary purposes throughout the world. Although it is a seed native to Egypt, it has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Middle East, India, China and Mediterranean countries. Its unique flavour complexity, peppery with slightly sweet overtones, has made it an integral spice in Mexican, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It can be purchased in whole seed form or as a powder, but has a much fuller flavour when used freshly ground. Read on about this wonderful spice as we explore the Top 5 Health Benefits of Cumin!
1. Digestive aid
It is thought that cumin can stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, which is an important part of digestion. Cumin is a carminative spice, which means it will relieve bloating and flatulence too. It can also act as a natural laxative and helps with constipation, so of great help to our gut. Try dissolving a teaspoon of cumin in a mug of hot water and drink it to ease stomach aches.
2. Treats anemia
Cumin is very rich in iron and can be a great nutritious addition to a diet to treat anemia. Symptoms; such as fatigue and headaches, caused by low iron levels, can be eased by this powerful natural spice.
3. Anti-Cancer properties
Cumin has a potent, free radical scavenging ability and is able to ‘mop up’ the atoms that damage cells. One study has shown that it may have a positive effect on stomach and liver cancer in particular, which is really encouraging for cancer research.
4. Liver health
Cumin has been reported to enhance the liver’s detoxification enzymes. These enzymes help the body to break down food, assisting the liver in removing toxins and can help towards preventing conditions like cirrhosis of the liver, a fatty liver or hepatitis.
5. Helps resist colds
Cumin has high levels of Vitamin C, which helps maintain a healthy immune system. It contains a number of essential oils that are a great aid to reduce phlegm and mucous stemming from a cold. It also acts as a natural antioxidant, combatting other infections and toxins and boosting overall good health. A cup of cumin tea, combined with garlic is a great way to build a strong immune system and ability to fight certain infections.
Cumin has been around for many centuries and used for a variety of reasons. It has been suggested it keeps a loved one from wandering and was a popular gift that wedding guests carried for the bride and groom. It has been used as an aphrodisiac in Arabic traditions and an ingredient to mummify pharaohs in ancient Egypt. It may be that the Ancient Greeks and Romans had the right idea; they considered it a great substitution for the more expensive and rare, black pepper and used it in their kitchen, kept in a bowl in the middle of the table.
Cumin is a fantastic flavour to add to a dish and with so many health benefits, it certainly suggests it should have a firm place in any kitchen. Besides making some wonderful curries and sauces, add small amounts to smoothies, sprinkle on apple slices, other fruits and rice dishes; let your taste buds guide you as your body feels the benefits. Let us know what cumin does for you below or @ KeepfitKingdom !