Cumin is one of the most underrated spices for many home cooks in the United States, destined to get lost in the back of the spice cabinet. For us at Medicareful Living, we find it incredibly useful! Cumin adds depth and complexity to almost any dish, but the culinary benefits of this spice aren’t the only reasons why it should be a more popular ingredient. Rich in health benefits, cumin has a long history in traditional medicines around the world. So, between the flavor and health benefits, cumin can be a valuable asset to any healthy diet!
Aids in Digestion
One aspect of cumin that can make it so useful for health is how it can help the digestive system. Not only can it improve overall digestive function, but it may even alleviate some digestive conditions that are unpleasant or embarrassing. Studies show that cumin increases the activity of digestive enzymes, which speeds up digestion. Furthermore, certain compounds found in cumin called thymoquinone also stimulate saliva and bile, which help break down food. This information has been back by other studies exploring cumin’s aid in the release of bile, which can help your body digest fats and other nutrients.
Further studies also linked eating cumin with an improvement in irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
What about the other conditions we mentioned, the embarrassing or unpleasant ones? Well, the same study that looked into cumin and bile also noted that cumin is a carminative, which means it can help relieve gas. Further studies also linked eating cumin with an improvement in irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. So, not only does cumin make foods delicious, it also helps the body digest them!
Rich in Antioxidants
Of course, cumin is also nutritionally strong, especially as it is rich in antioxidants. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, antioxidants are both man-made and natural compounds often found in foods that can prevent some types of cellular damage, which research has linked with lower rates of chronic disease. The best way to get antioxidants is through your diet, as supplementation has been shown to not be effective, and in some cases, unsafe.
Considering the benefits of a diet rich in antioxidants and how easy it is to add cumin to your diet, it’s certainly a win-win.
Luckily, cumin is loaded with antioxidants. Its antioxidant qualities have been well researched and are fairly well established. In one study, bitter cumin had the most antioxidant activity of the three varieties, though, all three were found to be rich in antioxidants. Even commercially available cumin, what you can buy in grocery stores, can be a potent source of antioxidants. Considering the benefits of a diet rich in antioxidants and how easy it is to add cumin to your diet, it’s certainly a win-win.
Inflammation is a way that your body works to protect you from infection or a foreign invader, but over time, can damage the body and lead to health concerns all its own. Luckily, cumin has been linked with preventing or reducing inflammation in a way that can help prevent some of these issues, both as an extract and as part of a spice blend. Another study found that cumin seeds were able to reduce inflammation and pain caused by it, though this study was performed on laboratory rats so further human tests are needed.
Cumin has been linked with preventing or reducing inflammation in a way that can help prevent some of these issues.
Another way that cumin can fight inflammation is through the antioxidant benefits you can get from this spice. One common cause of inflammation in the body is oxidative stress. So, by reducing oxidative stress, inflammation can be reduced too.
May Help with Diabetes
Finally, cumin has several important links to helping manage diabetes, which can help it become part of an overall strategy. Evidence shows that cumin may be effective as a glycemic control in humans. One study found that cumin may help to lower serum levels of insulin in the blood and your fasting blood sugar, along with other factors related to diabetes. These factors alone can make cumin a useful component of an anti-diabetes diet.
This review indicated there’s enough evidence to safely believe there are anti-diabetic effects of cumin.
One review of research even notes that the hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, and bronchodilatory effects of cumin have been “sufficiently studied” enough to draw a relationship between cumin and these effects. This review indicated there’s enough evidence to safely believe there are anti-diabetic effects of cumin, though other benefits may need more research before becoming as sure. This statement doesn’t cast doubt on those benefits, but rather affirms just how rooted in scientific findings the reviewers believe cumin’s diabetic relationship is.
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That last note is important because we should remember that while cumin has many benefits, it’s not a miracle cure. For example, there is some evidence that cumin could have anticancer effects, but we’re not saying that it will cure you of cancer just by adding some cumin to your diet. But, as part of an overall healthy diet, you can take advantage of the numerous benefits that cumin can provide. There certainly are a number of other benefits of adding cumin to your diet to explore. From being rich in fiber to potentially lowering your cholesterol, cumin is a safe, effective, and tasty way to boost your health!