Cumin Powder Nutrition & Health Benefits

How This Helps

Cumin is a flowering plant from the Apiaceae family and is native to Asia and the Middle East. Its seeds are used in the cuisines of many cultures in the ground and whole form. You may find cumin in the ground and whole seed form at most grocery stores. It may vary in color, such as white, green, and brown varieties. Cumin (Jeera) has different properties as a spice, offering an earthy taste and warm aroma. Black cumin seeds, Nigella sativa, also called"black seed," come from what is technically a different plant family, sharing lineage with buttercups as opposed to carrots. Black Chocolate has a more peppery flavor than regular cumin. It packs quite a health-boosting punch. Cumin and black cumin are full of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and manganese. And they feature some omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Cumins are also a great source of antioxidants that may decrease inflammation and protect against oxidative damage in the human body. Some of those antioxidants include alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, and terpenes.

 

What is cumin powder?

Cumin (or jeera in Hindi) is a popular spice is made by powdering dry roasted cumin seeds in a grinder. Cumin is a flowering plant belonging to the family Apiaceae and native to southwestern Asia, including the Middle East. Its seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant are used in many dishes around the world, especially in Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean. Cumin has an earthy, spicy, warm, and nutty flavor when added to dishes. People use cumin in the form of seeds and also as ground powder. Furthermore, cumin and cumin powder have been in use for thousands of years in traditional medicine. Many recent studies now support the claims of cumin's health benefits. Read on to understand more about the many health benefits of cumin powder.

See: Astringent Taste in Ayurveda

Nutritional Facts of Cumin Powder

Cumin is an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium. There are several vitamins present in it, such as vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine. According to data from the US Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database, cumin is rich in many minerals such as potassium, zinc, and copper. [1] At the same time, it is also very low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats.

See: Ayurvedic herbs for constipation relief

Cumin powder health benefits

1. Cumin powder helps promote digestion

The most common use of cumin powder has been in digestion-related issues. In fact, there are many studies that have confirmed the role of cumin powder in promoting healthy digestion.[2] For instance, cumin powder is believed to boost the activity of digestive enzymes to help speed up the process of digestion.[3]

At the same time, cumin powder increases the production of bile from the liver, while helps in the efficient digestion of fats and other nutrients in the gut.

A study carried out by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran found that patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reported significant improvement in their symptoms after taking concentrated cumin powder for two weeks.[4]

When it comes to digestive issues, traditional medicine practitioners have been recommending cumin for years now for the treatment of diarrhea. In fact, an animal study done on rats experiencing diarrhea found that giving them an extract of cumin seeds helped cure their diarrhea.[5]


2. Cumin powder may help in diabetes

Cumin powder is believed to have properties that may help in the treatment of diabetes. A clinical study has recently shown that concentrated cumin powder in supplement form helps improve the early indicators of diabetes in overweight people, as compared to a placebo.[6] 

Studies have also shown that cumin powder contains substances that help counter some of the long-term effects of diabetes. One of the known ways in which diabetes damages the cells in the body is through advanced glycation end (AGEs) products that are manufactured spontaneously in the blood when the blood sugar levels remain high over long time periods.[7]  Sugars in the bloodstream attach to proteins to create AGEs and disrupt the normal functioning of the proteins. AGEs are thought to be responsible for damage caused to kidneys, small blood vessels, eyes, and nerves in diabetic patients. 

Several test-tube studies have shown that cumin powder contains many components that help decrease the formation of AG Es.[8] While these test-tube studies focused on the beneficial effects of concentrated cumin supplements, it is also believed that regularly using cumin in any form can help control blood sugar in people with diabetes, and also help lower the risk of developing diabetes in people who are at high risk.[9] [10] 

However, it is not exactly clear as to what is the mechanism through which cumin powder helps in diabetes or how much cumin is precisely needed to experience the benefits.

 

3. Cumin powder may boost the immune system

Cumin seeds are a rich source of iron.[11] In fact, just one teaspoon of cumin powder contains 1.4 milligrams of iron, which is 17.5 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake of adults.[12] Why is iron important? Iron is a mineral that plays many vital roles in the body. Iron is an integral part of hemoglobin that transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells.  It is also needed by key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Furthermore, iron is instrumental in keeping your immune system healthy. Iron is particularly critical for menstruating women, who lose iron every month during menses. Furthermore, growing children and teens have increased needs for iron, as do women who are pregnant or lactating.

Iron-deficiency anemia happens in the event you don't have enough iron in your body (primarily in your bloodstream ). Moreover, iron-deficiency anemia may eventually lead to exhaustion, weakness, and/or shortness of breath. Lots of people with iron-deficient anemia reveal clear signs and symptoms of anemia early on, while others may not show any symptoms whatsoever.

It has been seen that iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies that affects nearly 20 percent of the global population. [13] Children, especially, require iron for proper growth. Young women also need iron to make up for the blood that is lost during menstruation.[14]

There are very few foods that are as rich in iron as cumin. This makes cumin an excellent source of iron, even when it is used in small doses and just as a seasoning.

 

4. Cumin powder helps improve blood cholesterol levels

Cumin powder plays a role in improving blood cholesterol levels. A clinical study has shown that taking 75 mg of cumin powder twice daily for a period of eight weeks reduces the levels of unhealthy blood triglycerides. [15] Another study found that the levels of bad LDL cholesterol went down by ten percent in patients who took cumin powder for one and a half months. [16]

Another research study involving 88 women participants focused on whether cumin powder also improves the levels of good HDL cholesterol. The participants were given 3 grams of cumin with yogurt two times a day for a period of three months. The participants who ate yogurt with cumin powder had significantly higher levels of HDL cholesterol as compared to those who just had plain yogurt. [17]

 

5. Cancer Prevention

Cumin seeds may also have anti-carcinogenic properties. In one study, cumin was demonstrated to protect laboratory animals from growing gut or liver tumors. These cancer-protective properties may be due to its free radical scavenging abilities and it's the ability to improve the liver's detoxification enzymes. However, since free radical scavenging and detox are important factors for the overall maintenance of health, cumin's contribution to health might be even more further reaching.


6. Respiratory Support

There are many causes to think about with respiratory issues, such as stress, inflammation, airborne toxicity, allergens, and smoking. Fortunately, there are also some natural methods for treating respiratory distress. Cumin offers an effective natural remedy to encourage wholesome respiration. An important reason why cumin works as respiratory support relates to inflammation. Cumin seeds have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Respiratory challenges are generally wrought with inflammation inside the lung system--such as the lungs, the trachea, and the bronchi.

See: How long does it take to reduce cholesterol

Cumin side effects

Cumin may sensitize the skin to light and may cause low blood sugar. Cumin seeds are known for their gas-relieving properties but may be responsible for causing heartburn. Cumin seeds are known to facilitate the eviction of gas to the gastrointestinal tract resulting in heartburn.

See: Ayurvedic herbs for detoxification

Summary

Cumin has many health benefits, many of which have even been proven by studies. Some of these benefits of cumin powder have been known from ancient times, while others are just being discovered. Consuming cumin in any form regularly helps boost the body's antioxidant intake, enhances the digestion process, provides iron, helps improve blood cholesterol, and also improves blood sugar control. 

Taking higher doses of cumin powder in the form of supplements has been linked to weight loss, though more research is still needed to prove the mechanism behind this. 

As with any ingredient, your body might not be equipped to process very high doses of cumin that it would normally not be experiencing in your daily diet. This is why it is better to always consult your doctor before you suddenly increase your intake of cumin. And remember that cumin can help complement your ongoing treatment, but it can never be a replacement for medical treatment. If you have type 2 diabetes or other medical conditions, you should never stop taking your medications without consulting your doctor first.

 

See: Herbs That Lower Blood Sugar

References

1. Anon, (2020). [online] Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170923/nutrients [Accessed 5 Mar. 2020].

2. Johri, R.K., 2011. Cuminum cyminum and Carum carvi: An update. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 5(9), p.63.

3. Milan, K.M., Dholakia, H., Tiku, P.K., and Vishveshwaraiah, P., 2008. Enhancement of digestive enzymatic activity by cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) and the role of spent cumin as a bio nutrient. Food Chemistry, 110(3), pp.678-683.

4. Agah, S., Taleb, A.M., Moeini, R., Gorji, N., and Nikbakht, H., 2013. Cumin extract for symptom control in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a case series. Middle East Journal of digestive diseases, 5(4), p.217.

5. Sahoo, HB, Sahoo, SK, Sarangi, S.P., Sagar, R., and Kori, M.L., 2014. The anti-diarrhoeal investigation from aqueous extract of Cuminum cyminum Linn. Seed in Albino rats. Pharmacognosy Research, 6(3), p.204.

6. Taghizadeh, M., Memarzadeh, M.R., Asemi, Z. and Esmaillzadeh, A., 2015. Effect of the Cumin cyminum L. intake on weight loss, metabolic profiles and biomarkers of oxidative stress in overweight subjects: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 66(2-3), pp.117-124.

7. Singh, V.P., Bali, A., Singh, N. and Jaggi, A.S., 2014. Advanced glycation end products and diabetic complications. The Korean Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology, 18(1), pp.1-14.

8. Zhang, Y., Ma, H., Liu, W., Yuan, T. and Seeram, N.P., 2015. New antiglycative compounds from cumin (Cuminum cyminum) spice. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 63(46), pp.10097-10102.

9. Bi, X., Lim, J. and Henry, C.J., 2017. Spices in the management of diabetes mellitus. Food Chemistry, 217, pp.281-293.

10. Srinivasan, K., 2005. Plant foods in the management of diabetes mellitus: spices as beneficial antidiabetic food adjuncts. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 56(6), pp.399-414.

11. Ancuceanu, R., Dinu, M., Hovaneţ, M.V., Anghel, A.I., Popescu, C.V. and Negreş, S., 2015. A survey of plant iron content—a semi-systematic review. Nutrients, 7(12), pp.10320-10351.

12. Nutritiondata.self.com. (2020). Spices, cumin seed Nutrition Facts & Calories. [online] Available at: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/184/2 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2020].

13. Parker-Williams, E.J., 2009. Investigation and management of anemia. Medicine, 37(3), pp.137-142.

14. Levi, M., Rosselli, M., Simonetti, M., Brignoli, O., Cancian, M., Masotti, A., Pegoraro, V., Cataldo, N., Heiman, F., Chelo, M. and Cricelli, I., 2016. Epidemiology of iron deficiency anemia in four European countries: a population‐based study in primary care. European journal of hematology, 97(6), pp.583-593.

15. Taghizadeh, M., Memarzadeh, M.R., Abedi, F., Sharifi, N., Karamali, F., Kashan, ZF, and Asemi, Z., 2016. The Effect of Cumin cyminum L. Plus Lime Administration on Weight Loss and Metabolic Status in Overweight Subjects: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 18(8).

16. Samani, KG, and Farrokhi, E., 2014. Effects of cumin extract on oxLDL, paraoxonase one activity, FBS, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-C, LDL-C, Apo A1, and Apo B in the patients with hypercholesterolemia. International journal of health sciences, 8(1), p.39.

17. Zare, R., Heshmati, F., Fallahzadeh, H., and Nadjarzadeh, A., 2014. Effect of cumin powder on body composition and lipid profile in overweight and obese women. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 20(4), pp.297-301.

See: Healthy Diet Plan for Weight Loss of Over 30 Pounds

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