The tiny, fragrant cumin may already figure in your cooking experiments, whether it’s Indian curries, Mexican black bean soups or chili, or Arabic meat barbecues. But beyond its flavor power, cumin is a superfood that features prominently in traditional alternative remedies for a range of illnesses. Here’s a look at what that sizzle of cumin can do to keep you in good health.
1. Is A Good Source Of Iron
Iron is a crucial mineral that you need for your body’s growth and development. It helps make hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells which helps in the transport of oxygen to the cells and carbon dioxide to the lungs. A deficiency of this mineral can lead to anemia. But cumin can help you meet your daily quota for iron. Just 1 teaspoon of this spice gives you 1.39 mg of iron, which is 17.3% of the daily recommended amount for an adult man and 7.7% of the amount recommended for women. And that’s not all. Cumin also contains other important nutrients like vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, copper, and calcium, though in smaller amounts.
2. Improves Digestion
Ayurveda and other natural therapies put a lot of value on cumin’s digestive abilities. The ancient ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita lists it as a super remedy that helps with digestion and eases stomach pain. Cumin helps improve digestion by increasing bile acid. It also has a carminative effect, cutting out bloating and flatulence. In fact, the Indian name for cumin (jeeragam) is derived from a word that means digestion.
Chew on some cumin seeds if a meal has settled like lead in your tummy. You can also boil a teaspoon of cumin seeds in a cup of water, let it sit overnight, and drink it in the morning to enhance digestion.
3. Eases Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome affects your large intestine and causes issues like bloating, abdominal cramping, constipation or diarrhea. Cumin can help you tackle the discomfort that this disorder causes. One study found that patients who took 20 drops of cumin essential oil daily saw a significant decrease in symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, incomplete defecation, and the urgent need for a bowel movement. Cumin even helped those with a constipation dominant pattern of irritable bowel syndrome. Subjects found that their defecation frequency and stool consistency improved.
4. Has Antimicrobial Properties
Harmful infection-causing germs are all around us. But studies show that cumin may be able to protect us against many of these pathogens. Common fungi such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, Saccharomyces, and Candida have been found to be vulnerable to cumin components like cumin volatile oil and cuminaldehyde. Cumin also works against bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. The Staph bacteria are implicated in a number of illnesses, ranging from skin problems like folliculitis and impetigo to breast infections and even pneumonia. E. coli, on the other hand, can cause severe intestinal problems as well as infections in organs like the prostate gland or gallbladder.
5. May Improve Memory
Animal studies have found that cumin may help boost memory. In one such study, subjects who were given cumin extracts were trained to do a task. Once they learned to do the task, they were given an amnesia-inducing drug. Contrary to the control group which didn’t get any cumin extracts, the subjects on cumin extracts showed less amnesia and relearned the task much faster. The free radical-scavenging ability of the antioxidants in cumin is thought to be at least partly responsible for this effect.
Spice Up With Cumin!
Wondering how to upgrade your cooking skills to include this amazing spice? Toss cumin seeds on a hot pan till they release a warm aroma and grind them after they cool down. This powder can now be used to flavor soups, stews, and curries. It can even go into salads and bakes. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
You can also try making a cool glass of jal jeera, a traditional drink from north India that literally translates to “cumin water.” To prepare jal jeera, pound 2 tablespoons of roasted cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon of dry mango powder, and fresh mint and coriander leaves into a smooth paste. Add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and you’ve got yourself a jal jeera concentrate that can be mixed in with water to make a refreshing drink that helps with digestion.