Cumin: benefits, properties, uses

Basic ingredient of curry, cumin is a spice with very important antioxidant and digestive properties that make it a perfect ally for the health of our body.

Cumin is a spice deriving from a plant with the botanical name Cuminum cyminum of which dark and elongated seeds are consumed, with a shape very similar to those of fennel, with a strong and slightly spicy flavor. In fact, it is more correct to define cumin as a fruit of this plant, called achene.

The cumin plant is native to Syria and its seeds are now widespread in all Mediterranean countries. In addition to common cumin, there are other varieties. Caraway , also called German cumin, from the botanical name Carum Carvi, is smaller and darker and has a less intense and less spicy flavor. This variety is widespread in Europe and is also found in our country.

Then there is black cumin, which however belongs to another plant. Specifically, two types of black cumin can be found. Persian black cumin (Bunium persicum), found only in Iran and India, actually has a dark gray color. Bengali black cumin (Nigella Sativa), on the other hand, has a particular, less elongated shape and is what is generally called “black cumin”. Let’s see what are the nutritional characteristics and properties of common cumin.

Cumin: calories and nutritional values

Common cumin provides a fair number of kilocalories, about 370 calories per 100 grams, but it takes very little to flavor dishes or herbal teas, given its strong flavor, so it does not affect the energy balance. It is also a very high protein spice, with around 17 grams of protein per 100 grams. Now let’s see in detail the nutritional values ​​of cumin seeds.

Nutritional values ​​per 100g of cumin:

  • Kilocalories: 375
  • Waterfall: 8.06 gr
  • Proteins: 17.81 gr
  • Fat: 22.27 gr
  • Carbohydrates: 44.24 gr
  • Fibers: 10.5 gr
  • Soccer: 931 mg
  • Iron: 66.36 mg
  • Magnesium: 366 mg
  • Phosphorus: 499 mg
  • Potassium: 1788 mg
  • Vitamin C or ascorbic acid: 7.7 mg
  • Folate: 10 µg
  • Vitamin A: 1270 IU

Cumin: nutritional properties

Cumin is a spice rich in properties, mainly given by the presence of antioxidant substances, fibers and some minerals essential for the health of our body, in particular iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Let’s deepen the characteristics of the components most represented in this spice.

  • Fibers: fibers are essential to keep our intestines healthy, both because they stimulate intestinal transit and because they facilitate the expulsion of accumulated toxins, thus preventing the risk of colon cancer. 100 grams of common cumin contains about 10 grams of fiber;
  • Calcium: the calcium content of common cumin is more than 900 mg per 100 grams, a very high level if you consider that the average requirement of an adult man is 800 mg of calcium per day. Calcium is a mineral responsible for the mineralization of bones and teeth, preventing osteoporosis. It is also essential for the process of muscle contraction and for communication between cells;
  • Iron: iron is a fundamental mineral as it is responsible for the transport of oxygen within hemoglobin. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which is a decrease in hemoglobin in the blood. Iron boosts the immune system and promotes the production of hormones responsible for good mood. The amount of iron in 100 grams of cumin is 66 mg per 100 grams;
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus, together with calcium, is responsible for the structure of bones and teeth. It is part of the composition of proteins and enzymes, regulates the pH, is part of some vitamin activation processes and also participates in cellular repair;
  • Potassium: potassium is very abundant in cumin, with 1788 mg per 100 grams. It is essential for the reduction of blood pressure and to dispose of excess fluids. It acts as a heart rate regulator, it is important for the transmission of nerve impulses and for the contraction of muscle fibers.

Cumin: health benefits

Cumin has excellent digestive properties, effectively counteracts a swollen belly and has a good antioxidant effect, but not only. Now let’s take a closer look at what are the benefits that the consumption of cumin brings to our health.

✓ Stimulates digestion and counteracts abdominal gas

The main benefits of cumin are certainly those for the digestive system. Cumin, especially when taken in the form of a decoction, facilitates the digestive process because it stimulates the production of digestive enzymes. In addition, it has carminative properties, that is, it helps to eliminate intestinal gas, thus preventing annoying abdominal bloating.

✓ Improves the lipid profile

Daily consumption of cumin is able to improve the lipid profile, both as regards cholesterol and triglycerides. In a study, administering 3 grams of cumin powder per day to overweight and obese women decreased serum levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, while improving good cholesterol levels.

✓ Antitumor action

Cumin seeds would have a preventive activity against oncological pathologies. In particular, the effect seems to be mainly due to a component, thymequinone, a powerful antioxidant that effectively counteracts the action of free radicals. According to various studies, this effect appears to be more potent in black cumin seeds of the Nigella Sativa species.

✓ Cumin for weight loss

Perhaps not everyone knows that cumin makes you lose weight: its effect raises body heat and increases metabolic expenditure by promoting the consumption of fats and calories. Furthermore, as we have seen, it helps to stimulate the digestive process and deflate the belly. Therefore, the daily consumption of common cumin, combined with constant physical activity and a controlled diet, would help in reducing body weight.

✓ Other benefits of cumin

Cumin essential oil helps fight respiratory infections and is also used to soothe swelling and pain in case of severe muscle inflammation. In this last case it is enough to do massages with cumin essential oil to reap all its benefits. The intake of cumin is preferably suitable in the winter period thanks to its heating power. Also, chewing ripe cumin seeds helps fight bad breath.

What does cumin taste like?

Cumin has a very strong, warm, pungent and very intense taste, with notes that are very reminiscent of Middle Eastern countries, especially when used in substantial quantities. In some respects, cumin seeds also have a flavor that is close to those of fennel. Due to these characteristics, cumin is part of numerous culinary preparations.

Cumin: some usage tips

Cumin is harvested in summer, from July to September when its fruits are ripe, but the seeds have not yet completely fallen off. To collect the seeds, the flowers must be removed and left to dry upside down in a cool, dry place, taking care to put a cloth under the flowers to collect the seeds. The seeds can be stored in a cool place in an airtight jar.

Generally, both whole and ground seeds are used and can be purchased at a herbalist’s shop or supermarket. The simplest and most well-known consumption of cumin is that in herbal tea. Making a cumin-based herbal tea is simple. Mix 2 g of cumin seeds with 2 g of fennel seeds and 2 g of mint. Leave everything to infuse for about 10 minutes and consume twice during the day. Alternatively, it can also be used as a single ingredient, always in the form of herbal tea, by boiling a teaspoon of seeds for 5 minutes and then letting it rest for another 10 minutes. Drunk after meals, it helps digest.

In the kitchen, the seeds can be used in salads simply by roasting them in a pan a few minutes before serving, or they can be used in marinades based on olive oil or soy sauce. In addition, this spice can be used to enrich fruit salads, but also to flavor bread, quiches, vegetable meatballs and homemade crackers.

Cumin: contraindications and potential negative effects

Cumin should not be used by those with allergies to this seed. It is not recommended to use during pregnancy and in case of liver disease. In addition, it is contraindicated when taking photosensitizing drugs or for hormonal therapies.


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