Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is a small flowering plant mostly found in regions with hot weather conditions such as North Africa, Middle East Asia, India, West China, and Mexico. The plant bears small oblong-shaped seeds that have linear ridges and a distinctive aroma. Cumin (also known as Jeera) seeds are loaded with minerals and vitamins such as iron, manganese, copper, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins A, E, C, and certain B-complex vitamins. Cumin seeds (in the seed form or powder form) have been used as a spice in culinary preparations and for its wide-ranging medicinal properties in Middle East Asia, India, and Mexico, from ancient times.
Cumin is good for the digestive system:
Cumin seeds contain chemical compounds, such as cuminaldehyde and thymol, which can help in the digestive process. Cuminaldehyde is an aromatic chemical that helps the digestion of food in the mouth by activating the salivary glands. In the stomach and gut, thymol helps with the secretion of enzymes, bile, and stomach acids to aid in the digestive processes.
Individuals suffering from excessive flatulence or even constipation may find relief with cumin, as it is rich in fiber. Any infections, wounds, or even hemorrhoids, affecting the digestive system and the rectum may be relieved using cumin, which has very strong antioxidant properties.
Cumin and blood pressure:
It has been observed that a higher potassium intake may offset some of the negative effects that sodium has on blood pressure. The potassium to sodium ratio in cumin is approximately 10:1. Only a spoonful of cumin seeds with a high level of potassium content can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Cumin and cognitive function:
Maintaining a healthy flow of blood to the brain helps patients with brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s dementia. In such patients, the cognitive decline may be reduced and cognitive function improved. Cumin is rich in iron and can help in the production of red blood cells. An increased blood cell production can help ensure oxygen and iron-rich hemoglobin reaching the brain cells, leading to improved cognitive performance.
Cumin and energy production:
The manganese-rich cumin seeds help support various metabolic processes and regulates certain key enzymes to produce body energy very efficiently.
Cumin as an anti-carcinogenic agent:
Studies by Gagandeep and others in 2003, and published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, have established a correlation between cumin and cancers of the stomach and uterus in animals. Also, a study conducted by R.K. Johri and published in Pharmacognosy Review (in 2011) has indicated that the anti-oxidative properties of cumin may be responsible for some of its anti-carcinogenic properties.
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http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/245?qlookup=cumin&fg=&format=&man=&lfacet=&max=25&new=1 (accessed on 11/27/2014)
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15087270?report=medline&format=text (accessed on 11/27/2014)
Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:
Shabana, A., El-Menyar, A., Asim, M., Al-Azzeh, H., & Al Thani, H. (2013). Cardiovascular benefits of black cumin (Nigella sativa). Cardiovascular toxicology, 13(1), 9-21.
Ramadan, M. F. (2007). Nutritional value, functional properties and nutraceutical applications of black cumin (Nigella sativa L.): an overview.International journal of food science & technology, 42(10), 1208-1218.
Rathore, S. S., Saxena, S. N., & Singh, B. (2013). Potential health benefits of major seed spices. Int J Seed Spices, 3(2), 1-12.
Yao, L. H., Jiang, Y. M., SHI, J., Tomas-Barberan, F. A., Datta, N., Singanusong, R., & Chen, S. S. (2004). Flavonoids in food and their health benefits. Plant foods for human nutrition, 59(3), 113-122.
Tapsell, L. C., Hemphill, I., Cobiac, L., Sullivan, D. R., Fenech, M., Patch, C. S., ... & Fazio, V. A. (2006). Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, the present, the future.
Sowbhagya, H. B. (2013). Chemistry, technology, and nutraceutical functions of cumin (Cuminum cyminum L): An overview. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 53(1), 1-10.