Who would think that such a little seed could have such a big impact on foods and health? Cumin, as a spice, has been used for many centuries. It comes from the seed of an herbaceous plant that is related to parsley. In recipes, the dried whole seed is used in some dishes while other dishes use the ground seed to add flavor. How you use cumin in cooking is determined by the recipe and the cuisine you are cooking.

The earliest records of cumin are found in the archaeological ruins of ancient Egypt and Syria, and Crete. It is known to have been growing around the time of 1500 B.C. or even earlier. The seed was likely first grown in the eastern Mediterranean area that is sometimes called The Levant.

The use of cumin as a spice in today’s recipes finds it in various East Indian dishes, Moroccan recipes, and food from Mexico. Cooking in Greece, North Africa, China, and South America benefits from cumin’s spice, either ground or whole seed. It seems the flavor of cumin is welcome in many places around the world. You will use it a lot if you study international cooking. Enjoy the learning and tasting of new dishes.

In the United States, the flavor of cumin is sought after in southwestern or Tex-Mex recipes. It is in taco seasoning blends and chili powder. People who are fond of Indian foods may put it in their Garam Masala blends. In some cultures, cumin seeds are boiled for a beverage called jeera. It is also a spice that goes well in curry dishes. Hummus and rice dishes both taste delicious when it is added to season them.

In soups and stews, the whole seeds are added to the cooking liquid at the beginning of the cooking process. This allows the flavor to permeate all the ingredients as it is extracted by simmering. Other recipes will call for the ground spice to be added towards the end or in combination with other seasonings and spices. It can be sprinkled on foods much as we sprinkle black pepper.

This versatile spice is often referred to as warm or earthy in flavor. Not only is it used for seasoning, but it is also considered to help with digestion. This is part of why it was so popular in ancient Greece and Rome. In some cultures, cumin was kept in a dish at the table, much as the Western world keeps black pepper available for individual seasoning. It could be added to dishes or consumed after a meal to help dispel gas.

As a commercial crop, you will find cumin grown in India, China, Northern Africa, Mexico, and Chile. It does well in a warm, dry climate. An interesting fact is that cumin seed is included in some birdseed blends and can spring up voluntarily in random places. It is a small plant that reaches about twenty inches in height maximum. Because the stems all grow to the same height and the flowers display as umbels, it has an attractive mounded appearance.

We use cumin in cooking for the flavor and forget that besides the wonderful taste it imparts, it has various health benefits. Doctors encourage us to spice up our meals to reduce our salt usage, which in turn helps some people control high blood pressure. Cumin is one spice that will add iron to your diet as it adds flavor.

Traditionally a variety of health benefits have been attributed to cumin and other spices. Eating delicious foods well seasoned with spices can act as medicine for our bodies. Nutritionally the tasty herb has antioxidants, healthy fats, a good amount of iron for its size, and soluble fiber. It is anti-inflammatory as well.

One area that cumin is said to help is improved digestion. Before you even have a chance to taste a savory dish made with cumin, the delicious aroma will cause your salivary glands to begin the digestive process. Often, a tasty dish is described as “mouth-watering” because saliva production is the initial part of digesting your food.

It will relieve diarrhea symptoms, colic, and bowel spasms because it has an anti-spasmodic effect, yet roasted cumin seeds with yogurt can help in curing constipation. It relieves gas as well since it helps prevent the gas formation or aids in expelling it. Get those results by drinking a hot beverage of seeds boiled in hot water and steeped, then strained.

Those are some of the reasons cumin is served as a table seasoning and being used for flavor in recipes and cooking. Others take it in supplement form as if it is a medicine. Another action that cumin has is to act as a diuretic to promote urine flow and reduce bloating. When consumed as a whole seed in a dish, it adds soluble fiber and antioxidants that contribute to a healthy diet.

We all want to be healthy, and for many, that starts with managing our weight. Being at a healthy weight has many benefits. It relieves stress on our joints and bones. In addition, when we achieve weight loss, we also often find improved blood cholesterol and blood sugar. Weight loss, along with balanced blood sugar, helps to manage diabetes.

Improved blood cholesterol and steady blood sugar control are necessary if we want to avoid diabetes complications like stroke and cardiac events. There is a huge array of prescriptions for cholesterol and diabetes, and the list of their side effects is long as well. It is easy to start adding cumin to your foods and look for improvements that way if you are not yet on any prescriptions. Along with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, cumin promotes weight loss, balanced blood cholesterol, and fewer diabetes symptoms.

Studies on the effects of cumin on blood sugar and cholesterol have been done on humans and rats. Scientists are looking to their studies to demonstrate that cumin does indeed have beneficial effects and that the health benefits of cumin are more than just anecdotal reports. The studies have been conducted on both men and women, and the results are that cumin is effective for both.

The benefits that doctors study in people who add cumin to a healthy diet have been improved digestion, lowered inflammation, weight loss, lower blood cholesterol levels, and better blood sugar control. The studies have been conducted on both men and women to demonstrate the health benefits of cumin. In those studies, weight loss and health improvements have been equal to results from taking a popular diet pill.

Cumin is just one spice that has powerful effects on our bodies. Look for recipes that include cumin or make up your own recipes. Cumin has antioxidants and reduces inflammation. It contains iron from plant sources and is high in soluble fiber. People who consume cumin report improvement in their digestion as well. Lower inflammation appears to help blood sugar control, one aspect of improving diabetes. People who have improved blood cholesterol from cumin also see benefits in the prevention of cardiac events. More than one study has confirmed these findings.

People who dislike the taste of cumin in their recipes or want to take it in larger doses may choose to look for concentrated cumin or cumin supplements. You can purchase oral cumin supplements as a powder in caplet form or as oil to be taken in drops. You will want to take these supplements with food once per day or according to package instructions.

Cumin supplements may help stabilize blood sugar. They can reduce bloating, so there is less appearance of body fat. It does not target any one area of the body for weight loss. Cumin is not for everybody. People may be allergic or sensitive to cumin. They also may just dislike the flavor or may experience undesired side effects.

People who use concentrated cumin or cumin supplements should discuss possible side effects and interactions with their healthcare professionals. Herbs and spices are considered gentler than some medications, but when you take them to help health conditions, your medical professional must know it. It may be that your prescriptions can eventually be reduced or eliminated.

Diabetics taking prescription medications for their blood sugar will need to be on the lookout for side effects like a major drop in blood sugar. Drug interactions can include an increase in the effects of drugs on blood sugar combined with cumin. Your blood sugar may fall too low if you use a lot of the spice in addition to medications for blood sugar control and diabetes.

Another red flag for the use of concentrated cumin is that it has an anticoagulant effect in some people. People with anemia, bleeding disorders, or anticoagulant prescriptions can experience slower blood clotting and extra bleeding. Increased bleeding, slow healing of minor wounds, and bruising of the skin would indicate that you are consuming too much cumin. Your iron levels will go down from this. It also may increase the amount your body absorbs of some antibiotics your doctor might prescribe. Always report unusual symptoms and talk with your doctor about using cumin to become healthier.

Do not use cumin if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. It is sometimes used to help start delayed menstrual periods, but if you are pregnant, it may cause bleeding and pregnancy loss. It does thin the blood. Studies have been done to show that for some nursing mothers, it reduces the production of milk.

Although the soluble fiber and antioxidants in cumin are good for digestion in general, they are used too heavily, or if you have a sensitivity, heartburn can be the result. Some people also find that their gas is eliminated and replaced with belching. You may need to try cumin a few times to find the best amount for you to use. Moderation is good in all things.

These are the most common side effects of using cumin supplements or concentrated cumin. In normal amounts as those used for cooking and adding flavor to recipes, they are not likely to occur unless the dishes are consumed in excessive amounts. Moderation is the key to avoiding side effects.

It is important to note that people can have allergies to cumin and other spices, so if you develop itching and a rash after eating foods you have seasoned with, you need to follow up to determine if you have an allergy that causes skin inflammation. If you have an allergy, it is not likely that your body will achieve the seasoning’s health benefits.

We know that there has been more than one study of the health benefits of cumin. It can benefit the digestive function and improve the blood. Tendencies toward diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol can be alleviated. Studies are ongoing because of the promising benefits that have been seen.

The antioxidants in cumin reduce inflammation in the blood vessels and may also help prevent cancer. Fiber is good for digestion and helping carry unhealthy fats out of your system to improve cholesterol levels. In more than one study, it has been shown that blood sugar is also lowered by this seasoning.

From time to time, different information will be published about herbs and medicines. Use reliable sources or cross-check between more than one study. The moderate use of cumin in your cooking is delicious and may offer some health benefits. Sometimes sources disagree with one another, so before using any spice or flavoring in excess, do your own reading and discuss it with your regular health professional or doctor. Use your seasonings well to promote a happy and healthy lifestyle that is full of good taste.

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