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Cumin is a versatile spice with a strong & distinct flavor. Originating from the Middle East, it’s popularly used in curries and as a base for other spice blends. Some experts are even recommending cumin for weight loss.
Like most spices, cumin provides its share of health benefits. This post will explore some of those health benefits along with popular cumin recipes that will enable you to add cumin to your diet.
Cumin for Weight Loss
Evidence suggests that daily intake of cumin can increase the effectiveness of a weight loss plan.
A study done in Iran showed that women who consumed about 1 teaspoon per day of cumin as part of a weight loss plan lost about 3 pounds more than a control group of women on the same plan without the cumin. In addition, the women in the control group had just 1/3 the loss in body fat as the group who ate cumin and showed a much healthier blood cholesterol profile.
Cumin appears to help weight loss using several different mechanisms.
First, it increases insulin sensitivity which helps to lower and maintain blood sugar levels. This effect helps the body metabolize fat and also can be beneficial to those with type 2 diabetes.
Second, it aids in digestion and helps to increase satiety.
Other Health Benefits of Cumin
In addition to its weight loss benefits, cumin and cumin seeds have a host of other benefits.
Cumin is widely used to help those with indigestion and gas. One study founds that cumin helped relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Cumin can also help prevent food poisoning. Studies done by the National Institute of Health showed that cumin oil displayed antibacterial properties. It’s no surprise that cumin is used to extend the life of food in the Middle East.
So if you weren’t born in the Middle East or have family from there, you might be wondering how to incorporation cumin powder and cumin seeds into your diet. So here are a few recipes that might help.
Cumin mixes well with other spices and herbs such as garlic and rosemary.
All-Purpose Southwest Dip
I love dip. Seriously, I’d eat tree bark if I had something yummy to dip it in. In fact, most of my cumin intake comes from a simple dip recipe that I use for everything from chips to vegetables.
Ingredients: 1 cup of sour cream, 3/4 teaspoon of ground cumin or cumin powder, 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt, 1/4 teaspoon paprika
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until well-mixed. It takes just a couple minutes and it’s delicious. Most Southwest dip recipes out there additionally call for mayonnaise as well, but I skip that because it really cuts back the calorie content of the dip. Using just sour cream makes the dip much lighter.
Seasoned Grilled Chicken Breast
This is a great way to cook chicken. I like to make it and then slice it up and put it over a big salad.
Ingredients: 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon crushed rosemary
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl except the chicken and mix well. Brush or rub the mixture onto the chicken breasts. Grill until cooked completely, 5-7 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the chicken.
Indian Stir-Fry Vegetables
Ingredients: 1 bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
Mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and place to the side. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, place the frozen vegetables into the pan. Toss the vegetables until they’re evenly coated with olive oil. Sprinkle the dry ingredient mixture over the vegetables and toss periodically until heated through.
Cumin For Your Health
While the research seems to recommend cumin for weight loss and a host of other things, I recommend it because it’s so versatile in the kitchen.
Cumin isn’t a very expensive spice, and it’s flavor is strong enough that a little goes a long way.
Cumin has been used in the Middle East for thousands of years, and it seems for good reason.
I will be using this delicious spice for the rest of my life, how about you?
Sources & Additional Reading
1. Wikipedia: Cumin
3. Huffington Post: This Spice May Be The Secret Weapon to Weight Loss
4. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cumin extract for symptom control in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a case series
5. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of cumin oil