A few spoons of this yellow powder could dissolve stubborn weight and triple your loss of body fat.
The peppery spice cumin appeared in the Bible as a seasoning for soups and breads. The seeds were paid to priests. And in Ancient Egypt, cumin was used to preserve the mummies of pharaohs.
A recent study shows that it may also help you finally burn off those extra pounds!
Researchers in Iran wanted to know the effect of this ancient spice on body composition as well as blood fat levels.
They randomly divided 88 overweight or obese women into 2 groups. Both groups followed a reduced calorie diet and received nutrition counseling. But, one group ate yoghurt with three grams of cumin twice a day. The other group ate plain yoghurt.
The journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice published the results. After only three months, the cumin group members lost almost 50% more weight than the control group. They also decreased their body fat percentage by 14.64% or almost three times the control group’s loss.
The cumin group also lowered their body mass index and waist circumference significantly more than the control group. The authors speculated that cumin’s weight loss benefits may come from its heat. It may however, temporarily increase metabolic rate.
Cumin also significantly reduced blood lipid levels. Triglycerides dropped 23 points compared to only 5 points in the control group and LDL cholesterol dropped an average of 10 points compared to less than one point for the controls.
Cumin contains more than 100 different chemicals including essential fatty acids and volatile oils. The researchers believe the cholesterol lowering effect of the spice can be partly attributed to its glycoside saponins. These compounds prevent cholesterol absorption and increase its excretion. Cumin also contains a substantial amount of phytosterols that may positively modulate lipids by reducing cholesterol absorption.
The authors suggested that supplementing with cumin could effectively reduce triglycerides and cholesterol as well as reduce the risk factors for metabolic syndrome. However, it is believed that cholesterol deficiency may damage your health.
This spice is native to Egypt. It has been cultivated in the Middle East, India, China and Mediterranean countries for thousands of years.
It belongs to the same plant family as caraway, parsley and dill. The cumin seed actually resembles caraway, but the taste is quite nutty and peppery. It can be often found as an ingredient in curry powder blends. It’s popular around the world and is also found in Mexican chili, as well as in the Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Cumin also has a long list of potential benefits for the health like most spices.
An animal study from 2008, published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine showed that cumin seeds inhibited loss of bone density and strength as effectively as estrogen, but unlike estrogen, cumin didn’t promote weight gain or uterine cancer.
Traditional medicine used cumin seeds to support the digestive system. Modern research shows that cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, acids and bile which are necessary in order to have a proper digestion. The essential oil of the cumin plant also contains a compound called cuminaldehyde that activates the salivary glands to help predigest food. It also relieves gas and improves appetite, as well as offers relief for IBS symptoms.
A research published in 2010 in the journal Food Chemistry and Toxicology showed that cumin could lower blood sugar on a par with the drug glibenclamide (known in the U.S. as glyburide). It also lowered oxidative stress and inhibited the advanced glycated end products (AGE) which are implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic vascular complications.
An earlier animal study found that cumin was more effective than the drug glibenclamide to reduce inflammation, cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids and blood glucose. It may also have anti-carcinogenic effects. Some preclinical research show the spice inhibits cervical cancer and colon cancer.
Other studies show that cumin may enhance memory function. It also has a broad range of antimicrobial powers.
These are the ways to add more cumin into your diet:
■ Add cumin to the pot when you’re cooking soups, stews, chili, rice, beans or lentils. Sprinkle some cumin on vegetable sautés. It goes well with sweet potatoes, carrots, squash and cauliflower.
■ Add it to marinades, salad dressings and mayonnaise.
Sprinkle some cumin on roasted nuts or chickpeas.
■ Add it to the meat mixture when you’re making meatloaf, meatballs or hamburgers.
■ Beat into scrambled eggs before cooking.
■ Buy some cumin seed tea or brew your own by boiling the seeds in water and letting them stay for 10 minutes.