Cumin - Overview, History, Benefits, Precaution, Dosage

What Is Cumin?

Cumin is a plant of the Umbelliferae family that is native to Egypt. The seeds are used as a spice after being dried or powdered. It is believed to have been grown for more than 5,000 years, and ancient Egyptians utilised it as a spice and also as a preservative for mummies. It is also stated that cumin was set out on tables alongside salt in ancient Greece.

Cumin has been a common spice in Europe since the Middle Ages and has been used for hundreds of years in a wide range of areas from Asia to Europe, the Americas, and Africa, despite its strong association with ethnic foods like curry.

It is utilised in traditional medicine and is high in nutrients, including iron, and vitamins C and E, and is considered to have several benefits, including antioxidant effects.

Cumin Powder & Cumin Seeds

Cumin available commercially at supermarkets includes the following:

  • Cumin Seeds: They are dried cumin seeds
  • Cumin Powder: They are ground and powdered cumin seeds.

There are a few subtle differences in the applications of cumin powder and seeds. The aroma of cumin seeds is strong when they are cooked in oil.

Making use of its medical properties, it is frequently added to stewed, stir-fried, and fried foods to enhance their flavour.

On the other hand, cumin powder is frequently used as a flavouring. You may knead it into bread or sprinkle it over a dish. Well, while making cumin powder some grind raw cumin whereas some roast it first then grind it. Roasting and then grinding is very common in Indian houses.

Cumin Taste and Aroma

Cumin has a pepper-like, warm, spicy, and sweet aroma. Its unique scent is sometimes described as "earth-like" and "nut-like," but some people find it "smelly." The seeds have a slightly bitter taste and a delightful citrus fruit aroma when chewed raw.

The primary cause of this aroma is a substance known as cumin aldehyde, which is widely present in the cumin seed's outer layer and is purported to be released when the seed is eaten or pulverised.

Cumin is a spice often found in Indian curries, and the aroma of cumin is the main component of the so-called “curry aroma.”

Characteristics Of Cumin

Cumin is oblong, about 5 to 6 mm long, and the seed coat has pale yellow vertical stripes. Its distinct powerful scent, spiciness, and bitterness define it. Since the scent is occasionally used in garam masala, curry is often brought to mind when people smell it. Cumin seeds are often confused with caraway and fennel because they look similar, but they have completely different aromas.

Cumin's Nutrients 

Cumin is rich in vitamins and minerals. Below is a list of the particular nutrients that are present.

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B group (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

Cumin contains other active compounds that are believed to be health-promoting in addition to the vitamins and minerals mentioned above.

Plant sterols: It is a part of the cell's structural makeup in plants. Plant sterols are not absorbed from our digestive tract, like cholesterol. As a result, when combined with cholesterol, it lowers cholesterol levels by inhibiting absorption. Therefore, it can be expected to be effective in promoting the reduction of body fat and preventing lifestyle-related diseases such as myocardial infarction and arteriosclerosis. Additionally, it is claimed to possess antioxidant properties that eliminate active oxygen, which results in cell oxidation.

Cuminal (cumaldehyde): It is a component of aroma that occurs naturally. It smells good and it stimulates our digestive tract and makes us feel more hungry. For this reason, in ancient Greece, cumin was associated with appetite. Consequently, it is reasonable to eat curry when it is easy to lose your appetite due to the heat, as it increases your appetite.

Limonene: It is the fragrant ingredient in cumin as well as the peels of citrus fruits. Limonene is used in a variety of ways, including as a flavouring agent in foods and beverages, in pharmaceuticals to promote skin penetration, and because it contains surfactants, it is used in detergents and solvents. It becomes a close phytochemical. It also has an antioxidant function that eliminates active oxygen, just like plant sterols. Although limonene has a calming aroma, it is also anticipated to boost immunity and reduce stress.

Benefits of Cumin

Cumin is famous for healing haemorrhoids, boosting immunity, and treating skin rashes. Additionally, antidiabetic and anticancer benefits have been reported. We shall present the effects of cumin that have been reported in medical literature and research publications.

Improve digestion: Many experiments have indicated that the extract from cumin can raise digestive enzymes, which is why Ayurveda has long utilised it to aid with digestion. Additionally, it has also been reported to be effective in improving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) through experiments on humans.

Improve blood cholesterol: Human investigations have demonstrated the potential of cumin to lower blood cholesterol levels. Studies have indicated that it offers benefits like lowering blood triglycerides, raising HDL cholesterol, and decreasing bad cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol.

Antioxidative Effect: Terpenes, phenols, and flavonoids are among the active components in cumin, which are also reported to have strong antioxidant properties. By suppressing lipid peroxidation with antioxidant effects, it may be possible to prevent ageing and lifestyle-related diseases.

Weight Loss Effect: It is believed that cumin can help with weight loss. Numerous studies have demonstrated that when obese participants were given cumin powder and supplements, they lost weight quickly.

Boost immunity: Cumin's vitamin A content protects mucous membranes and skin. The function of the skin's mucous membranes is to keep viruses out of the body. Vitamin A helps mucous membranes perform their usual role as a barrier, shielding the body from pathogens.

Support radiant skin: Collagen, a necessary component of flawless skin, is produced by vitamin C. Collagen helps to keep skin tight and firm, which results in youthful skin. Vitamin C also can inhibit the synthesis of melanin. As a result, it can avoid UV-induced stains and freckles and is anticipated to have a whitening effect.

Ageing prevention: Terpenes, phenols, and flavonoid components with antioxidant qualities are abundant in cumin. Active oxygen is a chemical found in our bodies. When it is present in excess, it can hasten the ageing process and result in wrinkles and age spots. Consuming cumin, which has a potent antioxidant effect, cleanses the body of active oxygen and delays the ageing process.

Relaxing Effect: Cumin can also be expected to have relaxing effects. Limonene, a cumin aldehyde found in cumin promotes relaxation. Cumic aldehyde and limonene are both fragrance ingredients. Limonene is also famous as a scent component contained in citrus fruits. Limonene has been shown to have the effect of producing alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves are brain waves that appear when you are relaxed.

Diet Effect: Limonene contained in cumin also has the effect of supporting diet. It is an excellent substance for weight loss because it lowers visceral fat and speeds up metabolism. Furthermore, limonene reduces hunger and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. It makes sense that it would have the effect of preventing overindulgence when dieting.

Prevent anemia: There are 11.7 milligrams of iron in 100g of cumin. Since iron makes up the majority of hemoglobin, a shortage can result in anemia symptoms including dizziness and shortness of breath. Individuals who are prone to anemia should consciously consume cumin.

Anti-ageing and anti-glycation Effect: The nutritional elements of cumin, which include limonene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and cuminal (cumaldehyde), are thought to have antioxidant properties that stop oxidation, which is a major contributor to ageing. Furthermore, our bodies denature and break down proteins when too much sugar adheres to them, resulting in AGEs (end products of glycation), which are thought to be the root cause of ageing. The oxidised state of the body is commonly referred to as "the body rusts," but it can also be described as "the body burns." Nowadays, a lot of people consume excessive amounts of sugar, leading to the theory that a lot of people's bodies are burnt (saccharification). Among foods that inhibit glycation, cumin is reported to have the third-highest anti-glycation rate (86%). Cumin thus has the potential to offer anti-ageing properties that prolong the youthfulness of your body in addition to antioxidant and anti-glycation actions.

Anti-acidification: Cumin contains components such as terpenes, phenols, and flavonoids. All of these ingredients are derived from the pigments, aromas, and flavours of natural plants. Phytochemicals provide potent antioxidative properties. Cumin also contains vitamins C and E, both of which have antioxidant properties. By eliminating active oxygen, a material that ages the body, antioxidant action slows down the ageing process of the body. For instance, it keeps the brain and blood arteries from ageing. Keeping blood vessels from ageing contributes to the prevention of circulatory system disorders including arteriosclerosis and cardiac. Dementia and stroke risk are decreased by preventing brain ageing.

Cumin Dosage

The recommended daily intake of cumin is not clearly defined. However, as per FSSAI, the recommended allowance dose is 1-3g as a powder. Consuming more than that could have negative consequences, so it's advisable to keep it to about 3g daily. Well, as per individual health, the dose also varies.

Cumin Precaution

Since cumin is a natural food, it is said to be less likely to cause serious side effects compared to pharmaceutical products.

  • Allergy Reaction: It is believed that anyone who is allergic to any of the ingredients in cumin, pregnant or nursing women, or people who are allergic to plants in the umbelliferous family should avoid cumin. It is said that a spice allergy can cause anaphylactic shock, so there is no need to be nervous, but you do need to be careful. On the other hand, adverse reactions could happen occasionally, therefore it might be best to avoid taking it.
  • Cumin is an Umbelliferae family: This product may cause food allergies in those who are allergic to umbelliferous plants. The primary signs of a cumin-induced food allergy are throat itching and discomfort, urticaria, difficulty breathing, and anaphylactic shock. Do not consume cumin if you are allergic to umbelliferous plants.
  • Careful about heating time: Heating reduces the distinct aroma of cumin. Therefore, if you don't want the aroma to remain, you can use cumin seeds from the beginning and simmer for a long time. However, if you want a scent, you will need to use cumin powder as a finishing touch.
  • Careful about the amount: The more cumin you use, the stronger the scent will be, giving it an ethnic and spicy feel. Therefore, kindly modify the quantity used to fit each dish. Be cautious because an excessive intake might potentially result in body odour.
  • Overconsumption Effect: Diarrhoea and stomach ache can also result from consuming too much cumin. This is because cumin improves how stomach acid and other digestive enzymes work. For this reason, if you have a sensitive stomach, it is advisable to avoid consuming it.
  • Pregnant women should avoid: Pregnant women should also refrain from consuming cumin. The uterus contracts as a result of diarrhoea during pregnancy, increasing the chance of an early birth or miscarriage.
  • Body Odour: Excessive intake of cumin can also result in strong body odour. Although it may not be a side effect, cumin is one of the foods that can increase body odour. It is sometimes said that the odour of armpit moth is similar to that of cumin. Just remember that eating too much can lead to the development of an odd body odour.

How To Use Cumin?

Cumin is famous as a spice used in curry, but it is also a versatile spice that can be used in a variety of other dishes.

Difference between cumin seeds and cumin powder? When we go to purchase cumin, we typically see either "cumin powder" or "cumin seeds." Let's now discuss how these two differ from one another.

Cumin seeds are the seeds of the cumin plant. It's frequently referred to as a "hole" because it is a seed itself. First, you can heat a small amount of cumin seeds with oil to release the aroma, and by transferring that aroma to the oil, the aroma will remain firmly in the food, so you can enjoy the aroma and enhance the food.

On the other hand, cumin powder is made by further pulverising cumin seeds. Since it's in powder form, we suggest including it when preparing hamburger steak ingredients, kneading it into dough, or adding it as a flavouring agent when finishing. One benefit of powder is that it's simpler and easier to use.

The strength of the scent is almost the same for both types, but it is said that seeds tend to retain their scent even when heated. The ideal is to be able to use it properly depending on the purpose.

How To Use Cumin In Cooking?

Cumin is a spice that can be used in a variety of dishes. Additionally, cumin pairs well with stir-fried vegetables. Why not include cumin along with salt and pepper in your regular stir-fried vegetables?

Additionally, using it in meat meals like sausages, hamburgers, and fried chicken is also advised. The regular flavour will become more real when cumin is added.

Your typical curry will taste better and be more authentic if you add cumin to it. It pairs well with potato salad, so we also suggest adding it there. It is a nice addition to soups in the winter months. We highly suggest trying cumin because it has a distinct aroma and, being a spice, also has a warming effect on your body.

Can cumin be substituted?

One of the questions you could have if you don't have cumin is if there's a substitute you can use. Since the aroma of cumin is essentially unique, no other components or scents are believed to be similar.

However, when preparing, you can use nutmeg as an alternative. Since nutmeg doesn't smell as strongly as cumin, it can be utilised in recipes that don't call for a strong flavour.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) On Cumin

Is cumin and jeera the same?

Yes, cumin and jeera refer to the same spice. "Jeera" is the Hindi word for cumin.

What is the spice cumin good for?

Cumin is known for its digestive properties, aiding in digestion, and adding flavour to various dishes. It also contains antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Is it OK to drink cumin every day?

Yes, it is generally safe to consume cumin every day in moderation. However, if you have any medical conditions, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional.

What are the benefits of jeera?

Jeera (cumin) is believed to have various benefits, including improved digestion, anti-inflammatory properties, and antioxidant effects.

Can we eat jeera daily?

Yes, consuming jeera daily in moderate amounts is generally considered safe and may offer health benefits.

Does jeera reduce gas?

Yes, jeera is known for its carminative properties, which may help reduce gas and bloating.

What is the disadvantage of jeera?

While jeera is generally safe when consumed in moderation, excessive intake may lead to digestive discomfort for some individuals. It's important to use it in appropriate amounts.

How to make jeera rice?

To make jeera rice, sauté cumin seeds in ghee or oil, add rice, and cook in water or broth until the rice is fully cooked. It's a fragrant and flavorful rice dish.

How to make jeera water?

To make jeera water, boil cumin seeds in water, let it cool, and then strain. You can drink this water for its potential health benefits.

How to make jeera water for weight loss?

To make jeera water for weight loss, soak cumin seeds overnight, strain the water, and drink it in the morning on an empty stomach.

Is jeera water good for weight loss?

Jeera water is believed to aid in weight loss due to its potential to boost metabolism and improve digestion.

Does jeera water help in weight loss?

Jeera water may contribute to weight loss by promoting digestion and metabolism, but it's not a standalone solution. A balanced diet and regular exercise are also essential.

How to drink jeera water for weight loss?

Drink jeera water on an empty stomach in the morning or before meals for potential weight loss benefits.

How to make jeera aloo?

To make jeera aloo, saute cumin seeds in oil, add boiled potatoes, and season with spices. It's a delicious cumin-flavoured potato dish.

Is jeera water good for health?

Jeera water is believed to be beneficial for health due to its potential digestive and antioxidant properties.

What is jeera called in English?

Jeera is called "cumin" in English.

Can jeera water reduce belly fat?

While jeera water is thought to aid in digestion and metabolism, its direct impact on reducing belly fat may vary among individuals. It is not a guaranteed solution for spot reduction.

What is cumin powder?

Cumin powder is a ground form of cumin seeds, a spice derived from the dried fruit of the Cuminum cyminum plant. It is widely used in cooking to add flavour to various dishes.

What is cumin powder in Hindi?

Cumin powder in Hindi is called "Jeera Powder" (जीरा पाउडर).

Is cumin water good for weight loss?

Cumin water is believed by some to have potential benefits for weight loss due to its digestive and metabolism-boosting properties. However, individual results may vary.

How much cumin seeds per day?

The recommended daily intake of cumin seeds varies, but roughly 1-2 teaspoons per day, divided across meals, is a common guideline.

How to pronounce cumin?

Cumin is pronounced as "kyoo-min" or "kum-in."

How to use black cumin seed for weight loss?

Black cumin seeds, also known as kalonji or Nigella sativa, are sometimes considered for weight loss. You can incorporate them into your diet by sprinkling them on salads, yogurt, or adding them to smoothies.

What is the meaning of cumin?

Cumin refers to the seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant, commonly used as a spice in cooking. The term "cumin" is derived from the Old English word "cymen" and the Latin word "cuminum."

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