Close your eyes and imagine a spoonful of creamy hummus, a steaming plate of tripe, or a spicy curry: this is where the strong, sweet smell and bitter taste so characteristic of cumin, a spice that shares a similarity with caraway.
The cumin plant comes from the Mediterranean area, possibly from Egypt or Syria., where its use was gastronomic, medicinal and also as one of the ingredients to embalm the deceased. This herbaceous plant belongs to the Apiaceae family, is annual and can reach between 60 and 90 centimeters in height.
Its culinary importance is scattered around the planet: It is associated with Indian food, but it also plays a leading role in cuisines such as North African, Guatemalan or Paraguayan cuisine.
He cumin It plays an important role in seasoning couscous, meat tajine, Indian massalas or ras-el-hanout —a popular Moroccan mix of spices—, different types of curries, Jewish bread or chili con carne, and Mexican guacamole. Also in Swiss sauerkraut, the aromatization of cheeses such as edam and some infusions.
In Spain, Canarian mojos cannot be understood without their flavour. Also the black pudding from Burgos, stews such as Madrid stew, Manchegan potatoes in caldillo, Almagro aubergines, tuna to the rummage or some versions of the Andalusian gazpacho.
Regarding its medicinal use, this spice already appears in the text of Capitulare de villis vel curtis imperiian order issued by Charlemagne to mandate the cultivation of certain herbs and vegetables, including ciminum, currently Cuminum cyminum.
According to Vegaffinity, cumin has 375 calories per 100 grams, as well as 44 grams of carbohydrates, 17 protein, 10 fiber, and 22 fat. The cumin minerals They are sodium, calcium, iron and potassium. Its vitamins include vitamin A and vitamin E, both fat-soluble.
Although it can be used in grain (seeds) or ground, its grinding is recommended just before use, as with the rest of the spices. Its grains are so tiny that the popular phrase “I don’t give a damn” comes from this fact. If they are roasted, they acquire a more powerful flavor.
Cumin benefits for health
From Healthline collect some of the main studies and scientific evidence on the cumin properties for health
- It is digestive: It’s probably the most famous benefit of cumin. Studies have confirmed that the spice speeds up digestion, increases the activity of digestive enzymes, and increases the release of bile from the liver, which helps digest fats and other nutrients. It can also improve the symptoms of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- prevents anemia: Cumin seeds are naturally rich in iron. In fact, a teaspoon of ground cumin contains 1.4 mg of iron, that is, 17.5% of the recommended daily allowance for adults. Therefore, it prevents anemia. Iron deficiency affects up to 20% of the world population.
- Provides numerous antioxidants to your body: Among these compounds, terpenes, phenols, flavonoids and alkaloids stand out, with great antioxidant power to combat free radical damage and prevent aging caused by oxidation, which also causes cancer.
- It shows promise for diabetes: A clinical study showed that a concentrated cumin supplement improved early indicators of diabetes in overweight people, compared to placebo. Besides, Cumin components help control blood sugar.
- Improves blood cholesterol levels: Several clinical studies support the ability of cumin supplements to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol, as well as lower unhealthy blood triglycerides.
- Fight food infections: Many seasonings, including cumin, appear to have antimicrobial properties that may reduce the risk of infections transmitted by bacteria and fungi from food. Additionally, a test-tube study showed that cumin reduced the resistance of some bacteria to antibiotics.
- It is anti-inflammatory: Various laboratory studies also suggest that cumin extracts have anti-inflammatory effects.
These are not the only ones benefits of consuming cumin frequently: several preliminary studies have also revealed that cumin can help with weight loss as part of a healthy diet.