Although they look tiny, cumin seeds pack a punch when it comes to flavor and nutritional benefits. Extensively used in Indian, Asian, African, and Latin American culinary practices, cumin has a very distinct nutty and peppery flavor.
Scientifically known as Cuminum Cyminum, the small oblong spice belongs to the Apiaceae flower family and is native from the east Mediterranean to South Asia.
This dried seed has been used for millennia as a traditional ingredient in numerous ingredients, and to form the basis of many other spice blends. Its distinctive taste and aroma can be used ground or as whole seeds.
For such a small seed, cumin seed benefits are long and varied and can help with a wide range of health problems. It is no wonder this bold seed has been used for generations, as the health benefits of cumin seeds make it one of the top spices to add into your daily diet.
Serving Size 6g
|Amount per Serving
|% Daily Value
|Total Fat 1g
|Saturated Fat 0g
|Total Carbohydrate 3g
|Dietary Fiber 1g
When it comes to health benefits, cumin is nothing short of extraordinary. High in iron, this wonder seed is good for those suffering from an iron deficiency.
Cumin seed nutritional values also include having a good source of manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B1.
They are very low in cholesterol, and are a very good source of dietary fiber, thiamin, potassium, and copper.
12 Ways Cumin Seeds Benefit Your Health
1. Cancer Prevention
Studies have shown cumin to hold detoxifying and chemopreventive properties that accelerate the secretion of detoxifying enzymes from glands. In one study, cumin was shown to protect laboratory animals from developing stomach or liver tumors.
The cancer-protective effect could be due to the cumin seed’s health benefits of free radical hunting abilities along with its ability to enhance the liver’s detoxification enzymes.
Cumin is very rich in iron which is what makes this small seed a wonder solution for anemia.
Iron is the main constitute of hemoglobin in the red blood corpuscles of blood. Hemoglobin transfers oxygen to the body’s cells and when those cells are deficient, anemia occurs.
Cumin seeds nutritional benefits can be added to a daily diet for anemic people and for those looking to avoid the symptoms of anemia-like fatigue, cognitive malfunction, digestive issues, and anxiety.
As cumin is rich in iron, it’s very good for lactating mothers as well as for women who are pregnant since they are more in need of iron than others.
Cumin seeds can also help increase secretion of milk in lactating women due to the presence of thymol. Thymol tends to increase secretions from our glands, including milk—a secretion from the mammary glands.
Cumin also has a remarkable amount of calcium which is an important constitute of milk, and therefore, is very good for lactating mothers.
4. Respiratory Disorders
Those suffering from respiratory disorders such as asthma and bronchitis, can greatly benefit from cumin due to the presence of caffeine (a stimulating agent), and from the aromatic essential oils and disinfectants.
It acts as an expectorant, meaning that it loosens up the accumulated phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tracts, and makes it easier to eliminate them from the system by coughing up and spitting.
By eliminating as much mucus as possible, the health benefits of cumin seeds can help heal the initial condition.
5. Skin Disorders
Vitamin E is essential for the maintenance of good skin and the prevention of premature aging symptoms. The abundance of vitamin E in cumin seeds makes the spice a powerhouse in anti-aging.
It keeps the skin young and glowing, and the essential oils present in cumin have disinfectant and antifungal properties, which prevents any microbial and fungal infection from affecting the skin.
Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant to combat the free radicals that attack the skin and result in signs of premature aging like wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin.
Cumin seed health benefits include being extremely helpful for digestion-related issues. The aroma of cumin comes from an aromatic organic compound called Cuminaldehyde, which is the main component of its essential oil.
This aroma activates our salivary gland in our mouth which facilitates the primary digestion of food. Thymol, a compound in cumin, stimulates the glands that secrete bile, acids, and enzymes that are responsible for the digestion of food in the stomach and intestines.
The essential oils, magnesium, and sodium in cumin promotes digestion and gives relief in stomach aches when taken with hot water.
With its large amounts of vitamins C and A, iron, and essential oils, cumin seed nutrition offers an immunity booster in a variety of ways. As one of the most powerful antioxidants that we have in our body, vitamin C stimulates the activity and function of white blood cells.
It fights the effects of free radicals that lead to many diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Constipation and infections in the anal tract are two main causes of hemorrhoids with can be helped with cumin seeds. Because of its dietary fiber content, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, cumin acts as a natural laxative when taken in powdered form.
Cumin also helps in healing infections and wounds in the digestive and excretory system, and in speeding up digestion—both of which help towards healing hemorrhoids.
9. Weight Loss
Cumin not only makes metabolism work more quickly, but it also cuts down on cravings. Increased oxygenation increases efficiency and speeds up metabolism.
In a study done by Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Iran, women who incorporated cumin in their diet while leading a healthy lifestyle decreased their body fat percentage by 14.64%, while those who just lead a healthier lifestyle only decreased theirs by 4.91%
Although cumin is known to be somewhat of a stimulant with the presence of caffeine, it’s also a relaxant at the same time. Just as causes of insomnia cannot be attributed to a single cause, the relaxing effect of cumin also cannot be attributed to a single component.
Studies show that taking proper vitamins and having good digestion help to ensure a good night’s sleep. Some of the components of cumin essential oil are hypnotic and have a tranquilizing effect, which also helps to relieve stress and anxiety that commonly cause insomnia.
With the high amount of iron in cumin, it increases blood flow which means blood circulation is in optimal condition.
When blood circulation is working correctly, oxygen is able to reach the organs and the brain, leading to optimal performance of those bodily systems.
Proper amounts of oxygen and iron in the brain leads to increased cognitive performance, and decreases the onset of disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
12. Common Cold
When our immune system becomes weakened or vulnerable, we become susceptible to a common cold. The essential oil in cumin acts as a disinfectant and helps fight any viral infections.
Cumin also suppresses the development of coughing in the respiratory system since it dries up excess mucus. It further boosts the immune system with its considerable amount of vitamin C, which is an anti-oxidant, and defends against other infections and toxins.
How to Select Cumin Seeds?
Available in any local grocery store, cumin seeds are easy to find in the dried herb section.
However, it’s advised to explore local spice or ethnic stores, as their selection of dried herbs and spices can be of superior quality and freshness compared to those offered in regular markets.
As with other dried spices, try to select organic dried cumin for optimum health benefits.
Whenever possible, buy whole cumin seeds instead of cumin powder since it can lose it flavor more quickly. The seeds can be easily ground with a mortar and pestle.
Cumin seeds should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark, and dry place. Ground and powdered cumin should be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container.
Ground cumin will keep for six months, and whole seeds stay fresh for approximately one year.
Incorporating Cumin Seeds in Your Daily Diet
Cooking with cumin is relatively simple, and the small seed can add a burst of flavor to any recipe. To bring out the fullness of their aroma and flavor, lightly roast whole cumin seeds before using them in a recipe.
Cumin can be used in such a diverse way, we have chosen two recipes to help to incorporate the spice into your daily diet to get the best cumin seed benefits.
Curried Cumin Potatoes
- 2 pounds of potatoes, cut into ¼ inch thick pieces
- 2 tbsp cumin seed
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
Place whole potatoes in a pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook until just tender. Drain and cut potatoes into quarters. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the turmeric, curry and, cumin for one minute. Add the potatoes and sauté until toasted. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bay leaf
- Vegetable oil
- 1 tsp chopped cilantro
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
- 7 corn tortillas
- 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
- 1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 1 can (15 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
- 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chili peppers
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
Place chicken, enchilada sauce, tomatoes, onion, green chilies, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth and water, and season with cumin, chili powder, pepper, salt, and bay leaf.
Stir in cilantro and corn. Cover with lid, and cook on low setting for six to eight hours or on high setting for three to four hours.
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with vegetable oil. Cut tortilla into strips, and spread on a baking sheet.
Bake in oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, dish chicken and sauce in to bowl and sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.
A powerful little seed, cumin truly does pack a punch when it comes to nutritional benefits. Flavorful and aromatic, the spice is a favorite among many. With all the added health benefits, cumin should be an essential part of a daily diet.
Why not try one of the recipes today, and get started towards better health with cumin!
“Cumin Seeds,” The World’s Healthiest Foods web site, last accessed January 24, 2017; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=91
“Spices, Cumin Seed Nutrition Facts & Calories,” SELF Nutrition Data web site, January 24, 2017; http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/184/2
“Health Benefits of Cumin,” Organic Facts web site, last accessed January 25, 2017; https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/health-benefits-of-cumin.html