Cumin is a spice native to Egypt that has long been cultivated and enjoyed as a food and medicine in the Middle East, India, China and Mediterranean. It’s used in anything from chilli spices to curry. Cumin probably isn’t a spice that you use everyday, but it’s time that you do! This powerful seed can be used to treat indigestion, anemia, acid reflux, diabetes, constipation and so much more.
It’s also been discovered that cumin can even serve as a weight loss aid.
Cumin’s Weight Loss Experiment
As reported in a recent edition of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, researchers at Iran’s Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences followed a group of 88 overweight and obese women as they underwent a weight loss experiment (1).
The women were split up into two group: both would follow a reduced calorie diet and receive nutrition counseling but one group would eat yogurt with three grams of cumin daily while the other would eat plain yogurt.
In as little as three months, the cumin group lost an average of 50% more weight than the plain yogurt group. They also decreased their body fat percentage by 14.64% or almost three times the control group’s loss (2).
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 abilities may be due to the spice temporarily increasing metabolic rate. They even suggested that it could be a viable treatment for metabolic syndrome (1).
Lowers Blood Fats
Cumin also significantly reduced blood lipid levels. Triglycerides dropped 23 points compared to only five points in the control group. And LDL cholesterol dropped an average of 10 points compared to less than one point for the controls.
This suggest that cumin might help prevent atherosclerosis, heart disease and diabetes, conditions associated to high triglycerides levels (3). The researchers believe the cholesterol lowering effect of the spice can be partly attributed to its glycoside saponins (1). These compounds prevent cholesterol absorption and increase its excretion.
The compounds, also found in black cumin, have anti-coagulant, anticarcinogenic, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties (4).
Reduces Cholesterol Absorption
Additionally, Cumin contains a substantial amount of phytosterols that may positively modulate lipids by reducing cholesterol absorption (5).
Another study, published in Annuals of Nutrition and Metabolism found that taking cumin cyminum L. capsule among overweight subjects had the same effects of orlistat120 (6). Orlistat is a drug that acts as a gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor for obesity management and acts by inhibiting the absorption of dietary fats (7).
The spice also had similar effects as the drug on weight and BMI and even better effects on insulin metabolism. If you’re not too keen on eating cumin with yogurt, you can easily add it to roasted vegetables, use it to season chicken or even add a pinch to vegetable soup. You can also mix it with your eggs in the morning!
If you still don’t know where to start, try this cumin tea recipe:
Make a cup of warming and soothing cumin tea by boiling seeds in water and then letting them steep for 8-10 minutes.