Cumin is a spice made from the seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant. Cumin seeds are harvested by hand from an annual plant; they are small, boat-shaped and resemble caraway seeds. The most common variety of cumin is a brownish-yellow color, although you can also sometimes find black cumin, green cumin and white cumin.
Many dishes use cumin, especially foods from its native regions of the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia.
Cumin lends its distinctive flavor to chili, tamales and various Indian curries. Its flavor has been described as earthy, nutty, spicy and warm.
Not only is cumin used in traditional medicine, but it’s also known for its health benefits.
Modern studies have confirmed the health benefits of cumin. It’s an ideal spice for promoting digestion and for reducing food-borne infections.
Research has also revealed some new benefits, such as promoting weight loss and improving blood sugar control and cholesterol.
There are so many health benefits of cumin. Here are a few:
- Promotes digestion
- Is a rich source of iron
- Contains beneficial plant compounds
- Helps fight inflammation
- May help with diabetes
- May improve blood cholesterol
- May promote weight loss and fat reduction
- May prevent food-borne illnesses
- May help with drug dependence
You can get some of cumin’s benefits just by using small amounts to season food.
These quantities will provide antioxidants, iron and potential benefits for controlling blood sugar.
Other, more experimental benefits — such as weight loss and improved blood cholesterol — may require a higher dose, probably in supplement form.
Try this delicious Cumin Lime Vinaigrette on your salad or drizzled over roasted or grilled vegetables.
Cumin Lime Vinaigrette
- ½ cup sunflower oil
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tsp minced shallot
- ½ tsp toasted crushed cumin seeds
- ¾ tsp salt
- Add all ingredients to an airtight bottle or jar and shake until well combined! Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
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