Cumin: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the health benefits of cumin, a versatile spice rich in antioxidants, iron, and vitamins, used in various cuisines and known for aiding digestion, boosting immunity, and reducing inflammation.

What Is Cumin?

Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family.

Is Cumin Good For You?

Yes, cumin is absolutely good for you and has many health benefits.

9 Health Benefits Of Cumin

1. Cumin is rich in antioxidants. Cumin seeds contain many beneficial plant compounds: flavonoids, alkaloids, phenols which are antioxidants that help reduce damage on the body from free radicals

2. Cumin may help regulate digestion. The most common traditional use of cumin is for indigestion. Cumin is also a carminative, which means that it relieves the digestive system of gas. Cumin seeds contain a good amount of magnesium , which is known to promote digestion and give relief from stomach aches when taken with hot water.

3. Cumin may boost the immune system. Cumin is high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A, which are both antioxidants and help the immune system.

4. Cumin may protect against food-borne illness. Cumin has antimicrobial properties that may reduce the risk of food-borne infections.

5. Cumin is rich in iron. Our bodies use iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles.

6. Cumin may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. A study done with adults with type 2 diabetes looked at the effects of cumin essential oil on blood sugar levels. Study participants received either 100 milligrams (mg) of cumin oil per day, 50 mg of cumin oil per day, or a placebo. After 8 weeks, both cumin oil groups had significantly reduced blood sugar, insulin , and hemoglobin A1c levels: all markers of good diabetes management.

7. Cumin may Increase lactation. Cumin has been found to help mothers with lactation. It is suggested to drink ground cumin with warm milk for best results.

8. Cumin may help lower cholesterol levels. A study found that 75 mg of cumin taken twice daily for over 8 weeks helped reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and body weight in overweight research participants

9. Cumin may help reduce inflammation

History, Background About General Facts Cumin

  • Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family.
  • Originally cultivated in Iran and the Mediterranean region, cumin is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament and the New Testament .
  • Cumin is typically consumed whole or ground
  • Cumin can be found in some Dutch cheeses like Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France . It is also commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine.
  • It is used in spice blends: curry , chili powders, achiote blends, sofrito, adobos, garam masala, curry powder, baharat, and berbere.
  • The essential oil is used in perfumes and flavoring liqueurs, and there also are various medicinal values attached to cumin.
  • Superstition during the Middle Ages said that cumin kept chickens and lovers from wandering. It was also believed that a happy life awaited the bride and groom who carried cumin seed throughout the wedding ceremony.
  • Another name used for cumin is Roman caraway .
  • Cumin is also said to help in treatment of the common cold, when added to hot milk and consumed.

What Are The Cuisines That Regularly Include Cumin?

  • Ethiopian - berbere seasoning
  • Mexican - taco seasoning, nopales salad
  • Indian - jeero aloo (cumin potatoes), dal, jeera rice (cumin rice)
  • Greek - Soutzoukakia (Baked Greek Meatballs)
  • Middle Eastern - zhoug (spicy cilantro sauce)
  • Moroccan - couscous
  • American - chili
  • Egyptian - dukkah
  • Chinese - cumin lamb, xinjiang

What Is The Best Way To Store Cumin?

The best way to store cumin is in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight, such as a pantry.

What Are The Different Types Of Cumin?

There is generally just one types you will find in the grocery store: cumin (Cuminum cyminumL)

Toxicity and Side Effects Of Cumin

Cumin seeds and ground cumin are considered safe to consume. More research is needed before physicians recommend supplemental doses of cumin. In one 2013 study , some people experienced nausea, dizziness, and stomach pain after consuming cumin extract. People should tell their healthcare provider what they are taking. Many supplements may impact how certain prescription medications work.

What Is The Best Substitute For Cumin If I Don't Have Any?

If you don't have cumin available or need a substitute for it in a recipe, there are a few alternatives you can consider depending on the flavor profile you're trying to achieve. Here are some options:

  1. Ground Coriander: Coriander is derived from the same plant as cumin and shares some flavor notes, although it has a milder and slightly citrusy taste. Ground coriander can be used as a substitute for cumin, especially in recipes where you want a warm and earthy flavor. Start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste.

  2. Curry Powder: Curry powder is a blend of various spices, including cumin, coriander, turmeric, and others. Since cumin is one of the key ingredients in curry powder, using curry powder as a substitute can provide a similar flavor profile. However, keep in mind that curry powder contains other spices, so the taste may differ slightly.

  3. Caraway Seeds: Caraway seeds have a slightly different flavor profile than cumin, but they can be used as a substitute in certain recipes. Caraway seeds have a warm, slightly sweet, and anise-like taste. They work well in savory dishes, bread, and pickles.

  4. Chili Powder: Chili powder is a spice blend that typically includes cumin as one of its components. If you need a substitute for cumin in a recipe that requires a hint of heat and smokiness, chili powder can work well. However, be aware that chili powder may contain additional spices like paprika and cayenne, so the flavor may vary.

  5. Paprika: While paprika doesn't have the same earthy and nutty flavor as cumin, it can provide a hint of smokiness and a mild heat. Paprika can be used as a substitute in certain recipes, especially in dishes where the main role of cumin is to add color and a touch of warmth.

Nutritional Facts
1 tsp, whole
Amount per serving
0.9 g
0.5 g
0.4 g
Saturated Fat
0 g
3.5 mg
0.2 g
0 g