A-Z Of Spices – Cumin
My journey into the “A-Z of spices, herbs, its flavours and health benefits”, has been phenomenal thus far – I am enjoying researching the different herbs, spices, its flavours and health benefits. It has been nostalgic as well – I am remembering my granny saying you must use this, you must eat this with that and etc. however she never explained anything – she just knew “do this and do that – then eat this and eat that, add this and that to your cooking”, now it all makes sense and at the time I never realised the “treasure trove” of health benefits she carried with her – wish he was around so I could pick her brains and share my knowledge with her.
My April spice of the month is “Jeera” or cumin, and I have learnt so much in the research process and jeera has been one of my all-time favourite spice and an essential in my spice tin (masala dabba) – I love the warmth it brings to any dish and many times when preparing a light veggie curry all you need is the one magic spice – lightly roasted and crushed cumin – it adds so much depth of flavour and enhances the dish to another level.
This amazing spice has now made its way to being an essential in the medicine cupboard and an essential to all of us who have those extra kilos we want to and need to loose – go ahead stock up on some essential jeera seeds
Benefits Of Consuming Cumin
In the language of Sanskrit – it is Jeera and in the Bible it is Cumin – jeera/cumin – any which name you prefer – its origin began in India and eventually spread over many cultures, countries and cuisines, the world over. Jeera – has a history that covers, food, culture, health and folklore – during the Middle Ages in Europe – jeera became known as a “symbol of love” – it was often carried to weddings to distribute amongst guests and spread “love”.
When it comes to cooking – jeera is known for its potent and warm flavouring – and is best used – dry roasted and pounded in a pestle and mortar to realise its amazing fragrance and flavour. I myself have found that adding a tiny bit of this amazing warming spice brings out so much flavour in soups, warming Indian curries and hearty Italian Chili – my spice draw is never without a small bottle of freshly roasted and pounded jeera – my “go to spice”.
Besides being an essential spice drawer spice – it has made its mark in the world of health and wellness and now an essential in the home remedy drawer as well. Jeeras medical uses over centuries – is now backed up by scientific research – what a bonus.
Powerful Health Benefits of Jeera/Cumin
- Jeera – is known for its essential oil which is provides a stronger dose of the seeds for many health benefits
- The most common traditional use of jeera – is for digestive health – IBS and etc.
- Can assist in weight loss
- Can help with diabetes
- Good source of iron
- Can also improve blood cholesterol
- Can also help with drug dependence
- And I am sure there are numerous other benefits as well
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) a common problem affecting many of us worldwide – some of its symptoms are bloating, stomach aches and irregular bowel habits – and this is a big challenge when it comes to ones day to day lives. There are many probable causes of IBS – but there has been positive results treating IBS and other digestive related issues with Jeera – so that is a bonus. While jeera enhances the flavour of many dishes – it also enhances your bodies overall digestion process. A study of some patients with IBS was carried out – patients were given 20 drops of jeera essential oil and monitored for various IBS symptoms – the results showed a significant decrease in symptoms – with the regular use of jeera essential oil – at a 2week and 4 week interval. The results indicated that jeera is a good added remedy for other digestive issues – including indigestion and flatulence
Weight Loss – we all know how many weight loss formulas/methods/diets/tips and etc. that are available and tell us to cut calories, cut carbs, cut fat, eat clean, exercise and etc. some of them are easy to follow and add to your day to day lives and some are not as easy. Weight loss is not easy for so many reasons, medical and mental health, emotional issues, will power and the list goes on, however it is not impossible and sometimes it is important to control ones weight to simply aid in one’s health conditions – which we all know can improve if we lose the weight we need to. A healthy balanced “lifestyle”, can be a huge “plus factor”, in assisting and maintaining weight loss on a long term basis. Jeera the “magic spice seed” comes to the rescue by assisting with weight loss. A three month study was conducted amongst overweight/obese people that were divided into 2 groups – 1 group was given 5ml of crushed jeera mixed with about 50ml plain yoghurt and the other group was given just the 50ml plain yoghurt – the study ended with many positive results for the group on the jeera and yoghurt mixture- weight loss, body mass index reduction, wait circumference reduction and reduced percentage of body fat mass – that is a huge, and an excellent benefit of the spice draw staple – Jeera
Diabetes/Blood Sugar – managing blood sugar levels is becoming a common factor in the health and wellness industry. The highs and lows in one’s blood sugar level, has been the cause of many common health issues and as such we need to look at natural ways to ensure our blood sugar levels stay stable – one of the ways is to ensure that we have a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates at each meal. Food quality, glycaemic index, consumption of super foods and the speed at which your food is turned into sugar in your blood are important factors that lend a special hand in maintaining good blood sugar levels. Super seed – Jeera supports healthy blood sugar levels and can be used to assist in the prevention type 2 diabetes – studies have shown taking jeera essential oil in capsule form is the way to go.
Iron Deficiency Anaemia – we have all heard of the common term “Anaemia”, however we all don’t understand the risks it can pose to our health and wellbeing. Iron Deficiency Anaemia – is when we do not have enough iron flowing in our blood stream and it eventually leads to weakness and shortness of breath. The major causes of anaemia are – a diet low in iron, low haemoglobin count, inflammation, loss of blood and issues with your body absorbing iron. Many options for treating iron deficiency anaemia are available and one such option is a diet in iron rich foods. Jeera is naturally rich in iron and is sure to increase the iron in your body if taken regularly. 5ml of ground cumin contains about 1.3 mg of iron – thus using jeera as a supplementary source of iron in your cooking – will increase your consumption of iron that your body needs.
High Blood Cholesterol – is a huge factor for heart diseases and even a heart attack – and managing your cholesterol levels is an important aspect health. Adding a little jeera to your regular diet helps and supports the management of cholesterol levels
Respiratory Support – shortness of breath, coughing, croup, asthma and all other lung related issues are becoming common issues all over the world – and there are many reasons for this – like stress, inflammation, allergies, smoking airborne toxicity and viruses – we should supplement our medications with some natural remedies. Adding jeera to ones diet – is a natural and effective way to support respiratory issues. Jeeras anti-inflammatory properties aid in curbing inflammation – and respiratory illness is mostly caused by inflammation within the lungs and bronchi. The antiviral and antibacterial properties of jeera aid in keeping you healthy during the cold and flu seasons, if you have a (bacterial or viral) cough – remember to include a nourishing recipe infused with jeera to your daily dose of vitamin C. Using jeera extract as a natural remedy – is also useful in managing chronic respiratory issues
Cancer Prevention – cancer – one of the most daunting threats in the world today (this was before Covet 19) and with not many signs of any reprieve for us. Many ancient spices have been used over the ages and now once again they are being given a new lease on life as valuable medicinal ingredients to aid in recovery. This amazing treasure of spices offer unique and valuable aid in dealing with today’s innumerable health issues. The spices pack up high levels of antioxidants that have the ability to create a significant impact on a number of cellular systems and jeera has shown promise in aiding us to protect ourselves from the dreaded cancer.
A study conducted – looked at the active ingredients in jeera that are: – essential oils, proteins, alkaloids and saponins rich in antioxidant thymoquine – the study concluded that jeera has strong anti-carcinogenic and mutagenic properties. When it comes to assisting cancer prevention or aiding treatment and recovery – Jeera is an all-important spice to add to your daily diet
Jeera is the super duper spice you need to enhance the flavour of you meals, and it is the super duper health and vitality enhancer that you need to get the varied mechanisms of your body in good working order. Inflammation, body composition, diabetes prevention and control, respiratory support, cancer prevention and control – Jeera is your go to nutrient for natural healthy well being
The above pictures are courtesy of the internet The above information is just a guide line for natural health benefits, and in no ways asks you to give up you conventional medications
Here is a simple vegetarian dish flavoured with just one spice – Jeera
Green Beans & Potatoes
3-4 curry leaves
1-2 green chilli
10ml cumin (toasted & slightly crushed)
350ml boiled & chopped potatoes
250ml chopped green beans
5ml lemon juice
- Heat oil in a large pan or wok, add the green chilli and curry leaves, cumin and stir for a few seconds, before lowering the heat
- Add the potatoes and toss well – cook till tender before adding beans and allow this to cook on medium/low heat for about 10min
- Remove from heat season with salt and lemon juice
- Serve with roti or as a side salad for a braai – tastes good hot or cold