You Need A Little Bit Of Cumin For A Good Life

Discover the many benefits of this earthy and aromatic spice in four quick points

Mohini Mehrotra Updated: Aug 10, 2020 13:15:10 IST
You Need A Little Bit Of Cumin For A Good Life Photo: Shutterstock

Whether added whole to hot oil to temper a dal and a curry or toasted and ground to a fine powder to flavour a raita, cumin (jeera) is one of the most versatile and important spices in Indian cooking. It lends a wonderfully intense flavour to foods while also offering a host of health benefits too. Here’s a quick look at this spice

1. Cumin is the dried seed of a herb called Cuminum cyminum—a member of the parsley family. This ancient spice is said to have been grown initially in the Mediterranean region, namely Egypt, but is today primarily cultivated in India, China, Mexico and the Middle East.

An important part of Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, cumin seeds are slightly bitter in taste and lend a warm, earthy flavour to foods, while also bringing out the inherent sweetness of a dish. A crucial part of popular Indian masalas and curry powders, such as garam masala, chaat masala, tandoori masala and more, this is one spice you can’t do without in your kitchen.

2. Widely used in Ayurveda as a traditional medicine to treat a variety of diseases, cumin is known for its potent healing and antibacterial properties. Whether eaten raw, lightly roasted or in powdered form, cumin is said to help balance all three doshas—kapha, vata and pitta—and naturally detoxify the body. It also aids digestion and relieves bloating and is especially good for people who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

3. There’s ample “evidence for the biological and biomedical activities of cumin, which have generally been ascribed to its content and action of its active constituents, such as terpens, phenols, and flavonoids,” states one study published in the journal, Chemistry & Biodiversity. These naturally occurring antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, thereby reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. This in turn lowers a person’s risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart ailments. The antioxidants and essential oils in it also work together to help reduce mental stress and improve sleep quality.

4. Offering a generous dose of health-boosting vitamins and minerals such as fibre, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, B, C, E and K in addition to potassium, zinc, phosphorus and other nutraceuticals such as cuminaldehyde and thymol, this spice should be a part of your diet.

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