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You may not know much about cumin, but chances are you’ve tasted it, and have probably even wondered what made the dish so delicious. Cumin is a powerful herb both in taste and in healing properties. Discover the hidden health benefits of cumin and how this underappreciated herb can spice up your life.

Cumin has been used in food preparation for some 5,000 years, and has long been valued in India’s Ayurvedic healing modality. Today, cumin is a prominent component in Mexican, Mediterranean, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines, and it’s worth adding it to your dishes, as its health benefits are many.

Cumin contains vitamins A, C, E, K, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. It is packed with antioxidants and is particularly helpful for diabetic patients. In one study, diabetic rats were able to prevent cataracts after an oral dose of cumin powder. In another study, cumin proved to be more effective at reducing blood glucose and AGE production than the anti-diabetic drug glibenclamide. Cumin also reduces total cholesterol levels as well as prevents excessive weight loss among diabetic patients, again outperforming glibenclamide.

Cumin also exhibits the ability to protect the liver from toxins, fight osteoporosis, and wean addicts off opiates. Cumin has commonly been used to treat digestive disorders, such as flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, morning sickness, and dyspepsia. Cumin is also a great tool for boosting immunity and it has been shown to treat cancer, HIV, and tumors. In 1987, a study conducted inFlorida gave volunteers either one gram of black cumin or a placebo twice per day. After four weeks, those who had taken the cumin experience an improvement in their immune system by 72 percent.

It’s not hard to incorporate cumin into your everyday diet. It’s a delicious and powerful spice. I enjoy it best mixed into salsa, guacamole, and soup or sprinkled atop a fresh salad or cooked vegetables.

Photo Credit: Gusjer