Cumin has been present in people’s diets for a very long time and has made its way around the world.
The spice is mentioned in the Bible and some records show that it was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for seasoning. Although it may be more associated with Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, cumin was also frequently used in Europe. It was a cheaper alternative to black pepper.
Cumin was introduced in the American continents during the Spanish and Portuguese colonization of that part of the world. Today the spice is very much a part of Mexican and Brazilian cooking.
Along with the other spices and herbs in the top section of the Superhuman Food Pyramid, cumin offers a lot of therapeutic benefits while raising the mouth-watering factor of some of your dishes.
Let’s take a look at how cumin can help us achieve Superhuman health…
A lot of other spices and herbs can aid digestion and cumin is no different. Modern scientific research has demonstrated and proven this positive effect of the spice. It was found out how cumin stimulates the pancreas to produce important enzymes that help the absorption of nutrients during digestion.
In the previous post about curry, of which cumin is a major ingredient, it was mentioned that the spice can be an effective treatment against fungal infections. The study used cumin essential oil. Extracts of other spices like nutmeg, cardamom and coriander were also included for comparison. The results showed cumin to have the most fungicidal activity even against resistant types like Aspergillus flavus. Other research has also looked into the antiseptic qualities of the spice.
The antioxidant quality of cumin also contributes to cancer prevention. Component substances of the spice that are absorbed into our system are able to capture free radicals – compounds which result from oxidation processes in our body. When these compounds are in excess they can lead to cell damage which can then eventually cause diseases like cancer.
Cumin is a good source of magnesium, calcium, manganese and iron. This last one is particularly abundant in the spice and can be said to be its top nutritional benefit. Iron is one of those minerals that play a lot of important roles in our body. A few of its functions are: it’s a major component of hemoglobin, it boosts our immune system, and it helps the overall physical growth of children and adolescents.
Cumin Practical Uses:
Whole cumin seeds or ground cumin are the most commonly available forms of the spice. Fortunately both are usable for medicinal and culinary purposes.
The whole seeds last longer in storage. One can then simply use a coffee grinder and turn it into powder as needed. For cooking, the usual practice is to first dry roast or stir fry the seeds in a low to moderately heated pan before grinding or directly mixing it in the dish. This will bring out some of the oil and more of the aroma.
A teaspoon of cumin seeds in a cup of boiling water will make a good after meal tea that can alleviate stomach problems like diarrhea, indigestion or even morning sickness. Let the seeds steep in the hot water for around 20 minutes before drinking it. Since cumin is an antiseptic, this kind of tea may also help against sore throat and coughs. Don’t forget to add a slice of ginger for its soothing effect.
You can further take advantage of the spice’s cleansing ability through topical application. A bit of the essential oil extract can be wiped directly on the affected area. Powdered cumin can work just as well after it’s been turned into a paste by mixing it in some water.
Pregnant women usually take some vitamin and mineral supplements for the healthy development of the baby. A teaspoon of powdered cumin mixed in a glass of warm milk can be a good natural alternative to meet the increased nutritional demands of pregnancy.
In the next post, I’ll tell you how you can use fennel in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the herbs, spices and sweeteners on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to use cumin, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on how to use cumin.