Cumin: benefits and what is this seasoning for

Cumin is an old acquaintance in Brazilian cuisine, as it is present in the preparation of various dishes such as beans, meat and sauces. But even though it is popular on Brazilian tables, the origin of this seasoning is geographically far from the Tupiniquins Lands.

Native to the Mediterranean region, Cuminum cyminum L. (cumin) belongs to the Apiaceae family. Much of its production originates in India, a country where this seasoning plays a leading role in food preparation. (1)

But what few people know is that cumin goes beyond the line of a simple seasoning. In addition to its unique flavor and aroma, this spice is also rich in medicinal properties that contribute benefits to the human body.

Therefore, in this article, you will find the rarely mentioned features of cumin. You will also find out if this seasoning makes you fat or slim. In addition to knowing what this spice is for, recipes and characteristics.

Benefits of cumin

First of all, it is important to mention the medicinal effects of cumin. According to studies and scientific research, this seasoning has nutraceutical properties. (1) For those who don’t know, this word is the combination of “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”.

Therefore, this means to say that the food in question provides medical or health benefits, contributing to the prevention and treatment of diseases. (2) In general, this seasoning has anti-inflammatory , diuretic and antispasmodic action. (3)

In addition, the spice contains in its composition “volatile oils, acids, essential oils, proteins and other elements.” They also have numerous phytochemicals, substances known to have antioxidant, carminative and antiflatulent properties. (3)

Below you can follow more details about the benefits proven by science! Check out:


Cumin is considered a stimulant of the digestive system, as it helps in the production of secretion of enzymes from the pancreas that help absorb nutrients from food.

With this, it helps to prevent the onset of digestive disorders, such as gas and stomach pain. (3)

Rich in Vitamin E

Another great benefit of cumin that few people imagine is its role in combating skin problems. As this spice is rich in vitamin E, it is able to keep the skin young and glowing.

In parallel to this nutrient, the spice also has disinfectant and antifungal properties. For this reason, constant consumption of this natural product can prevent microbial and fungal skin infections. (3)

Analgesic and anti-inflammatory

These combined benefits result in a better quality of life for people. That’s because, while cumin helps to minimize inflammation, it also helps reduce pain . (4)

rich in iron

According to studies, this spice is rich in iron . For example, every 100 grams of cumin contains 66 mg of this nutrient. This means that the spice in question has five times the daily iron requirement of an adult.

Therefore, cumin is ideal for all people, including children, teenagers, pregnant women, nursing mothers and women who are menstruating. In addition to being highly beneficial for those with anemia.

All this because iron is essential for the body to carry out vital functions such as oxygen transport, maintenance of the immune system and energy production and metabolism.

In addition to iron, the spice contains thymol and calcium. This first substance is important to increase the secretions of the glands, increasing the production of milk in the mammary glands.

Calcium is a powerful component in the production of breast milk . (3)


Studies show that the antimicrobial activity of cumin is capable of eliminating several microorganisms, such as Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger, the Gram positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus epidermidis, as well as yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and E. coli. (4)

Therefore, this spice can help fight oral infection in humans, skin problems and gastrointestinal disorders.


Tests carried out on diabetic rats proved the antidiabetic effect of cumin. The use of this element for six weeks resulted in “a significant reduction in blood glucose and an increase in total hemoglobin and glycosylated hemoglobin.” (3,4)

Thus, new studies are being developed in search of more answers for this cumin benefit. But this time, with a focus on humans.


Another effect that has been studied by researchers is the antihypertensive. In laboratory tests, cumin has been shown to be beneficial in fighting high blood pressure . (4)

Does cumin get thin or fat?

Faced with so many medicinal benefits and properties, the question remains: does cumin make you thin or fat? The truth is that this seed has shown a potent slimming effect, proven in a clinical trial with 72 overweight individuals.

To reach this conclusion, researchers divided the participants, aged between 18 and 50 years, into three groups. The first one (group A) received a high dose of Cumin cyminum L. and lime capsules (75 mg).

Group B received a low dose of Cumin cyminum L. and lime capsules (25 mg). Finally, group C, which received doses twice a day for two months.

“After eight weeks of intervention, compared to low doses of  C. cyminum  L. and lime and placebo, taking high doses of  C. cyminum L. and lime resulted in significant weight loss,” the study explains. (5)

But in addition to resulting in weight loss, cumin was also beneficial in reducing triglycerides, total cholesterol and, especially, LDL (bad cholesterol). (5)

What is cumin for?

Cumin is used as a spice in different cultures around the world. For example, it is an essential component of Mexican food and much explored by Indian cuisine. (6)

In Brazil, the role of this spice also influences our flavors. According to gastrologist Rozano José de Jesus, cumin can be used in the preparation of beans, meat and even salads.

Therefore, we asked the chef for two recipes with this seasoning. Follow below the ingredients and how to prepare each one of them!

How to make cumin beans?


  • 1 cup (of coffee) with carioca beans
  • 6 cups (of coffee) with water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 chopped medium onion
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves.

Preparation mode

The first step is to soak the beans for 8 hours before cooking. Then place the beans in the pressure cooker with the six cups of water, bay leaf and salt.

Cover the pan and cook for 25 minutes from the start of pressure. Afterwards, reserve the result and move on to the other steps.

In another pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat and saute a medium onion and two chopped garlic cloves.

Then add all the cooked carioca beans and the other ingredients. Cook for up to 10 minutes or until the broth thickens.

According to Rozano, this recipe yields up to four servings. And it can be accompanied by loose white rice, forming the classic double of Brazilian cuisine.

cumin in chicken


  • 1 kg of chicken (thigh and drumstick)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 shallow teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tablespoon of saffron
  • Black pepper to taste
  • cilantro to taste

Preparation mode

First cut the thighs and thighs into medium pieces. Then chop the garlic, onion and cilantro. Then mix all the ingredients and place the chicken in the oven at 180ºC.

Leave the main dish in the oven for 50 minutes and after that time your recipe will be ready to be served.

Also according to the gastrologist, this recipe serves four people well. In addition, it can be accompanied by a salad and dressing.

A tip from Rozano is to enjoy chard, mango and kale in the salad. “If you want to highlight the sauce [for the salad], you can use passion fruit, with black pepper and choose whether to use sugarcane honey or bee honey. Then just mix it all up.”

Finally, the expert points out that cumin can also be used in salads to give a special touch to the dish.

Characteristics of this seasoning

If you still don’t know cumin, you need to pay attention to some details of this seasoning. Here you will discover the forms available to buy, the flavor and origin of this spice. Check out!

In grain or powder?

Cumin can be found in both powder and grains and the color is always greenish-brown. In culinary preparations, it is more common to use the ground type.


With regard to flavor, it is possible to say that cumin has its own taste. But offer the dishes a warm and bitter taste.

What is the origin of cumin?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, cumin originates from the Mediterranean region and Egypt. (6)

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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