Cumin is not bad for you. It is a spice with several health benefits. People on diabetes medications, however, should be aware of possible interactions with cumin.
Native to Egypt and used extensively in Indian cuisine, cumin (not to be confused with curcumin) is full of antioxidants and other phytochemicals that can help keep you healthy. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin A help prevent damage caused by free radicals and are known to lower the risk of heart disease and cancers caused by oxidative stress. Furthermore, vitamin C is necessary for building collagen and a vital component in a fully functioning immune system, while vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy eyes. Another benefit to be gained from cumin is improved digestion. Cuminaldehyde, a compound found in the aroma that comes from cumin, stimulates the salivary glands and thymol activates glands that secrete the acids, bile, and enzymes needed to fully digest foods. These essential oils may also relieve stomach-ache if cumin is mixed with hot water.
Cumin is also a good source of iron, which has many important functions in the body such as red blood cell formation and transporting oxygen to the cells. Due to its supply of iron, cumin may be good for women who are menstruating, pregnant, or breastfeeding – however, more research needs to be done in this area and it would be best to consult a doctor first. Another reason to ask a doctor about cumin would be its possible effect on blood sugar. Cumin may act as a blood sugar lowering agent – which means that while it may be good for patients with diabetes, it could interact with diabetes medications to bring blood sugar to dangerously low levels, causing blurry vision, headaches, and fatigue which could lead to a loss of consciousness or seizure.
Magnesium is another seemingly do-it-all mineral, performing functions such as regulating blood pressure and aiding in the absorption of calcium. Furthermore, proper calcium absorption ensures that calcium does not get stored in soft tissue. Particular to black cumin, thymoquinone has been shown by studies to be potentially effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Aside from the warning regarding cumin’s potential ability to lower blood sugar levels, it is worth note that buying cumin from the store carries a risk of cross-contamination. Early in 2015, the FDA issued a warning concerning a recall of products with cumin, due to traces of peanuts – a deadly allergen for some people – being found in the cumin.
Possible short-term side effects
- allergic reaction (see peanut warning above)
- decreased blood sugar levels
- helps prevent diseases related to iron-deficiency
- promotes bone health
- promotes eye health
- decreases risk of heart disease
- fights free radicals
- aids digestion
- improves calcium absorption
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Written by Jeff Volling | 02-27-2016
Written by Jeff Volling
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