Cumin seeds nutrition facts
One of the special spice known for their distinctive aroma, cumin seeds are popular in North African, Middle Eastern, Western Chinese, Indian, Cuban and Northern Mexican cuisines. The spice is native to middle-east Asian region, and now grown all over the world for its flavorful seeds.
The plant is the small flowering herbaceous plant belonging to the family of apiaceae of the genus of; Cuminum, and scientifically known as Cuminum cyminum.
The cumin plant flourishes well in sandy, fertile soil along with hot summer weather conditions. It bears small, gray-yellow colored, oblong shaped seeds with vertical ridges on its outer surface and single centrally placed seed that closely resemble caraway seeds in appearance.
Distinctive flavor and strong, warm aroma of cumin's is due to its essential oils. The main constituent and important aroma compound is cuminaldehyde (4-isopropylbenzaldehyde).
Health benefits of cumin seeds
Cumin seeds contain numerous phyto-chemicals that are known to have antioxidant, carminative and anti-flatulent properties. The seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Its seeds contain many health benefiting essential oils such as cuminaldehyde (4-isopropylbenzaldehyde), pyrazines, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butylpyrazine, 2-ethoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine, and 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine.
The active principles in the cumin may increase the motility of the gastro-intestinal tract as well as increase the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions.
This spice is an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the powerful anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
It also contains very good amounts of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, and other vital anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin C.
The seeds are also rich source of many flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, zeaxanthin, and lutein.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Vitamin A||1270 IU||42%|
|Vitamin E||3.3 mg||22%|
|Vitamin K||5.4 mcg||4.5%|
Selection and storage
Cumin spice is available year around in the markets both in the form of seeds and in the powdered form. Good quality cumin release peppery flavor when squeezed between index and thumb fingers. In the store, buy whole seeds instead of powder since, oftentimes it may contain adulterated spicy powders.
The seeds can be stored in cool, dry, dark place, in airtight containers for many months and can be milled using hand mill as and when required. Ground and powdered cumin should be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers and should be used as early as possible since it loses its flavor quickly.
Its seeds are used to prepare decoction, which is sometimes used in treating flatulence and indigestion in traditional medicine.
The seeds are used in traditional medicines to stave off common cold.
In order to keep the fragrance and flavor intact, cumin is generally grounded just before preparing dishes or whole seeds are lightly roasted before using them in a recipe.
It is widely used as a spice and principally employed in cooking as a condiment and flavoring base.
Its seeds have been in use since ancient times in the preparation of many popular dishes in Mediterranean, Asian and Chinese cuisines. Along with other spicy items, it is being used as flavoring agent in chicken, fish, and meat dishes.
Some Indian vegetarian (jeera daal, aaloo-jeera), and chicken curries and rice dishes (biriyani, pulao) contain small amounts and in the Middle East, it is used in meat and rice dishes.
The seeds are also been used in the preparation of soups, barbecue sauces, pickling and as one of the ingredients in variety of curry powders.
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