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Cumin nutrition, diets and full health analysis

Spices, cumin seed
*all the values are displayed for the amount of 100 grams
Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan by Victoria Mazmanyan | Last updated on December 08, 2021
Education: General Medicine at YSMU


For centuries, cumin seeds have been used in various cuisines and cultures all over the world, not only as a seasoning but also as a therapeutic agent.

In this article, we will talk about the nutrition and health benefits of cumin, based on scientific evidence, as well as discussing what diets it fits in, its consumption and production, and other interesting aspects.


Cumin is the dried seed of the herb named Cuminum cyminum, which is commonly used as a spice in different cuisines. Cumin is also known by its alternative names jeera or zeera. Cumin cyminum is a flowering plant belonging to the Apiaceae family, also known as the parsley family, that includes celery, carrots, anise, dill, and other edible plants.

Ground and Whole Cumin

Both ground and whole seed cumin are used in the kitchen. Ground cumin is produced by grinding dry-roasted seeds of the plant.

Cumin seeds retain their taste for a longer period of time, as opposed to ground cumin. However, ground cumin changes the taste of the dish it is added to immediately.


Adding cumin to a dish can slightly alter its nutritional value.

Macronutrients and Calories

The predominant macronutrients in cumin are carbohydrates, making up 44 percent. These carbohydrates consist primarily of dietary fiber with only a small amount of sugars.

One average serving size of cumin contains only 0.22g of carbs, of which 0.05g is made up of fiber, and 0.17g are net carbs.

The next macronutrients by content are fats. 22% of cumin consists of fats. However, most of that fat comprises monounsaturated fatty acids, followed by polyunsaturated fatty acids, leaving unsaturated fatty acids in the last place.

And lastly, proteins make up for 18% of cumin’s composition.

Macronutrients chart

17% 22% 44% 9% 8%
Daily Value: 36%
17.81 g of 50 g
Daily Value: 34%
22.27 g of 65 g
Daily Value: 15%
44.24 g of 300 g
Daily Value: 0%
8.06 g of 2,000 g
7.62 g

Calories in Cumin

A 100g of cumin contains 375 calories. However, as a spice, cumin is never consumed in such large amounts. The average amount of cumin used in one serving size of a dish contains around merely 2 calories. Therefore cumin does not substantially change the caloric content of a dish.


Adding cumin to dishes can be a good source of supplementary vitamins.

Cumin is very rich in vitamin B1 and vitamin A. It also contains high amounts of vitamin B2, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Cumin has moderate levels of vitamin B3, vitamin E, vitamin K, and folate (vitamin B9).

This spice completely lacks vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Vitamin coverage chart

Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 77% 67% 0% 26% 157% 76% 86% 0% 101% 8% 0% 14%
Vitamin A: 1270 IU of 5,000 IU 25%
Vitamin E : 3.33 mg of 15 mg 22%
Vitamin D: 0 µg of 10 µg 0%
Vitamin C: 7.7 mg of 90 mg 9%
Vitamin B1: 0.628 mg of 1 mg 52%
Vitamin B2: 0.327 mg of 1 mg 25%
Vitamin B3: 4.579 mg of 16 mg 29%
Vitamin B5: 0 mg of 5 mg 0%
Vitamin B6: 0.435 mg of 1 mg 33%
Folate: 10 µg of 400 µg 3%
Vitamin B12: 0 µg of 2 µg 0%
Vitamin K: 5.4 µg of 120 µg 5%


Cumin is very high in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. It also contains moderate amounts of zinc, manganese, selenium, and choline.

Cumin is relatively high in sodium.

Mineral coverage chart

Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium Choline 280% 2489% 262% 214% 158% 22% 131% 289% 435% 29% 14%
Calcium: 931 mg of 1,000 mg 93%
Iron: 66.36 mg of 8 mg 830%
Magnesium: 366 mg of 420 mg 87%
Phosphorus: 499 mg of 700 mg 71%
Potassium: 1788 mg of 3,400 mg 53%
Sodium: 168 mg of 2,300 mg 7%
Zinc: 4.8 mg of 11 mg 44%
Copper: 0.867 mg of 1 mg 96%
Manganese: 3.333 mg of 2 mg 145%
Selenium: 5.2 µg of 55 µg 9%
Choline: 24.7 mg of 550 mg 4%

Serving Size

The amount of cumin used in a serving size of a dish has been calculated to be a quarter of a teaspoon, equalling 0,5 grams.

Glycemic Index

Due to the very low carb content of 0.17g in one serving size of cumin, its glycemic index value can be considered close to 0.

Cumin has been studied to lower the glycemic index of the dish to which it is added. Adding cumin to a control dish reduced its glycemic index from 97 to 86 (1).


Cumin is a slightly alkaline spice with a pH of 7,3 (2). It has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to regulate hyperacidity.

The acidity of cumin based on potential renal acid load (PRAL) has been calculated to be -32, making this spice alkaline-forming.

Health Impact

Cuminum cyminum has been widely used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat indigestion, diarrhea, and jaundice (3). Here, we will look more deeply into the effects and mechanisms of cumin on human health. These biomedical activities of cumin are most likely due to certain bioactive ingredients within cumin, such as terpenes, phenols, and flavonoids (4).


Cardioprotective Effects

Fruits of Cuminum cyminum are rich in phytoestrogens. Estrogens in the body have a beneficial effect on lipid metabolism, therefore protecting the heart from conditions such as coronary heart disease. During menopause, estrogen levels significantly decrease, leaving the person vulnerable to heart disease. A study has shown hypolipidemic activities of the methanolic extract of cumin, making it a potential element for the treatment of certain menopausal disorders (5).

These hypolipidemic and cardioprotective effects have been shown in experiments with rabbits as well (6).

Hypotensive Effects

Cumin has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat high blood pressure.

Oral administration of cumin seeds in rats has decreased systolic blood pressure and increased plasma nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide is responsible for relaxing muscles in blood vessels and further lowering blood pressure. This study has also demonstrated cumin to have ameliorating effects on inflammation and oxidative stress (7).

Another research has found that Cuminum cyminum essential oil significantly decreased diastolic blood pressure (8).

Antioxidant Effects

One research has found cumin to have the ability to reduce levels of low-density lipoproteins and increase the activity of antioxidant enzymes, such as paraoxonase and arylesterase, which protect lipids from oxidation (9).

However, another study did not show cumin to have cholesterol-lowering properties in rats, even when consumed five times the normal human intake level (10).


Antihyperglycemic Effects

Many studies have shown that cumin can lower blood glucose levels.

Cumin supplementation in alloxan-induced diabetic rats has resulted in a significant reduction in blood glucose and an increase in total hemoglobin and glycosylated hemoglobin. It also prevented a decrease in body weight and reduced total and plasma cholesterol levels. Overall, cumin supplementation was found to be more effective than glibenclamide in treating diabetes mellitus type 2 (3).

An eight-week dietary regimen containing cumin powder reduced hyperglycemic and glucosuria in rats, improved body weight and countered other metabolic alterations (11).

Contrastingly, one research has found that adding an aqueous extract of cumin at dietary doses, in two separate forms, to high glycemic index rice in healthy volunteers demonstrated no additional benefits on postprandial glycemia or insulinemia. However, this does not rule out other long-term beneficial effects (12).


Chemopreventive Effects

Studies suggest that the chemopreventive effects of cumin can be attributed to its ability to modulate carcinogen metabolism. Experiments on mice have shown significant inhibition of stomach tumor growth, as well as uterine cervix tumor growth by cumin (13).

Another research has demonstrated that chili supplementation promotes colon cancer in rats, whereas cumin or black pepper supplementation suppresses colon cancer formation in the presence of a procarcinogen (14).

Cumin residue, generated from Ayurvedic industries, has a stronger anticancer activity by arresting the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis in colon cancer cells, as opposed to raw cumin (15).

Other properties of cumin that have been studied include antimicrobial, analgesic, antistress, memory enhancing, antithrombotic, antiulcer, digestive stimulant, weight reducing, antiosteoporotic, contraceptive, immunological, bronchodilatory, protective, and more (2).


Since many spices and flavorings are derived from plants, they can cause allergic reactions. Though rare, cumin allergies do occur, at times causing food-induced anaphylaxis (16).

Spices can cause both allergic and non-allergic reactions, and it is essential to differentiate the two. Non-allergic reactions usually do not need immediate medical care. These can express as a rash where the spice has touched the skin, localized itching in the mouth, or cough due to inhalation (17).

A common allergen found in cumin is the protein called profilin. People who are hypersensitive to profilin can also experience allergic reactions triggered by anise, coriander, and dill. Cumin allergy may also have a cross-reaction with mugwort and pollen allergy (18).

Symptoms of a cumin allergy, like all food allergies, may range from mild to severe. Using cumin for the first time may not cause any symptoms. The second time and onwards, symptoms may appear, such as rashes, oral allergy syndrome (itching, swelling, and tingling of the mouth area), coughing, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. In rare cases, cumin allergy may lead to anaphylactic shock.

Cumin in Diets

Keto While cumin does contain carbohydrates, as only a small amount is added to the dish, it does not make a significant difference. Cumin is considered to be a keto-friendly seasoning, due to a low amount of net carbs per serving. However, it is important to remember about hidden carbs that cumin can provide on a keto diet.
DASH Cumin can be considered to be relatively high in sodium. However, it has been researched to have hypotensive effects and has been used in traditional medicine to treat high blood pressure (6). Exchanging salt for cumin can be a way to reduce sodium intake.
Atkins All fresh herbs and small amounts of dried herb, including cumin, are acceptable in Phase one and onwards on an Atkins diet (19).
Mediterranean As cumin has likely originated in an Eastern Mediterranea region, it perfectly fits this diet (20).
Paleo As a natural spice, cumin fits the Paleo diet (21).
Vegan/ Vegetarian/ Pescetarian Cumin is a plant product and naturally fits in all three diets.
Dukan Most natural, sugar-free spices are acceptable during the Dukan diet; therefore, you can use cumin on this diet (22).
Intermittent Fasting Naturally, you can use cumin as a spice during the eating periods, but not during fasting.
Low Fat & Low Calorie Cumin adds only 2 calories to the average serving size of a seasoned dish. Cumin can be used as a spice in low fat and low-calorie diets.
Low Carb Cumin adds less than half a gram of carbohydrates to a dish. If the seasoned dish is consumed in moderation, cumin’s carb content can be ignored.
Anti Inflammatory Studies have shown cumin to have certain anti-inflammatory qualities (6).
BRAT Seasonings that are not spicy or strong are acceptable during the BRAT diet. Therefore, cumin can be used on this diet in moderate amounts.

Black Cumin

The scientific name of black cumin is Nigella sativa, belonging to the Ranunculaceae family. It has many names, often being called fennel flower, black caraway, black seed, nutmeg flower, Roman coriander, and kala jeera. Both cumin and black cumin are used as seasonings and have many beneficial health effects; however, they are completely unrelated (4).

Sometimes a plant called Bunium Bulbocastanum can also be referred to as black cumin. This plant is unrelated to both common cumin and Nigella sativa as well.


Cumin can be used in dishes in its ground form or as a whole seed. One tablespoon of ground cumin is equivalent to a quarter tablespoon of whole seeds. Cumin’s taste is often described as earthy, with a bit of both sweetness and bitterness.

Cumin is a common ingredient in Indian cuisine and is a prominent component of famous curry powder and garam masala spice mixtures. Cumin is also used to make jeera rice.

Cumin can be found in Mexican cuisine as well, where it is used to flavor cheeses or in baking (23).

Moreover, cumin seeds can be used to make tea.

Due to similarities in taste and properties, ground coriander and caraway seeds can be substituted for cumin.

Keeping, Storing, and Conservation

Cumin seeds can be kept in the freezer over a long period to maintain their flavor if you do not use them regularly; otherwise, the seeds can be stored in the pantry for up to 3 to 4 years. Ground cumin should be stored in a cool, dark place in a tightly sealed container and can last up to 6 months.

If possible, it is advised to store cumin as whole seeds and grind them whenever is needed, as whole seeds keep the flavor for a longer period of time.

Consumption and Production

Cumin is native to Egypt and has been cultivated in the Middle East, India, China, and Mediterranean countries for millennials. The plant possibly originated in the Mediterranean area, perhaps Egypt and Syria. Nowadays, it is cultivated extensively in Turkey, India, China, Iraq, Libya, and Palestine.

In the past, the largest cumin exporter to the United States was Iran. However, currently, Turkey, India, and China have provided alternatives. Now, the primary production of cumin is established in India (states of Rajasthan and Gujarat) (2).

Being the leading producer and consumer of cumin, India produces 70% of the world’s supply and consumes 90% of that (which means that India consumes 63% of the world’s cumin). Other producers are Syria (7%), Iran (6%), and Turkey (6%). The remaining 11% comes from other countries. In total, around 300,000 tons of cumin per year are produced worldwide (24).


Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: December 08, 2021

Important nutritional characteristics for Cumin

Glycemic index ⓘ Source:
Check out our Glycemic index chart page for the full list.
0 (low)
Net Carbs ⓘ Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols
33.74 grams
Serving Size ⓘ Serving sizes are taken from FDA's Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACCs)
0.25 tsp, whole (0.5 grams)
Acidity (Based on PRAL) ⓘ PRAL (Potential renal acid load) is calculated using a formula. On the PRAL scale the higher the positive value, the more is the acidifying effect on the body. The lower the negative value, the higher the alkalinity of the food. 0 is neutral.
-32 (alkaline)
98% Iron
95% Calcium
94% Potassium
91% Phosphorus
91% Magnesium
Explanation: The given food contains more Iron than 98% of foods. Note that this food itself is richer in Iron than it is in any other nutrient. Similarly, it is relatively rich in Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium.

Cumin Glycemic index (GI)

Check out our Glycemic index chart page for the full list.

Mineral chart - relative view

66.36 mg
TOP 2%
931 mg
TOP 5%
1788 mg
TOP 6%
366 mg
TOP 9%
499 mg
TOP 9%
0.867 mg
TOP 17%
4.8 mg
TOP 20%
3.333 mg
TOP 26%
168 mg
TOP 44%
5.2 µg
TOP 67%
24.7 mg
TOP 73%

Vitamin chart - relative view

Vitamin B1
0.628 mg
TOP 14%
Vitamin A
1270 IU
TOP 18%
Vitamin B2
0.327 mg
TOP 23%
Vitamin C
7.7 mg
TOP 26%
Vitamin B6
0.435 mg
TOP 29%
Vitamin B3
4.579 mg
TOP 36%
Vitamin E
3.33 mg
TOP 38%
Vitamin K
5.4 µg
TOP 55%
10 µg
TOP 62%
Vitamin D
0 µg
TOP 100%
Vitamin B12
0 µg
TOP 100%

Fat type information

8% 74% 17%
Saturated Fat: 1.535 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 14.04 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3.279 g

Fiber content ratio for Cumin

5% 24% 71%
Sugar: 2.25 g
Fiber: 10.5 g
Other: 31.49 g

All nutrients for Cumin per 100g

Nutrient Value DV% In TOP % of foods Comparison
Calories 375kcal 19% 19% 8 times more than OrangeOrange
Protein 17.81g 42% 29% 6.3 times more than BroccoliBroccoli
Fats 22.27g 34% 13% 1.5 times less than CheeseCheese
Vitamin C 7.7mg 9% 26% 6.9 times less than LemonLemon
Net carbs 33.74g N/A 24% 1.6 times less than ChocolateChocolate
Carbs 44.24g 15% 23% 1.6 times more than RiceRice
Cholesterol 0mg 0% 100% N/AEgg
Vitamin D 0µg 0% 100% N/AEgg
Iron 66.36mg 830% 2% 25.5 times more than BeefBeef
Calcium 931mg 93% 5% 7.4 times more than MilkMilk
Potassium 1788mg 53% 6% 12.2 times more than CucumberCucumber
Magnesium 366mg 87% 9% 2.6 times more than AlmondAlmond
Sugar 2.25g N/A 58% 4 times less than Coca-ColaCoca-Cola
Fiber 10.5g 42% 10% 4.4 times more than OrangeOrange
Copper 0.87mg 96% 17% 6.1 times more than ShiitakeShiitake
Zinc 4.8mg 44% 20% 1.3 times less than BeefBeef
Phosphorus 499mg 71% 9% 2.7 times more than Chicken meatChicken meat
Sodium 168mg 7% 44% 2.9 times less than White BreadWhite Bread
Vitamin A 1270IU 25% 18% 13.2 times less than CarrotCarrot
Vitamin A RAE 64µg 7% 31%
Vitamin E 3.33mg 22% 38% 2.3 times more than KiwifruitKiwifruit
Manganese 3.33mg 145% 26%
Selenium 5.2µg 9% 67%
Vitamin B1 0.63mg 52% 14% 2.4 times more than Pea rawPea raw
Vitamin B2 0.33mg 25% 23% 2.5 times more than AvocadoAvocado
Vitamin B3 4.58mg 29% 36% 2.1 times less than Turkey meatTurkey meat
Vitamin B6 0.44mg 33% 29% 3.7 times more than OatOat
Vitamin B12 0µg 0% 100% N/APork
Vitamin K 5.4µg 5% 55% 18.8 times less than BroccoliBroccoli
Folate 10µg 3% 62% 6.1 times less than Brussels sproutBrussels sprout
Saturated Fat 1.54g 8% 53% 3.8 times less than BeefBeef
Monounsaturated Fat 14.04g N/A 12% 1.4 times more than AvocadoAvocado
Polyunsaturated fat 3.28g N/A 23% 14.4 times less than WalnutWalnut
Omega-3 - EPA 0g N/A 100% N/ASalmon
Omega-3 - DHA 0g N/A 100% N/ASalmon
Omega-3 - DPA 0g N/A 100% N/ASalmon

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Nutrition Facts
___servings per container
Serving Size ______________
Amount Per 100g
Calories 375
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 168mg
Total Carbohydrate 44g
Dietary Fiber 11g
Total Sugars g
Includes ? g Added Sugars
Protein 18g
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%

Calcium 931mg 93%

Iron 66mg 825%

Potassium 1,788mg 0%

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Health checks

Low in Cholesterol
 ⓘ Dietary cholesterol is not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in healthy individuals. However, dietary cholesterol is common in foods that are high in harmful saturated fats.
No Trans Fats
 ⓘ Trans fat consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality by negatively affecting blood lipid levels.
Low in Saturated Fats
 ⓘ Saturated fat intake can raise total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels, leading to an increased risk of atherosclerosis. Dietary guidelines recommend limiting saturated fats to under 10% of calories a day.
Low in Sodium
 ⓘ Increased sodium consumption leads to elevated blood pressure.
Low in Sugars
 ⓘ While the consumption of moderate amounts of added sugars is not detrimental to health, an excessive intake can increase the risk of obesity, and therefore, diabetes.

Cumin nutrition infographic

Cumin nutrition infographic
Infographic link


The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article and glycemic index text the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.


Data provided by should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.