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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

Complete nutrition and health benefits analysis for Cumin

Cumin

Introduction

Cumin is the dried seed of the herb named Cuminum cyminum, that is commonly used as a spice in different cuisines. Cumin is also known by its alternative name 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.

Both ground and whole seed cumin is 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.

People have been using cumin in traditional medicine for centuries. 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, where in the world it is most used in and other interesting aspects.

Nutrition

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 mostly of dietary fiber with only a small amount of sugars.

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

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

Calories in Cumin

A 100g of cumin contains 375 calories. However, cumin, being a spice, 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.

Vitamins

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, vitamin B12 and folic acid.

Minerals

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 fairly high in sodium.

Glycemic Index

Due to the low concentration of sugars in cumin, it has a very low glycemic index of 5.

Health Impact

Cuminum cyminum has been widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of dyspepsia, diarrhoea and jaundice (1). 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 some bioactive ingredients within cumin, such as terpenes, phenols and flavonoids (2).

Cardiovascular

Cardioprotective Effects

Estrogens in the body have a beneficial effect on the lipid metabolism, therefore protecting the heart from conditions, such as coronary heart disease. During the menopause estrogen levels significantly decrease, leaving the person vulnerable to heart disease. Fruits of Cuminum cyminum are rich in phytoestrogens. A study has shown hypolipidemic activities of the methanolic extract of Cuminum cyminum, making it a potential element for the treatment of certain menopausal disorders (3).

These hypolipidemic and cardioprotective effects have been shown in experiments with rabbits as well (4).

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 improved plasma nitric oxide, a factor 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 (5).

Another research has found Cuminum cyminum essential oil to significantly decrease diastolic blood pressure (6).

Antioxidant Effects

A research has found cumin to have the ability to reduce levels of low density lipoproteins and increase activity of antioxidant enzymes, such as paraoxonase and arylesterase, that protect lipids from oxidation (7).

However, another study did not show cumin to have cholesterol lowering properties in rats, when consumed 5 times the normal human intake level (8).

Diabetes

Antihyperglycemic Effects

Many studies have shown cumin to lower blood glucose levels.

Cuminum cyminum supplementation in alloxan induced diabetic rats has resulted in 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 the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2 (1).

An eight week dietary regimen containing cumin powder beneficially reduced hyperglycemic and glucosuria in rats, as well as improving body weight and countering other metabolic alterations (9).

However, contradictingly, one research has found that adding aqueous extract of cumin at dietary doses, in two separate forms to a high glycemic index rice in healthy volunteers demonstrated no additional benefits on postprandial glycemia or insulinemia. This does not rule out other long term beneficial effects (10).

Cancer

Chemopreventive Effects

Studies suggest that chemopreventive effects of cumin can be attributed to its ability to modulate carcinogen metabolism. Experiments on mice have shown a significant inhibition of stomach tumor growth, as well as uterine cervix tumor growth by cumin (11).

Another research has demonstrated that chilli supplementation promotes colon cancer in rats, whereas cumin or black pepper supplementation suppresses colon carcinogenesis in the presence of a procarcinogen (12).

Cumin residue, generated from Ayurvedic industries, has a stronger anticancer activity by arresting cell cycle and inducing apoptosis in colon cancer cells, as opposed to raw cumin (13).

 

Cumin has also been studied to possess other effects on health, such as antimicrobial, analgesic, antistress, memory enhancing, antithrombotic, antiulcer, digestive stimulant, weight reducing, antiosteoporotic, contraceptive, immunological, bronchodilatory, protective and more (14).

Allergy

As many spices and flavourings are derived from plants, they can cause allergic reactions. Though rare, cumin allergies do occur, at times causing food induced anaphylaxis (15).

Spices can cause both allergic and non-allergic reactions and it is important to differentiate the two. Non-allergic reactions usually do not need immediate medical care. These can express as rashes on the skin where the spice has touched, localized itching in the mouth or a cough due to inhalation (16).

A common allergen found in cumin is the protein called profilin. People who are hypersensitive to profilin can also experience allergic reactions triggered by coriander and dill. Cumin allergy may also have a cross reaction with mugwort and pollen allergy (17).

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, such as rashes, oral allergy syndrome (itching, swelling and tingling of the mouth area), coughing, diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting may appear. 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 (18). However, it is important to remember about hidden carbs that cumin can provide, on a keto diet.

DASH

Cumin can be considered to be high in sodium. However, it has been researched to have hypotensive effects and has been used in traditional medicine to treat high blood pressure (4). Exchanging cumin for salt can be a way to reduce sodium intake.

Atkins

All fresh herbs in small amounts, including cumin, are acceptable in Phase one of Atkins and onwards (19).

Mediterranean

As cumin has likely originated in an Eastern Mediterranea region, it perfectly fits this diet (20).

Paleo

Being 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 (22), therefore you can use cumin on this diet.

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 in 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 (4).

BRAT

Seasonings that are not spicy or strong can be used 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 (2).

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.

Acidity

Cumin is an alkaline spice, with a pH of 7,3 (14).  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, alkaline.

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 to 0,5 grams.

Cooking

Cumin can be used in dishes in both forms: ground and whole seed. One tablespoon of ground cumin is equal to a quarter tablespoon of whole seeds. Cumin’s taste is described as an earthy flavour, with both sweetness and bitterness (23).

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 also be found in Mexican cuisine, where it is used to flavour cheeses or in baking (24).

Moreover, cumin seeds can be used to make tea.

Keeping, Storing and Conservation

The seeds can be kept in the freezer over a long period to maintain their flavour 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 will last up to 6 months (23).

It is advised to store cumin as whole seeds and grind them whenever is needed if possible , as whole seeds keep the flavour 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 major production of cumin is established in India (states of Rajasthan and Gujarat) (14).

India, being the main producer and consumer of cumin, produces 70% of the world 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 is produced worldwide (25).

Sources.

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12220968/
  2. https://academic.oup.com/fqs/article/2/1/1/4823052
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841243/
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328193257
  5. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10641963.2013.764887
  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ptr.6500?af=R
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4039583/
  8. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/food.19910350112
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531797002078
  10. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/336038597
  11. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327914nc4702_10
  12. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2006.9.237
  13. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13197-016-2372-z
  14. http://www.iosrphr.org/papers/v6i6V2/G066024665.pdf
  15. https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(97)70039-3/fulltext
  16. https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/spice-allergy
  17. https://allergy-symptoms.org/cumin-allergy/
  18. https://highkey.com/blogs/keto101/the-top-6-keto-friendly-seasonings-you-need-in-your-pantry
  19. https://sa.atkins.com/static/default/files/documents/pdf/
  20. https://books.google.am/books?id=e-glDQAAQBAJ&pg=PA234&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
  21. https://www.paleopowderseasoning.com/blogs/news/but-all-seasonings-are-paleo-right
  22. https://mydukandiet.com/dieting/faq/what-spices-can-i-eat-on-dukan-diet.html
  23. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-cumin-995638
  24. https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/cumin
  25. http://www.irancuminseed.com/iran-cumin-seed/
Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan
Profession: Yerevan State Medical University
Last updated: December 03, 2020

Important nutritional characteristics for Cumin

Cumin
Glycemic index ⓘ Source:
0 (low)
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)
Calories
375
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)

Source:

86 with glucose (glucose 97) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5897315/

0

Check out similar food or compare with current

Macronutrients chart

18% 23% 45% 9% 8%
Protein:
Daily Value: 36%
17.81 g of 50 g
36%
Fats:
Daily Value: 34%
22.27 g of 65 g
34%
Carbs:
Daily Value: 15%
44.24 g of 300 g
15%
Water:
Daily Value: 0%
8.06 g of 2,000 g
0%
Other:
7.62 g

NEW NUTRITION FACTS LABEL

Nutrition Facts
___servings per container
Serving Size ______________
Amount Per 100g
Calories 375
% Daily Value*
34%
Total Fat 22g
9%
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
7%
Sodium 168mg
15%
Total Carbohydrate 44g
44%
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
ok
details
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.
Source
No Trans Fats
ok
details
Trans fat consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality by negatively affecting blood lipid levels.
Source
Low in Saturated Fats
ok
details
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.
Source
Low in Sodium
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details
Increased sodium consumption leads to elevated blood pressure.
Source
Low in Sugars
ok
details
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.
Source

Cumin nutrition infographic

Cumin nutrition infographic
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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%

Mineral chart - relative view

Iron
66.36 mg
TOP 2%
Calcium
931 mg
TOP 5%
Potassium
1788 mg
TOP 6%
Magnesium
366 mg
TOP 9%
Phosphorus
499 mg
TOP 9%
Copper
0.867 mg
TOP 17%
Zinc
4.8 mg
TOP 20%
Manganese
3.333 mg
TOP 26%
Sodium
168 mg
TOP 44%
Selenium
5.2 µg
TOP 67%
Choline
24.7 mg
TOP 73%

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: 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%

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%
Folate
10 µg
TOP 62%
Vitamin B12
0 µg
TOP 100%
Vitamin D
0 µg
TOP 100%

Fat type information

1.535% 14.04% 3.279%
Saturated Fat: 1.535 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 14.04 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3.279 g

Fiber content ratio for Cumin

2.25% 10.5% 31.49%
Sugar: 2.25 g
Fiber: 10.5 g
Other: 31.49 g

All nutrients for Cumin per 100g

Nutrient DV% In TOP % of foods Value Comparison
Protein 42% 29% 17.81g 6.3 times more than Broccoli
Fats 34% 13% 22.27g 1.5 times less than Cheese
Carbs 15% 23% 44.24g 1.6 times more than Rice
Calories 19% 19% 375kcal 8 times more than Orange
Sugar 0% 58% 2.25g 4 times less than Coca-Cola
Fiber 42% 10% 10.5g 4.4 times more than Orange
Calcium 93% 5% 931mg 7.4 times more than Milk
Iron 830% 2% 66.36mg 25.5 times more than Beef
Magnesium 87% 9% 366mg 2.6 times more than Almond
Phosphorus 71% 9% 499mg 2.7 times more than Chicken meat
Potassium 53% 6% 1788mg 12.2 times more than Cucumber
Sodium 7% 44% 168mg 2.9 times less than White Bread
Zinc 44% 20% 4.8mg 1.3 times less than Beef
Copper 96% 17% 0.87mg 6.1 times more than Shiitake
Vitamin E 22% 38% 3.33mg 2.3 times more than Kiwifruit
Vitamin D 0% 100% 0µg N/A
Vitamin C 9% 26% 7.7mg 6.9 times less than Lemon
Vitamin B1 52% 14% 0.63mg 2.4 times more than Pea
Vitamin B2 25% 23% 0.33mg 2.5 times more than Avocado
Vitamin B3 29% 36% 4.58mg 2.1 times less than Turkey meat
Vitamin B6 33% 29% 0.44mg 3.7 times more than Oat
Folate 3% 62% 10µg 6.1 times less than Brussels sprout
Vitamin B12 0% 100% 0µg N/A
Vitamin K 5% 55% 5.4µg 18.8 times less than Broccoli
Cholesterol 0% 100% 0mg N/A
Saturated Fat 8% 53% 1.54g 3.8 times less than Beef
Monounsaturated Fat 0% 12% 14.04g 1.4 times more than Avocado
Polyunsaturated fat 0% 23% 3.28g 14.4 times less than Walnut

References

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.

  1. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170923/nutrients

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