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Health & Wellness

Digestive Benefits of Cumin

Cumin is a popular spice that is both tasty and known to be good for you. Cumin seeds are very low calorie—just 45 calories per two-tablespoon serving—and are rich in iron, magnesium, and manganese. 1 This makes cumin a great addition to any diet. The real benefits of cumin, though, are its positive effects on digestive health, some of which are outlined below.

Protects Against Some Cancers

Cumin is rich in calcium and copper, and there is some evidence to suggest that calcium has a protective effect against colorectal cancer. 2 One recent study found that supplementing calcium intake by 500mg per day was associated with a 31 percent reduction in colorectal cancer risk.

 width= Improves Intestinal Health

Cumin is rich in copper, which is an essential trace element used to produce collagen. 3 A serving of cumin contains 12 percent of your daily recommended intake of copper. Collagen is an important component of the intestinal wall, meaning that consuming cumin can help support intestinal health.

Prevents Risk of Peptic Ulcers

Stomach ulcers are caused by a bacteria called H. pylori, and they can be quite unpleasant, causing abdominal pain, heartburn, and nausea. Studies show that cumin can help to kill H. pylori and that cumin oil can have other protective effects on the lining of the stomach. 4

Reduces Inflammation  width=

Cumin seed oil can help reduce inflammation and tissue damage, especially of the type that is associated with colitis. 5

Relieves IBS Symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive problem that is characterized by gas, bloating, and changes in stool consistency, as well as persistent abdominal pain.

It is difficult to treat and people usually simply work to manage the symptoms and try to identify triggers in their diet. One study conducted in 2013 found that cumin essential oil was helpful for reducing the severity of IBS symptoms. 6 Further studies are needed in order to call the results conclusive, but the evidence from that initial study was promising, with people reporting less bloating, pain, and gastric distress.

 width= Boosts Digestion

Cumin is often used as a home remedy for indigestion, and it is thought that it can help increase the activity of digestive enzymes, speeding up the rate at which certain fats and nutrients are digested. 7 This helps prevent gas, bloating, and other general signs of gastric distress and can help to ensure that your intestines extract plenty of nutrients from the food you eat.

Reduces Diabetes-Related Side Effects

Diabetes is a serious condition which can have disabling and fatal effects if it is not properly treated. Type 2 diabetes is something that is frequently found in overweight adults, and there are studies showing that cumin supplementation can help improve early markers of diabetes in those who have been recently diagnosed. 8

In addition, cumin supplementation is thought to be helpful for reducing advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are substances that are created when sugars attach to proteins in the bloodstream. People who have diabetes are more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels, which can cause the production of these AGEs.

Cumin contains a number of components which can help reduce AGEs and also contains substances which can help control blood sugar in people who have diabetes. 9 , 10

Maintains Healthy Blood Cholesterol Profile  width=

Cholesterol is something that receives a lot of attention in public health campaigns. There are two kinds of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL cholesterol is the “bad” kind of cholesterol, which is associated with heart attacks and strokes. Meanwhile, HDL cholesterol is the “good” kind cholesterol. Studies show that supplementation with cumin can help decrease levels of LDL cholesterol by almost 10 percent over a six-week period, while also slightly boosting the levels of HDL cholesterol. 11 , 12

Decreases Risk of Food Poisoning

Cumin has been popular throughout history, and it is entirely possible that one of the reasons it became so popular is because it has an antimicrobial effect. A lot of traditional practices surrounding food were passed down because they helped to prevent illness.

Cumin contains certain compounds that could help reduce the risk of food-borne infection by killing much of the bacteria that tends to grow on food. 13 , 14 In the days when refrigeration was not available and the way in which bacteria worked was not fully understood, having a natural preservative would have been quite a boon. Cumin tastes great as well, so it is only natural that ancient cultures would have leaned towards it as something to keep food safe to eat.


As you can see, cumin has a lot of prospective benefits, including helping reduce the risk of cancer and food poisoning, regulate blood sugar, and improve digestion. It is packed full of nutrients, and in terms of nutrition to calorie count, it is most definitely worth it.

You can reap many of the benefits of cumin by eating the seeds, but for some of them, such as improving your blood cholesterol, you may need higher doses, which you can find in cumin extract supplements or oils, rather than just from the seeds.

Most people can take cumin in large quantities without any adverse effects, but there have been (rare) cases where people have suffered from severe allergic reactions to the spice. If you are considering taking cumin, start with a low dose and increase gradually. Consult your doctor before taking very large doses of cumin or any other herbal remedy or supplement, especially if you are taking prescription medication.

PhotoCredits: OrawanPattarawimonchai/, DmytroZinkevych/, TeroVesalainen/, SewCream/, MichelleLeePhotography/

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