One way to extend your life expectancy – along with lots of exercise, avoiding smoking and plenty of sleep – is to fuel your body with nutritious foods. And, a certain spice may help you to achieve that life enhancing goal.
Native to southwest Asia and regions of the Mediterranean, this exotic spice can add an earthy, nutty and spicy flavour to chillis, curries and tamales.
A great source of iron, one teaspoonful of the spice contains 1.4mg of iron – that’s 17.5 percent of an adult’s recommended daily intake.
What’s the popular spice made from the cuminum cyminum plant? The answer is cumin.
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Cumin has shown to possess some incredible health boosting properties. This is shown by researchers from the University of Medical Sciences, based in Iran.
Their randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial involved 72 overweight volunteers.
Participants were randomly assigned into three groups: Group A received a high-dose of cumin, Group B received a low-dose of cumin, while Group C received a placebo.
All groups were given daily capsules, with Group A receiving 75mg of cumin (and lime) and Group B receiving 25mg of cumin (and lime) in each capsule.
The experiment went on for eight weeks. At the end of the study, the researchers noted that there were differences in the groups.
Those who had taken the high concentrated cumin capsules showed “significant weight loss, reduction in BMI (body mass index) and fasting plasma glucose”.
Moreover, the results revealed those who consumed more cumin had a “significant rise in insulin sensitivity”.
Additionally, the researchers observed a “significant decrease in triglycerides and total cholesterol levels”.
So, what does this all mean? First, the NHS links obesity with a number of potentially serious health conditions.
Being overweight is associated with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and several types of cancer: bowel cancer, breast cancer and womb cancer.
The research outlined above showed that cumin helped people to lose weight and lead to a reduction in their BMI (check your BMI here).
In addition, fasting plasma glucose was reduced in those who consumed higher concentrations of cumin.
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Fasting plasma glucose refers to the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood when you’ve not eaten yet.
Blood sugar levels that are too high are indicative of type 2 diabetes – with serious health implications.
The study suggests that cumin may play a role in helping to keep blood sugar levels low (which would be good for your health).
As well as helping to keep blood sugar levels in check, cumin was shown to influence insulin sensitivity.
Those with type 2 diabetes may be insulin resistant, meaning the cells don’t respond to insulin – a hormone – responsible for enabling cells to absorb sugar from the blood to use as energy.
By positively increasing insulin sensitivity, in theory, more cells will be able to absorb excess sugar in the bloodstream, also enabling blood sugar levels to be regulated.
As if that wasn’t enough health boosting properties, cumin has shown to help reduce triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.
High numbers of triglycerides and total cholesterol is indicative of high cholesterol, which puts a person at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Therefore, to benefit from longer life, cumin may help in more ways than one.
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