This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
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There are a lot of spices, herbs and powders that supposedly help you lose weight. One of these is cumin, does it actually work?
Cumin a plant native to Asia. Its seeds are used both grounded and in whole form as a spice all around the world. It’s a common ingredient in spice blends like for example curry powder.
Some people also claim that cumin has health benefits including weight loss. Is this true and if so, are there any potential risks?
Is cumin good for weight loss?
Cumin can indeed help you burn some extra calories.
It’s not yet entirely clear how exactly cumin does this. A potential reason is the substance thymoquinone in it. This substance has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Other potential causes are the blood glucose lowering effect and the potential improvement of digestion cumin can create.
There are a few studies that show the weight loss potential of cumin.
The first one is a study with 72 overweight individuals. These people were divided into 3 groups.
The first group took a high dose cumin-lime supplement of 75 mg . The second group a low dose of the same supplement of 25 mg. The third group got a placebo supplement. The individuals had to consume these supplements twice a day for 8 weeks.
The high dose group lost 2.1 kg on average, the low dose group 1.2 and the placebo group gained 0.2 kg on average (1).
A second study is one with 88 overweight women. This time they were divided into 2 groups. The first group was assigned to eat 3 grams of cumin powder with yogurt twice a day for 3 months. The second group only ate the yogurt.
The group that consumed to cumin powder lost more weight (2).
A meta-analysis with 412 subjects came to the same conclusion that cumin can help weight loss (3).
More data is welcome but the available research points towards cumin actually helping weight loss.
How many extra calories will you burn?
While it does sound awesome that you can burn extra calories by consuming a bit more spices, the actual amount of calories is usually not that big.
The numbers in the first study are impressive but part of them is inevitably variance.
For most people consuming extra cumin won’t come down to 100’s of extra calories gone a day.
That being said, together with the other potential health benefits cumin can deserve to be part of your weight loss diet.
Risks of consuming cumin
For most people cooking and eating foods with cumin is safe. There is a small amount of people that can be allergic to cumin.
Certain risk groups might want to avoid consuming cumin in high doses:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- People with respiratory disease
- People with ulcers
- People with diabetes
It might also reduce the effectiveness of medication.
If you plan on heavily increasing your cumin intake you might want to talk to your primary care provider first.
Ways to increase your cumin intake
So how can you consume more of this spice with potential weight loss and health benefits?
Here are the possibilities.
Cooking with cumin
Adding some cumin in certain dishes can be both tasty and beneficial for your health.
There is also a cumin drink that goes by the name of “jeera water”.
You make this drink by adding 2 teaspoons of cumin to 1.5 liters of water. You then boil this combination for maximum 20 minutes. After that you strain the water when it has cooled down.
With that your cumin / jeera water is ready.
Supplementing with cumin
Cumin is also available in supplement form.
The quantity and frequency you can take the supplements depends from brand to brand. You will find instructions in the packaging.
When should you consume it?
It doesn’t look like there is an ideal time to consume cumin.
Cumin will most likely not break your fast unless you consume it in very big quantities.
Other potential health benefits
Here are a few other benefits cumin might cause:
- May help digestion
- May help diabetes
- May improve cholesterol
- May help against inflammation
More research is needed to completely confirm these findings but so far cumin looks promising.
How much should you focus on cumin while losing weight?
Spices like cumin can have a beneficial effect on weight loss but that doesn’t mean it is a big effect. It will most likely not be enough to get you all the way to your weight loss goal.
That being said, it doesn’t look like there is too much downside to consuming more cumin. If it also helps weight loss that’s just another plus.
If you want some extra weight loss and health benefits without too much effort you can order cumin on amazon.