Cumin is an extremely popular spice used in cuisines throughout the world, but many Americans only recognize it when diving into a bowl of chili. Though not as widely studied for its metabolism-boosting effects as the other spices discussed, recent research on overweight women concluded that daily cumin consumption reduced blood levels of fasting cholesterol, triglycerides, and “bad” cholesterol and increased HDL or “good” cholesterol levels. Weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and fat mass were also significantly reduced. The reason: Cumin contains phytosterols – plant compounds known to inhibit absorption of cholesterol in the body. Researchers also speculated that cumin decreased body weight due to a temporary increase in metabolic rate, similar to that produced by hot spices.
Tip: Use cumin powder in curries, soups, spice rubs, or taco seasonings, or add it to a to turkey chili for a healthy, hearty meal.