(NaturalHealth365) Researchers at the University of King Faisal, Saudi Arabia suggest that eating 2 grams of black cumin seeds – every day – may help lower high blood glucose in type-2 diabetics. They observed that the fasting blood glucose levels, of type-2 diabetics, were reduced by an average of 62 mg /100 ml within 4- 6 weeks.
In fact, several animal and human studies suggests that black cumin could be a beneficial adjuvant to medications for type-2 diabetic patients. Two health benefits of cumin that is favorable for diabetics are its glucose-lowering effect and inhibition of AGE glycation.
Black cumin seeds decrease high blood glucose levels by increasing the insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake by the cells. Cumin seeds also block the formation of Advanced Glycation End products (AGE) typical in most diabetics – that often lead to complications.
Cumin improves insulin production and sensitivity
Animal studies showed that black cumin was able to lower blood glucose levels in two other ways. First, black cumin triggers the secretion of insulin from pancreas and, second, by enhancing the sensitivity of insulin in skeletal muscles, liver cells and also increased glucose uptake by muscular tissues. The presence of the phytonutrient, thymoquinone is the key factor in cumin’s glucose-lowering effect.
Black cumin (Nigella sativa) contains over 100 compounds in its tiny seed. The active ingredients include the phytonutrients – crystalline nigellone, thymoquinone, and beta sitosterol. In addition, they also contain B vitamins and minerals – calcium, zinc, copper and iron.
Traditionally speaking, black cumin seeds have been used, for centuries, to cure many health conditions. Even science can prove the healing power of cumin like, in the case of cataract formation – which is common in diabetics. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Chemistry revealed that cumin seeds were very effective in delaying the progression of cataracts in diabetic rats. Cumin is also effective in decreasing the advanced glycation products, which if left unattended leads to severe complications like kidney or liver damage.
How to best use cumin seeds in cooking
Cumin seeds are flavorful and add a wonderful twist to any dish, apart from being an inherent part of most curries, cumin seeds can be used in a variety of dishes in powdered or slightly toasted form. Add a teaspoonful of black cumin powder to soups and gravies to enhance the flavor. Keep in mind, cumin seeds have a strong flavor and adding too much could alter the taste of the dish.
Another best way to consume cumin seeds is in its toasted form – which can be added to salads or vegetable dishes. The seeds have a very low degree of toxicity with no significant adverse effects on liver or kidney functions. Some studies reveal that black cumin seeds can be consumed along with prescription diabetes medications and is a good adjuvant therapy in managing type-2 diabetes.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 180 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes and this number is likely to double by 2030. The numbers are overwhelming, however by practicing healthy eating habits, regular exercise and including a variety of foods – you can maintain a healthy blood sugar level without the need for toxic drugs.
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1. Kumar PA, Reddy PY, Srinivas PN, Reddy GB. Delay of diabetic cataract in rats by the antiglycating potential of cumin through modulation of alpha-crystallin chaperone activity. J Nutr Biochem. 2009 Jul;20(7):553-62.
2. Jagtap AG, Patil PB. Antihyperglycemic activity and inhibition of advanced glycation end product formation by Cuminum cyminum in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Aug-Sep;48(8-9):2030-6.
3. Benhaddou-Andaloussi A, Martineau L, et.al; The In Vivo Antidiabetic Activity of Nigella sativa Is Mediated through Activation of the AMPK Pathway and Increased Muscle Glut4 Content. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:538671.
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