If you’ve never heard of jeera, you might know it better by its other name, cumin. Jeera is a key spice used in a variety of Indian dishes, and the seeds are often offered as a digestive aid after your meal at an Indian restaurant.
Even though it’s best known for its use in the kitchen, jeera spice is versatile and has numerous health benefits. We will tell you everything you need to know about the spice and some of the benefits of jeera water.
What Is Jeera?
Many people get confused about the difference between jeera and cumin, but there is none as jeera is the Indian name for cumin (for this article, both names will be used synonymously).
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re familiar with cumin, it’s a favorite spice used in a variety of ethnic cuisine including Indian, Mexican, and Middle Eastern. Most people use the powdered form of the spice, which is usually a deep-amber or brownish-yellow color. Many describe its distinct flavor as “earthy, nutty, spicy, and with undertones of lemon.”
While its aroma and taste can be difficult to describe, once you smell or taste cumin, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to identify it again just by taste and the aroma. Cumin is also a key ingredient in many Indian and Mexican spice blends.
Growing, Harvesting, and Buying Cumin
Cumin, or Cuminum cyminum, is a flowering plant from the parsley family and is native to regions from Eastern Mediterranean to East India. Once the flowers are done blooming, and the seeds are brown, the cumin seeds are harvested from the plant by hand. After harvest, they are dried, and then stored as whole or ground into a powder.
If you use cumin on a regular basis, you are probably most familiar with the amber-colored powder that is widely available at most grocery stores, but there are a variety of colors such as green, white, and black. Despite the difference in color and maybe some slight changes in flavor, black jeera uses are typically the same as the other colors.
Even though buying cumin powder is convenient, the quality of flavor can quickly decrease if you don’t use it often. You can buy whole cumin seeds in most stores and grind them at home. The seeds, which are often mistaken for caraway seeds, are “boat-shaped” and some say they resemble a piece of long grain rice.
A high-quality cumin seed should give off a “pleasant peppery aroma” when you squeeze it between your index finger and thumb. If you are having a hard time finding cumin powder or the seeds, you can probably find both at an ethnic foods store.
A Brief History
Although cumin is a widely popular spice today, it has a long history that dates back thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians reportedly used the spice for cooking as well as for preserving mummies.
Cumin became popular in India and was also an essential spice for Greeks and Romans. After European colonization, Spain and Portugal added the spice to their daily meals.
Making Jeera Water
There are many ways to use cumin, and one unique and easy way is by making jeera water. To make the drink, add two teaspoons of cumin seeds to 1.5 liters of fresh, filtered water and boil in a tea kettle or pot.
Once the water has boiled, on high, for 20 minutes, remove from the stovetop and set aside so it can cool to room temperature. After the water is about lukewarm, strain the water, so it’s clear (there’s no need to add more water, just strain out seeds and other parts of the spice).
Depending on the type of cumin seeds you use, your water may be different shades; a rust-colored water is normal and safe to drink.
Once you have strained your jeera water, it is ready to drink. Since it’s best to drink it neither too hot or too cold, you can store the water in a clean glass bottle at room temperature. If you look up jeera water recipes, you may notice that the cooking time may vary; it all depends on how strong of a taste you want.
Water with jeera is virtually calorie-free, which is an excellent option for anyone keeping track of daily calories. If you plan to add any sweetener to your drink, and you are keeping track of your caloric intake, don’t forget to track the “add-ins” like honey, agave, or stevia, as they can add up.
Health Benefits Of Drinking Jeera Water
Adding cumin to your daily diet may be beneficial to your health and drinking jeera water can provide some of the same benefits. Check out the some of the health benefits of making and drinking fresh jeera water daily.
Improve Digestion and Reduce Indigestion
Other than its use in cooking, cumin is best known as an aid for indigestion and improving one’s digestion overall. While digestive issues can stem from a variety of factors, consuming water with jeera in it can help speed up your digestive process.
Some research suggests that consuming cumin can increase the digestive enzymes, which can, in turn, improve and make your digestive system work more efficiently. If you suffer from inflammation, which can play an integral role in digestive issues such as IBS or Crohn’s Disease, cumin may also reduce inflammation in areas throughout your body.
While foodborne illness is less prevalent than it may have been decades and centuries ago, there’s always the chance that we may eat spoiled food. According to some research, cumin might help to prevent a foodborne illness by reducing bacteria and infectious fungi.
Promote Weight Loss
If you’re like millions of adults who are looking for ways to cut calories and lose a little weight safely and naturally, you may find some success by drinking jeera water. Some scientific studies suggest that incorporating cumin into your daily diet may help you stay full more an extended period.
Since cumin may benefit digestive health, it may work hand in hand with maintaining a healthy weight and even shedding some unwanted pounds. While most studies discuss the effects of weight loss while using cumin powder, it may be safe to assume that cumin water may have the same effect (especially since the doses are about the same).
Keeping Your Immune System Healthy
Daily stress and lack of sleep can play a significant role in decreasing the health of our immune systems, and as we know, when our immune system is compromised we get sick.
Drinking water with jeera may be a good way to keep your immune system healthy as it is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, C, and E as well as iron, calcium, and fiber.
If stress and insomnia are getting in the way of your quality of life, try drinking some water with jeera at the end of a busy day. Some research suggests that cumin can reduce stress levels and may even help to handle stress easier.
Genetics, lifestyle, diet, aging, and environmental factors all play a role in the health of our skin. If you are looking for natural ways to revive your skin, treat acne, and just keep your skin healthier, try applying water with jeera directly to your skin (like a toner). The various vitamins, like Vitamin E, are great for repairing damaged skin.
If you don’t drink enough water each day, your skin can suffer. Drinking cumin water can help you stay hydrated and benefit the outside and inside of your body.
Lowering Blood Pressure, Improve Good Cholesterol, and Reducing Blood Sugar Levels
Various studies suggest that incorporating more cumin in a daily diet can help lower blood pressure, improve HDL levels (or “good” cholesterol), and even help people with diabetes reduce and manage their blood sugar levels.
While the research is promising and good news for those who are looking for natural ways to become healthier, it’s always important to take with your doctor first before drinking jeera water on a regular basis (particularly if you take medication). Don’t substitute cumin water for the medication that treats your health issue without talking with your doctor.
Can You Drink Jeera Water Daily?
Many people wonder if it’s safe to drink jeera water on a daily basis. Many health experts that support drinking the water say that it’s best to drink it every day. While it’s unclear how much is “too much,” one may not want to exceed 1.5 liters (the amount in our recipe).
If you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications, always talk with your health professional before drinking water with jeera just to make sure it’s a safe and healthy option for you.