Turns out, being seedy isn’t a bad thing.
A few years ago, I was experiencing a lot of stiffness in my fingers when I would wake up in the morning and it would last for hours. I felt like I had a claw hand, and it was really freaking me out. I started doing some research and my Egyptian heritage revealed some mind boggling results into to the ‘secret of the pharoahs.” Wouldn’t you know it, but they had that ‘ish figured out, too.
Found buried among the treasures of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, Nigella Sativa (or black cumin) is believed to be a life-extending secret of the pharaohs. Drastically different from its more commonly-known counterpart, Cuminum Cyminum – the cumin spice which serves as a staple in many Mexican and Cuban dishes – black cumin seed is referenced in some of the oldest religious and medical texts as a “cure-all.” Sometimes it’s called black caraway. Ancient civilizations trusted this medicinal herb to treat a variety of diseases, from diabetes and hypertension to inflammation, eczema, and headaches. In Arabic, we call it ‘habbat el barakah’ which literally means ‘seed of blessing.’ I grew up with it in a lot of our foods, and it has a really distinct, pungent flavor that I grew to love. When I found the plethora of scientific data attributing various incredible health benefits, I realized this is something everyone needs to know about, and importantly, how to incorporate it tastefully into their everyday diet.
With a diverse chemical composition containing rich amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and the powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant thymoquinone, black cumin seed oil delivers multi-faceted healing benefits, including: relief of allergies and asthma; an immunity boost; naturally inhibiting the growth of cancer cells; reduction of inflammation; actively fighting off harmful bacterial-, virus- and fungal-related microbes like MRSA; powerfully aiding in digestion; improving the quality of hair, skin, and nails; healing persistent skin problems; promoting heart health by supporting proper cholesterol levels and normalizing blood pressure; inhibiting Candida, along with other internal and external forms of fungal overgrowth.
Many of the recipes in my new book are from my beloved Egypt, so this miracle black cumin lends itself perfectly to blend it in seed or oil form. The oil I use is from Amazing Herbs and it’s 100% Pure Cold-Pressed Black Seed Oil.
The whole black seeds I get are from TerraSoul Superfoods and are certified organic, Kosher and gluten-free.
While its proven benefits are broad and promising, a strong flavor (similar to black licorice) can sometimes makes black cumin seed a little ‘rough around the edges’ if you shove a handful into your mouth. So I’m asking you to ease into it so it isn’t a huge turn-off.
I have a great recipe for it in my new book called ‘Za’atar’ which is a delicious dried spice blend you can add to so many dishes. I love stirring it into extra virgin olive oil as a dip for veggies and blending into hummus or tahini.
Here’s the recipe:
Za’atar with black cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black cumin seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons dried thume
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground sumac
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
In a small dry skillet, toast the black cumin seeds and sesame seeds over low heat until fragrant. Do not let the sesame seeds darken in color. Transfer to an airtight container, stir in the thyme, oregano, sumac, salt and pepper; cover and store in a cool, dark place.
Here are ways you can easily incorporate it into recipes from my newest book, Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive:
● Add 1 teaspoon black cumin seed oil to finished Ful Mudames recipe, a typical Egyptian meal
● Add 1 1/2 teaspoons black cumin seeds to Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta Salad
● Blend 1 teaspoon black cumin seed oil to any salad dressing or dip, like the Grilled Artichoke Hummus and the Real Ranch Dressing
● Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons black cumin seeds into the crust of Lucca’s Chicken Tenders
● Add 1 teaspoon black cumin seeds to Real Vitality Tonic with ginger and cinnamon
Get your copy of Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive
And so, this amazing little blessing is the ‘Next It Superfood’ in my 8 Healthy Food & Beverage 2020 Trends Report. You heard it here first! Check it out and try it yourself!