Can black seed help with weight loss?
In our search for a healthier living and achieving our health and fitness goals, especially losing weight we come across many trends and novelty foods, diets, exercise modalities and superfoods. But with so many out there it can be quite confusing to know which ones really work and can benefit our own individual cases.
Sometimes something so simple and delicious as adding more flavor and spicing our dishes can have great health benefits. Today we’ll look into one of this by looking into the research on black seed and how it can benefit our health and help us lose weight.
What is black seed?
Nigella Sativa, also known as nigella, black seed, roman coriander, nutmeg flower, fennel flower, Ajaji or black cumin is a spice native of the Middle East, Asia and south Europe that seems to have various health benefits even with low doses as those used to spice our foods.
Black seed is a good source of many nutrients like calcium, iron, zinc, copper, thiamin, niacin, phosphorous or folic acid, and it’s main active component thymoquinone which which has been studied and is showing great health benefits for conditions like epilepsy, allergies, boosting immunity and even losing weight showing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other therapeutic properties that protect the body from cell damage and chronic diseases.
Nowadays you can also find the oil extracted from the seeds or as capsules containing the oil as a supplement, it can be consumed raw or lightly toasted and is a common natural medicine used for a variety of health conditions on the places where it grows naturally and dates back to very ancient times being mentioned in the holy bible or in words of Mohamed. There are many health benefits claims associated with these black seeds like helping with inflammation, asthma, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, autoimmune disorders and diabetes, and when used topically even help with eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Health benefits of black seed
There has been plenty of research done on black seed. Let’s give a look at the most important health benefits associated to the spice and what research says about them:
Allergies: studies show that supplementation of nigella sativa oil to people with allergic rhinitis was able to reduce all subjective parameters of allergies like sneezing, runny nose, itching, and congestion, It can also help decrease the symptoms of asthma and improve lung function.
Metabolic Health and diabetes: Studies show an improvement in hunger levels and appetite throughout the day leading to lower bodyweight and lower risk of obesity, as well as improvement in symptoms of diabetes by reducing the level of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). It has also been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels in blood. One study even showed a gradual and partial regeneration of pancreatic beta cells function which leads to better glycemic control.
Immune health: besides the already mentioned benefits for people with allergies some studies have shown a decrease in inflammation and pain in patients with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, it can also help with neuroinflammation and related diseases like Alzheimer or Parkinson.
Subjective well being: in men with central obesity and other general health complaints supplementation with black seeds has shown improvement and even abolition of all measured general heath complaints like loss of libido, high appetite, pain, and forgetfulness.
Black seed and weight loss
There is also specific research on how blackseed can help with weight control and weight loss where significant reduction of body weight, body mass index and waist circumference was observed in many randomized controlled clinical trials.
These positive effects can be explained by the seed’s affecting appetite and cravings, helping control caloric ingestion during the day leading to weight loss, but also in positively affecting other health markers like lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, lowering sugar levels in blood and controlling inflammation.
There needs to be more studies done on the specific effect of blackseed for weight loss but the research is promising and it has shown that people who took black seed oil and combined it with other weight management strategies like regular exercise and dietary changes showed better weight-loss results than people who did not take the supplement. So it can definitely be a powerful tool to add to your arsenal in your journey to a healthier stronger self.
Safety concerns and how to take
Black seed has shown to be very safe to take and doesn't show negative effects even at different dosages and is quite safe to take even at higher doses of 1500 mg per day. However daily dosages of over 2000 mg can have potential harmful effects for kidneys and liver so it should not be taken at such high doses and keep in mind that as with most nutrition supplements the regulation authorities on drugs and foods do not regulate the production or distribution of black seed oil.
Black seed oil is available as an oil, a soft gel supplement, or a liquid supplement that can be found at many health foods or vitamin stores and a recommended daily dose to get the benefits then would be of under 1,5 grams a day, with 1 gram being enough to start seeing the positive effects intended if taken as a supplement, or can be safely added to your meals as a spice not exceeding the recommended safe doses.