Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice that is enjoying great success: let's discover its benefits
Herbs and spices to keep cholesterol, bloating and heartburn at bay
Sumac, also known as Sicilian sumac, is a very widespread plant in the Middle East, which is also grown in southern Italy – as its name suggests. The fruits of this shrub, left to ripen and dried, give rise to a spice with a sour taste, which is widely used in the kitchen. And its health benefits are numerous, so much so that it is a well-known natural remedy since ancient times.
The nutritional profile of sumac is quite interesting: this spice is rich in fiber, which protects the intestine and promotes digestion. By increasing the sense of satiety and reducing the absorption of sugars and fats, fiber is very useful for those who want to lose weight. The presence of good amounts of fatty acids important for the body, such as oleic and linoleic acids, also stands out.
According to a study published in Cardiovascular Diabetology, oleic acid plays a fundamental preventive action against heart disease such as stroke and heart attack. While linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fat that is involved in numerous processes, including the development of prostaglandins and blood coagulation. It also has obvious cholesterol-lowering effects, reducing total cholesterol levels and also acting in this case in favor of the heart.
Sumac contains good amounts of antioxidants such as tannins, anthocyanins and flavonoids. Their role is now widely demonstrated: they help reduce the formation of free radicals and protect cells from damage caused by oxidative stress, thus preventing numerous diseases. A study published in Phytotherapy Research has highlighted how this spice, thanks to its antioxidant powers, can be used as an integration in a low-calorie diet, facilitating weight reduction in subjects suffering from obesity.
Furthermore, sumac could be used to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes. A trial conducted on 41 subjects suffering from this disease showed that the intake of this spice improves blood sugar levels, while increasing sensitivity to 'insulin. While more studies are needed, these early results look very promising.
Among the other properties of sumac, its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial action is evident: it is a real panacea for fighting infections and relieving respiratory tract disorders. The leaves of this plant, used topically, help reduce muscle pain and arthritis, but are also used in the treatment of skin rashes.
Currently, no contraindications have been highlighted in the use of sumac. Being a plant belonging to the same family as those of mangoes, cashews and pistachios, its consumption is not recommended in those who suffer from known allergy to these foods.