High blood sugar can take a real toll on many aspects of health. In the short term, it can cause symptoms like fatigue, headaches, frequent urination and increased thirst. Over time, sustaining high levels of blood sugar has even more serious consequences, including nerve damage, kidney problems and impaired wound healing.
Some research shows that sumac may help maintain normal blood sugar levels. In one study, 41 people with diabetes were given either three grams of sumac spice or a placebo daily for a three-month period. At the end of the study, sumac spice was found to decrease blood sugar levels by 13 percent and even led to an improvement in overall blood sugar control.
Plus, it may also help prevent insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from the bloodstream to the tissues, so when blood sugar levels are consistently high, insulin levels remain spiked. This causes the body to become resistant to its effects, resulting in impaired blood sugar control. According to a study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, sumac spice may be effective at lowering insulin levels to prevent insulin resistance and stabilize blood sugar.
2. Reduces Cholesterol
High cholesterol is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. Cholesterol can build up inside the arteries, causing them to narrow and harden, placing strain on the heart muscle and making it harder to push blood through.
Although research is currently mostly limited to animal models, studies suggest that sumac benefits heart health by lowering cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease. According to a study conducted by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, sumac was able to reduce both triglyceride and cholesterol levels in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet. (3) Another study had similar findings, showing that administering a combination of sumac and ginger to hens caused a significant decrease in cholesterol levels.
3. High in Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Antioxidants are powerful compounds that help fight free radicals to prevent cell damage and protect against chronic disease. Some research even suggests that antioxidants may reduce the risk of serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Sumac is a concentrated source of antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals and keep your body healthy. (6) In fact, one 2015 animal model showed that sumac was effective at reducing diabetes complications in rats, largely thanks to its antioxidant content.
4. May Reduce Bone Loss Osteoporosis is a common condition characterized by weak, brittle bones caused by bone loss and an increased risk of fracture. The risk of osteoporosis steadily increases with age, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 25 percent of women over 65 have osteoporosis in the femur, neck and lumbar spine.
Although research is still very limited on the potential effects of sumac on bone health, one study did find some promising results. A 2015 animal study published in the Journal of Applied Oral Science showed that administering sumac extract to rats altered the balance of several specific proteins involved in bone metabolism, resulting in decreased bone loss.
5. Relieves Muscle Pain If you suffer from chronic muscle aches and pain, switching up your spice cabinet may be able to help. In fact, one study showed that sumac juice, derived from the same plant as sumac spice, was able to help reduce muscle pain during aerobic exercise in healthy adults. Because of its rich antioxidant content, it may also aid in reducing inflammation to provide even more pain relief. Not only does inflammation contribute to disease development and play a central role in several autoimmune conditions, but studies also show that inflammation may be involved in pain regulation as well.