Nutmeg is a popular spice for these cold nights. Not only is this wonderful spice aromatic, it also has a wonderful variety of health-supporting properties.
While categorized as a spice, nutmeg is actually a seed from the fruit of the Myristica fragrans tree. This is an evergreen tree native to the rainforests of the Moluccas in Indonesia, known since antiquity as the Spice Islands. M. fragrans has since been cultivated all over the world, including in southern India and the Caribbean. (Related: The sweet spice: Health benefits of nutmeg and tips for proper storage.)
Nutmeg, as well as the seed’s covering known as mace, are widely used in cooking due to their delicate flavors and are commonly employed in sauces and soups. Nutmeg’s warm and sweet flavor is also popular for desserts including pies, cakes, cookies, breads, fruit salads, custards and doughnuts.
This wonderful spice is also a popular additive to warm and cold beverages alike including apple cider, hot chocolate, chai tea, turmeric lattes and different kinds of smoothies.
Nutritionally, nutmeg is loaded with a variety of wonderful nutrients. Perhaps most importantly, nutmeg is rich in antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals and reduce the effects of oxidative stress on the body.
Nutmeg is also filled with vitamins, carotenoids like beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, lignans and phenolic compounds.
Nutmeg has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties
Nutmeg is also rich in anti-inflammatory compounds known as monoterpenes – including sabinene, terpineol and pinene. These may help reduce inflammation in the body, as well as benefit people dealing with inflammatory conditions. These compounds are thought to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the enzymes that promote it.
Some of the antioxidants found in nutmeg, such as cyanidins and phenolic compounds, also have very powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies have also shown that nutmeg has antibacterial effects against potentially harmful strains of bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, which can cause dental cavities and gum disease.
Nutmeg has also been found to inhibit the growth of different kinds or serotypes of Escherichia coli bacteria, such as 0157, which can cause severe illness and even death.
Nutmeg may also be beneficial to various other health conditions. It can be beneficial to heart health thanks to its micronutrients which are important to regulating blood pressure. It may boost libido and has been used in traditional medicine such as in the Unnai system in South Asia to treat sexual disorders.
Nutmeg may also improve blood sugar control and enhance pancreatic function, and studies have found that nutmeg has significant antidepressant effects that are perfect for the winter months.
Keep in mind that, like most kinds of foods, herbs and spices, nutmeg should be taken in moderation. Taking large amounts of nutmeg can cause a variety of toxic side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, agitation, hallucinations and tachycardia, or a faster-than-normal heart rate.
Learn more about nutmeg other wonderful superfoods at Superfoods.news.
Watch this video from the Health Ranger Store discussing 10 other herbs and spices that are beneficial for optimal health.