13 Amazing Health Benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom health benefits includes promoting digestion, help prevent heart attacks and strokes, help manage bacterial infections, promotes oral health, help reduce blood pressure and help manage diabetes. Other benefits includes stimulating appetite, enhancing male sexual experience, promoting healthy living, managing asthma, relieving hiccups, lowering blood pressure and inducing sleep.
What is Cardamom?
Cardamom is a popular spice used today, despite its relatively expensive price. It is actually the third most expensive spice in the world, and yet retains an important part in Indian culture and cuisine, where it was made famous. Known in India as elaichi, and belonging to the family Zingiberaceae and possessing the scientific name Elettaria cardamom, it has a naturally sweet taste, though it is an important component of spicy foods.
India is “officially” the native region of the spice, though evidence of its trading were found in Sri Lanka predating its documentation in India.
Today, it can be found in many Asian pacific countries, and Guatemala in Central America, which has overtaken India as the number one exporter of this spice. Cardamom is actually made from the seeds of the plant, which grow in pods and are ground into the spice we know today. Today, cardamom is used in a variety of both savory and sweet meals, which also gives us more room to experience its benefits which it has become renowned for in recent years.
Nutrition Info of Cardamom (per 100g)
Dietary Fiber-28g 112% RDA
Protein-11g 22% RDA
Vitamin C-21mg 35% RDA
Thiamin-0.2mg 13% RDA
Riboflavin-0.2mg 11% RDA
Niacin-1.1mg 6% RDA
Vitamin B6-0.2mg 11% RDA
Calcium-385mg 38% RDA
Iron-14mg 78% RDA
Magnesium-229mg 57% RDA
Phosphorus-178mg 18% RDA
Potassium-1120mg 32% RDA
Zinc-7.5mg 50% RDA
Copper-0.4mg 20% RDA
Manganese-28mg 1400% RDA
13 Amazing Health Benefits of Cardamom
1. Promotes Digestion
Besides giving food a tasty edge, cardamom can improve food digestion, especially fats. Cardamom stimulates the production of digestive juices, including bile, which is essential for the breakdown of fats from the food we eat. By efficiently breaking down the food we eat, the chances of heartburn or acid reflux occurring is lower as hydrochloric acid does not need to persist for long periods of time in the stomach. Digestion of fat primarily occurs in the intestines, though it starts in the mouth when we eat food.
2. Help Prevent Heart Attacks And Strokes
Cardamom is rich in natural anti-oxidant compounds which help to prevent development of atherosclerotic plaques on blood vessel walls, but cardamom also does much more than this. There are different varieties of cardamom, such as the black and green varieties, but when it comes to improving heart health, the black seems to do this job much better.
Cardamom also improves blood cholesterol levels, but more uniquely, it increasing fibrinolytic activity in the blood. Greater fibrinolytic activity translates to improved breakdown of clots, thus significantly reducing the likelihood of developing a heart attack or stroke as the result of a blockage.
3. Help Manage Bacterial Infections
Cardamom possesses anti-bacterial properties, which can in turn help reduce your risk of developing serious infections as a result of bacterial presence, such as food poisoning. However, it can be used in more ways than just incorporating in your cooking, as the essential oil can be consumed or used topically to treat wounds that may become infected.
4. Promotes Oral Health
They say that oral health is a good indicator of overall health, as gum disease and poor state of your oral cavity is a telltale sign of heart disease and more. In most cases, taking good care of your teeth and mouth isn’t that difficult, as long as you give a little time to them.
Cardamom essential oil is excellent in this regard. Thanks to its anti-bacterial potential, it gets rid of some of the peskiest bacteria known to man. Not only this, but it stimulates salivary flow which helps to clean teeth after meal time, reducing the risk of developing dental caries. Suffering from bad breath? No a problem. Cardamom oil also freshens breath, so halitosis will be a thing of the past.
5. Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure
Though there are many other things you are likely to use in place of cardamom, research has shown that this spice is effective in reducing blood pressure, which is something not many other natural remedies can boast of. Studies conducted in India found that patients were able to improve both the systolic and diastolic aspects of their blood pressure following daily consumption of cardamom for a study period of 12 weeks. This indicates that it has great potential in helping you manage your blood pressure, but not necessarily to be used on one-off occasions or in emergency treatments.
6. Can Help With Diabetes Management
Though cardamom has a high fiber content, which is ideal in foods to help manage diabetes, it is not carbohydrate free, but helps in the management of diabetes from a different angle. Manganese has been found to be low in the blood of most diabetics, indicating that this mineral has some role to play in blood sugar management. And this has turned out true, since it is involved in the synthesis of coenzymes that regulate carbohydrate metabolism, and also assists in the proper functioning of insulin. In particular, this mineral appears to have a function in maintaining insulin sensitivity, so that a flood of this hormone isn’t required for every little blood sugar spike.
7. Can Stimulate Appetite
This spice has been used for centuries to stimulate appetite, and is especially useful for making meals appetizing following illness or during a period of recovery. It also stimulates release of saliva to kick start digestion.
8. Can Enhance Male Sexual Experience
Cardamom contains a compound known as cineole, also found in peppermint and eucalyptus oils. It is touted as an aphrodisiac, though not in the typical sense. It is believed to stimulate the penile nerve endings, so that more intense orgasms can be obtained. Whether this is a good or a bad thing, we will let you decide, as greater sensitivity also lends itself to increased likelihood of premature ejaculation.
9. May Help You Live Longer
Aging is inevitable, but there are a series of steps you can take to minimize the speed by which metabolic processes take their toll. One such way is to efficiently remove toxins from the body produced via metabolism of various compounds, minimizing the time they spend in contact with healthy cells. Cardamom boosts the efficiency of your liver.
10. Can Assist With Asthma Management
Cardamom has been found to exert bronchodilatory effects in the lungs, which is extremely beneficial to asthmatics who are at a higher risk of suffering from bronchoconstriction. Regular consumption of this spice could reduce frequency of asthma attacks as well.
11. Can Help To Relieve Hiccups
Hiccups are thought to be due to spasms of the diaphragm muscles, which force the lungs upward and forces air out as well. Cardamom has anti-spasmodic properties which relive spasms of smooth muscles. This in turn cures many cases of hiccups, though there are quite a few cases that are regarded as intractable.
12. Possesses Diuretic Properties
Cardamom can help to flush excess water out of the body, helping preserve the health of the kidneys and lowering blood pressure in the process. This is useful in individuals who also suffer from difficulty urinating, such as men with prostate issues.
13. Helps Induce Sleep
Cardamom, used in the form of its essential oil and placed in an oil diffuser is an excellent remedy for bringing about sleep when under high stress or anxiety. Its aroma reduces cortisol levels, improved mood and helps calm you as you prepare for sleep.
Though cardamom is a bit pricey, consuming a little bit every day is one of the best things you can do for your health. It just requires a little to bring about significant flavor and benefit to a meal, so go light on the spice!