Indian cuisine is well known the world over for its extensive use of spices to provide flavour to the food. And although we use a lot of spices, some of them are lesser known for one reason or another. But despite their lesser fame, these spices can also benefit us greatly by not only imparting their rich flavour but also allowing us to experience their myriad health benefits.
Nutmeg is a spice that can add a wonderful flavour and aroma to the food we eat, but it is the nutrition it provides which make it a real star among spices. Nutmeg originated in the Indonesian rain forests and was a particularly valuable item of trade in the ancient Byzantine Empire. Their exclusive and important status tells us something of the great value that people in those times put in nutmeg, most certainly because of its amazing nutritional advantages.
Fortunately, Organic Nutmeg is much more easily available nowadays (in powdered and whole form) and everybody can enjoy its health advantages, some of which are listed below:-
- It can detoxify the body
Nutmeg is one of those wonderful detoxing agents that have the ability to cleanse the body of harmful and lethal toxins.
In our daily lives, we knowingly and unknowingly ingest a multitude of toxins. Whether it is pollution in the air we breathe or harmful pesticides in the food we eat, toxins enter the body and usually get accumulated in the liver and kidneys. Nutmeg cleanses the liver and kidneys and rids the body of harmful toxins.
In addition to its detoxifying effects, nutmeg can also help in the dissolution and removal of kidney stones and boost kidney function so that it can work more effectively in removing toxins from the body.
- Helps out the digestive system
When added to food, nutmeg not only improves the taste but also ensures that your food travels properly through the digestive system. Nutmeg is rich in fiber, which improves the peristaltic movement of the intestines and improves the effectiveness of the digestive process. The fiber content is also helpful against a bevy of digestive issues such as constipation, bloating and flatulence.
Also, the nutrients in nutmeg facilitate the secretion of various digestive juices and enzymes and thus help in improving digestion and metabolism.
- Keeps the brain healthy
The brain is the most important organ in your body and nutmeg is the perfect spice to aid you in maintaining its good health. Nutmeg is beneficial for your brain due to the presence of two key compounds – myristicin and macelignan. Both these chemical compounds have demonstrated the ability to protect neural pathways in the brain from degradation. Neural degradation can occur due to old age or because of an illness like Alzheimer’s disease; whatever the cause, nutmeg can shield your neurons from damage and keep the brain strong and sharp.
- Has great mineral content
Apart from the fiber, essential oils and phytonutrients, nutmeg is also extremely rich in minerals.
The calcium in nutmeg is incredibly useful for boosting bone growth and in maintaining the integrity of bone structures.
Nutmeg also contains a healthy amount of iron which can improve your red blood cell count and prevent diseases like anaemia.
Also, nutmeg is rich in potassium, a mineral which is directly linked to good cardiovascular health. Potassium helps in dilating the blood vessels, thus contributing to lowering the blood pressure. It also ensures that your body absorbs more nutrients from the food you eat.
And finally, the copper and manganese found in nutmeg contain an anti-oxidative enzyme known as superoxide dismutase which helps in reducing oxidative stress, thereby being an anti-carcinogen.
To sum it up, nutmeg’s mineral content alone makes it a worthy addition to your meal.
A final word of caution – if you use nutmeg normally in your dishes, you have nothing to worry about. But you must be aware that overusing nutmeg and consuming very large quantities of it has reportedly led to people experiencing hallucinations and vomiting. Such use of nutmeg is irresponsible and dangerous; it must be avoided at all cost. There is however no side-effect of using nutmeg in moderate quantities.