Nutmeg is an extremely popular spice used widely across the world for its unique flavor and taste properties that it brings to meals. However, nutmeg is much more than a flavoring agent, as it possesses multiple health benefits that you can take advantage of by simply using more of it
Excited to learn what’s this intriguing spice can do for you? Let’s check it out below.
What Is Nutmeg?
Nutmeg is actually a seed, obtained from the nutmeg tree, which is scientifically known as Myristica fragrans.
It was originally native to the Pacific islands, particularly Indonesia, but can today be found growing in the tropics around the world. Its potent favor properties mean that you only need to use a small amount at any one time, but this can be compensated for by using it more frequently.
Nutmeg is rich in several vitamins and minerals, including the following:
Nutrition Facts (per 100g)
Total Carbohydrate-49.3g 16%
Dietary Fiber-20.8g 83%
Total Fat-36.3g 56%
Vitamin A-102IU 2%
Vitamin C-3.0mg 5%
Vitamin B6-0.2mg 8%
9 Amazing Health Benefits of Nutmeg
1. Natural Remedy For Insomnia
If you are like millions of people around the world that grapple with sleep deprivation and insomnia, you would be pleasantly surprised to learn that nutmeg can help you get more rest.
Considered a calming spice, it possesses sedative properties and puts your mind to ease helping initiate sleep faster.
Much of its ability to help you sleep is attributed to the presence of the mineral magnesium. Magnesium is involved in regulation of several neurotransmitters in the brain, especially those that are of a calming nature.
Most notably of these is serotonin, which subsequently lends itself to synthesis of melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone which is produced and secreted in the dark to help you get and stay asleep.
Melatonin also helps to regulate your natural sleep-wake cycle, but functions best in the dark – it is light-sensitive.
Wondering how you can take advantage of nutmeg for sleep? If your ritual involves drinking a glass of milk before bed, add a small pinch of nutmeg to the mix. This is ideal for helping you rest better. Alternatively, it can be added to a carrier base such as coconut or olive oil, and gently massaged on the forehead before going to bed.
2. Natural Pain Relief
Although you probably never notice it, nutmeg is already frequently employed in topical pain medication formulations as it possesses several compounds which can help to relieve tension and muscle or joint pain.
Many of its compounds possess natural anti-inflammatory actions, making it especially useful for conditions such as arthritis, characterized by tenderness and inflammation.
While you can consume nutmeg, it might be better served if applied locally to the area in pain.
3. Supports Healthy Digestion
Nutmeg is a rich source of fiber, and luckily you consume all of it when you use ground nutmeg powder.
Fiber’s most important role is to add bulk to feces, which helps it to retain its moisture content and hasten its exit throughout the digestive tract.
In addition to this, many of the essential oils found in nutmeg can help with the actual process of digestion, accelerating the rate of gastric emptying, or reducing symptoms of acid reflux or nausea following your meal. The peristaltic action of the stomach and intestines is also improved in like manner.
There is also evidence that it might be able to help with chronic inflammatory conditions such as colitis or Crohn’s disease, although studies on that topic are currently limited.
4. Supports Immune Health
Being a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, you should not be surprised to find out that nutmeg helps to support the function of this important body defense system as well.
Even though its actual antioxidant vitamin content is low, there are several other antioxidant compounds contained in nutmegs which help to neutralize free radicals and also ameliorate the effects of excessive inflammation.
Nutmeg is also said to possess moderate antimicrobial properties, which might help you avoid the occasional infection, especially when your immune system is feeling a bit under the weather.
5. May Increase Sex Drive
If you’re looking for something to spice up your love life in the bedroom, nutmeg might not be the first thing that comes to mind.
Even though current human evidence is anecdotal in nature, there was actually a study conducted on rodents that were administered high amounts of nutmeg in extract form, and subsequently displayed a significant increase in sexual aggression and overall performance.
It is currently not fully understood exactly how it goes about increasing libido, but some researchers postulate that it might be due to its ability to help buffer the effects of cortisol, one of the hormone that acts in a manner opposite of testosterone, men’s primary sex hormone.
Other reasons probably include up regulation of the nervous system and effector organs, making it a plausible option for men refractive to common treatment modalities.
Nutmeg has been used as a traditional remedy to increase libido and as an aphrodisiac throughout parts of southern Asia and the Pacific for centuries though this effect is yet to catch on in the West.
6. May Help Reduce Cholesterol
Nutmeg is not the strongest natural cholesterol-lowering agent out there, and based on the fact that only a small amount is consumed at one sitting the effect is only modest at best. However, it helps to optimize your cholesterol levels by two mechanisms; by virtue of its fiber content which promotes excretion of bile acids, and thanks to the mineral manganese, which assists with the metabolism of cholesterol. Breakdown of cholesterol to yield free fatty acids is an alternate way of actively reducing cholesterol levels.
7. Anxiolytic Properties
Are you a person that gets too anxious? Nutmeg can help. Anxiety and needless worry affects a significant number of adults, sometimes leading to crippling social withdrawal and other mental health issues.
As previously mentioned, nutmeg is very helpful in calming you down and preparing the body for sleep. However, based on the fact that much of its effect works via melatonin secretion, during the day you are unlikely to feel drowsy if using for this purpose. This is because melatonin is broken down in light and will not make you sleepy.
8. Natural Remedy For Eczema
Eczema is an allergic – inflammatory condition characterized by itchy patches on the skin, frequently occurring in people that are diagnosed as asthmatics.
Nutmeg can help ease the itching and inflammation associated with eczema by applying locally to the skin.
Make into a thick paste, and apply to the affected areas leaving on for about 20 minutes.
Subsequently, you need to wash it off with water and carry on as usual.
9. May Reduce The Risk Of Developing Neurodegenerative Disorders
As we age, oxidative and inflammatory damage to the brain can sometimes lead to reduced cognitive function. Often times, accumulation of plaques in the brain known as beta-amyloid proteins, pave the way for development of conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Nutmegs may help by helping preserve cognition and reducing the deposition of these plaques.
It is believed that ancient Greek civilization knew about this and used it for this exact purpose.
Apothecaries even prescribed tonics fortified with nutmeg as remedies for sleeplessness, lack of focus or poor memory.
Next time you use that nutmeg spice, think of it as much more than a nice flavoring enhancer. You should actively try to use it every chance you get, since it can help contribute to your well-being.
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