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7 Interesting Health Benefits Of Nutmeg (Jaiphal)

Valued for its sweet aroma and unique flavour, the nutmeg spice is the seed of the tropical evergreen tree (Myristica fragrans). Nutmeg, commonly known as jaiphal in Hindi, is a popular spice used in cooking and baking. The spice has a sweet and slight nutty flavour and is often combined with other sweet spices including clove, cinnamon and allspice.

Nutmeg is used as a whole seed and in powdered form. Apart from being used for culinary purposes, nutmeg is widely known for its medicinal properties [1]. In traditional medicine, nutmeg has been used as a remedy for gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea, indigestion and flatulence.

Mace is the outer covering or aril of the nutmeg seed, which also contains essential nutrients and has its separate use in the culinary and medicinal world.

In this article, we will talk about the health benefits of nutmeg and ways to use it.

Nutritional Value Of Nutmeg

100 g of nutmeg spice contain 525 energy kcal, 6.23 g water and it also contains:

  • 5.84 g protein
  • 36.31 g total fat
  • 49.29 g carbohydrate
  • 20.8 g fibre
  • 2.99 g sugar
  • 184 mg calcium
  • 3.04 mg iron
  • 183 mg magnesium
  • 213 mg phosphorus
  • 350 mg potassium
  • 16 mg sodium
  • 2.15 mg zinc
  • 1.027 mg copper
  • 2.9 mg manganese
  • 1.6 mcg selenium
  • 3 mg vitamin C
  • 0.346 mg thiamine
  • 0.057 mg riboflavin
  • 1.299 mg niacin
  • 0.16 mg vitamin B6
  • 76 mcg folate
  • 8.8 mg choline
  • 102 IU vitamin A

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1. Reduces inflammation

Chronic inflammation is associated with serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. The anti-inflammatory compounds called monoterpenes, including terpineol, sabinene and pinene found in nutmeg may aid in lowering inflammation in the body. In addition, the presence of phenolic compounds in nutmeg has been shown to exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties [2] [3].

One animal study showed that nutmeg oil had the potent ability to reduce inflammation-related pain and joint swelling [4]. However, further studies are needed to show the anti-inflammatory effects of nutmeg on humans.

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2. Fights bacterial infections

Research studies have shown the antibacterial properties of nutmeg against harmful strains of bacteria. A test-tube study showed that nutmeg extract exhibited antibacterial effects against bacteria that cause cavities and gum inflammation [5]. Another study showed the antibacterial activity of nutmeg against the growth of E. coli bacteria [6].

However, further research studies are required to show the antibacterial effects of nutmeg on humans.

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3. Boosts libido

Animal studies have found that nutmeg may boost sexual performance. A study published in the BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies showed male rats that were given high doses of nutmeg extract experienced an increase in sexual activity and sexual performance [7].

More research studies are needed to show the effects of nutmeg on sexual health in humans.

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4. May improve heart health

Animal studies have pointed out that the intake of high doses of nutmeg supplements lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are the major risk factors for heart disease [8]. However, human studies are lacking in this area.

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5. Fights oxidative stress

Nutmeg possesses powerful antioxidants that protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals. An increase in free radicals leads to oxidative stress, which has been linked to serious conditions like heart disease and cancer. Studies have shown the antioxidant effects of nutmeg extract against free radicals [9].

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6. May control blood sugar levels

Animal studies have shown diabetic rats that were given 100 and 200 mg/kg of nutmeg extract helped in significant reduction of blood sugar levels [10]. However, further research studies are needed in humans.

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7. Improves mood

Depression is a common mental illness that affects most people. Animal studies have shown that nutmeg extract exhibits antidepressant activity [11] [12]. Though the study has been done on animals more studies are needed to evaluate the antidepressant effects of nutmeg on humans.

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Possible Side Effects Of Nutmeg

When consumed in limited quantities nutmeg is generally considered safe. But, consuming nutmeg in excess can cause nausea, vomiting and hallucination. Researchers found that nutmeg contains myristicin oil which has been shown to exhibit toxic effects [13]. So, avoid consuming large amounts of nutmeg.

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Ways To Include Nutmeg In Your Diet

  • You can add nutmeg powder in desserts, including cakes, cookies, and custard.
  • Add nutmeg in savoury and meat-based recipes.
  • You can pair the spice with other spices like cloves, cinnamon and cardamom to give an intense flavour to your dishes.
  • Add the spice to warm and cold beverages.
  • You can sprinkle nutmeg powder on oatmeal, yogurt and fresh fruit salad.
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Nutmeg Recipes

Nutmeg and ginger tea [14]

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • ½ cm crushed ginger
  • ¾ tsp tea leaves
  • 2 tbsp milk (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)

Method:

  • In a bowl, add nutmeg powder, ginger and pour water. Boil it for two to three minutes.
  • Add tea leaves and turn off the heat. Allow it to sit for a minute.
  • Add milk and sugar. Enjoy your cup of nutmeg tea!

Common FAQs

Q. How much nutmeg is safe per day?

A. Add small amounts of nutmeg in your food.

Q. Is nutmeg good in coffee?

A. Yes, you can sprinkle nutmeg powder in coffee.

Q. Is nutmeg good for anxiety?

A. Yes, nutmeg can help alleviate depression and anxiety.