BENEFITS OF NUTMEG POWDER
Nutmeg is a spice derived from the seeds of Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree belonging to the family Myristicaceae.
The seeds (now referred to as nutmeg) are acquired from the tree and grinded into a powder form to give the nutmeg powder.
The tree which bears these seeds are native to Indonesia, India and Srilanka. It is the only tropical tree in the world that is known for bearing two distinct species- nutmeg and mace.
Mace is the reddish, lacyaril, or covering of the seed which is known for its mild flavor and the orange tinge it imparts to the dishes it is used in.
Nutmeg has a mild and slightly nutty flavor and is often used in desserts and curries, as well as drinks like mulled wine and chai tea.
Besides being an exotic spice with a sweet aroma; nutmeg is grouped under the category of aphrodisiacs foods – foods that are known to increase sexual drive.
When cooking with nutmeg, only small quantities such as a little grating or a pinch of the ground powder is used to make soup, meat, gravies, beef stew, steaks and roulades.
Although nutmeg is commonly used for its flavor than its health benefits, it contains an array of powerful compounds that may help prevent diaeases and promote general well being.
The leaves and other parts of the tree are used in extracting essential oils as well as nutmeg butter which is used for the purpose of beauty and skin care.
Nutmeg is packed with minerals such as magnesium, sodium and potassium and vitamins such as Vitamin B6, A and C.
The nutritional value of 100 grams of ground nutmeg is;
Total Fat 36 grams
Carbohydrates 49 grams which contains;
- Dietary fiber 21 grams
- Sugar 28 grams
Protein 6 grams
Sodium 16 mg
Potassium 350 mg
Cholesterol 0 mg
Calcium 0.18 mg
Iron 3 mg
Magnesium 183 mg
Vitamin C 3 mg
Vitamin A 30 mg
Vitamin B6 0.2mg
BENEFITS OF NUTMEG
- Has powerful and anti-inflammatory properties:
Nutmeg is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds such as monoterpenes, sabinene, terpineol, and pinene. These compounds may help reduce inflammation in the body.
They also contain many essential volatile oils such as myristicin, elemicin, eugenol, and safrole. According to the book DK Healing foods, Nutmeg volatile oils possess anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful for relieving muscle and joint pain.
Applying few drops of nutmeg essential oil on the affected area can treat inflammation, joint pain, swelling, muscle pain, and sores.
Nutmeg is thought to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the enzymes that promote it.
- Contains Powerful antioxidants:
The seeds from which nutmeg is derived are rich in plant compounds that act as antioxidants in your body.
Antioxidants are compounds that protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable and reactive molecules because they have an unpaired electron.
When free radicals levels become extremely high in the body, oxidative stress is bound to occur. This stress is associated with the onset and progression of diverse chronic conditions such as cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.
Antioxidants are responsible for keeping the free radicals in the body in check and neutralizing them to prevent cellular damage.
Some test-tube studies have shown that nutmeg extracts exhibit powerful antioxidants effects against free radicals.
- Effective Antibacterial properties:
Nutmeg has proven to have antibacterial effects against potentially harmful strains of bacteria like Streptococcus mutans and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans that can cause dental cavities and gum disease.
Nutmeg has also been found to inhibit the growth of harmful strains of Escherichia coli bacteria such as 0157 which can cause severe illness and even death in humans.
- Helps in treating Insomnia:
When consumed in smaller doses, nutmeg has calming effects. Many ancient medicinal practices credit it for its sleep-inducing and de-stressing effects.
Adding a pinch of nutmeg to a glass of warm milk and having it before you sleep can make you sleep easier and better. You can add in some almonds and a pinch of cardamom for more benefits.
- Improves digestion:
The essential oils present in nutmeg have a carminative effect on our system. So if you have digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or gas.
A home remedy to get rid of these digestive issues is to grate a pinch of nutmeg in your soap and stews when preparing it. This will help in the secretion of digestive enzymes bringing about relief.
Also, the fiber content present in nutmeg aids bowel movement. Reasons why many Indian desserts are laced with a little nutmeg.
- May Boost Libido:
Nutmeg is an aphrodisiac meaning it may enhance sex drive and performance.
A study experimented with rats showed that rats that were given high doses of nutmeg extract (227 mg per pound or 500 mg per kg of the body weight) experienced a significant increase in sexual activity and sexual performance time compared to a control group.
In traditional medicine such as the Unani system of medicine used in south Asia, nutmeg is used in treating sexual disorders. However, more research is still needed to prove the effect of nutmeg on the sexual health of humans.
- Treats bad breath:
A lot of toxicity in the system is what caused bad breath. Improper diets and unhealthy lifestyles can build up toxins in your organs.
Nutmeg is known to help in detoxifying the body, cleaning out toxins from the kidney and liver. The antibacterial properties of its essential oil help in removing bacteria from the mouth that causes bad breath.
Nutmeg is an ingredient in Ayurvedic toothpaste and many other paste varieties because of this benefit it possess. The essential oil Eugenol helps in relieving toothaches as well.
- Improves Skin Health:
Looking for a natural product that can do wonders for your skin? If yes, you should consider incorporating nutmeg into your regimen.
It holds so many benefits for the face and skin because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in keeping the skin healthy and supple by treating acne, unclogging pores, and blackheads.
Nutmeg works as a great face scrub. You can make a common home face scrub by mixing equal parts of ground nutmeg and honey.
Make a paste and apply it on pimples or acne marks. Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash with lukewarm water. It will make the scars less noticeable.
You can also make a paste using nutmeg powder and few drops of milk and massage it on your skin before rinsing clean. It can also be used in scrubs with orange peels, oatmeal e.t.c.
- Regulates Blood pressure and Circulation:
Nutmeg is rich in essential minerals that perform one or more functions in the body.
Potassium is a good vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels therefore decreasing blood pressure as well as decreasing the strain on the cardiovascular system.
Nutmeg also facilitates the absorbance of nutrients from food, making digestion easy and efficient.
The calcium content helps in enhancing the health of bones by contributing to repair and growth while relieving the signs of osteoporosis.
The iron content improves red blood cell count and lowers every symptom of iron deficiency also referred to as anemia.
SIDE EFFECTS OF NUTMEG
The major side effects that may be associated with nutmeg are likely to be as a result of taking it in high doses or in excess. Taking 20 to 30 grams which is about 6 tablespoons of nutmeg daily can bring severe reactions like;
- Gastrointestinal reactions: While nutmeg is good for digestion and treating diarrhea, excessive consumption of this spice can trigger diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and even constipation.
- Can cause hallucinations and feelings of highness: The essential oils in nutmeg contain a chemical compound called “Myristicin” a compound with powerful psychoactive properties.
When ingested in large proportions, they can cause hallucinations, highness, and loss of muscle coordination, drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, and confusion.
A reported case revealed that an 18 year old female after consuming almost 50 grams of nutmeg in the form of a milkshake began to complain of nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, and dry mouth roughly 30 minutes after consuming it.
Interestingly, nutmeg is sometimes taken recreationally to induce hallucinations and cause feelings of highness. It is often mixed with other hallucinogenic drugs which pose more side effects.
Between the year 2001 and 2011, 32 cases of nutmeg toxicity were reported in the United States of Illinois. 47% of these reported cases were related to deliberate ingestion by those using nutmeg for its psychoactive effects.
- Palpitation: Consumption of too much nutmeg can cause an increase in the rate of heartbeat. It is important you see a doctor immediately if you are experiencing heart palpitations.
- Affects Pregnancy: Large quantities of nutmeg can have an adverse effect on pregnant women and the fetus.
The hallucinogenic effect and palpitation effect can be dangerous to the fetus. It also inhibits the production of prostaglandin which is important during child’s birth.
Large doses of nutmeg can also cause miscarriages in women.
To avoid all these potentially harmful side effects, you should avoid eating large amounts of nutmeg and using it as a recreational drug.
HOW MUCH NUTMEG SHOULD YOU TAKE IN A DAY
Nutmeg is majorly used as a spice and very small amounts are usually required for cooking. Recipes only call for roughly ¼ to ½ teaspoon of nutmeg which is very safe.
According to a study at Illinois poison center, even 10 grams (approximately 2 teaspoons) of nutmeg is enough to cause symptoms of toxicity. Doses of 50 grams or more will cause more severe symptoms.
BEST USE OF NUTMEG FOR SKINCARE
- Nutmeg, Honey and Cinnamon mixture: Combining nutmeg, honey and cinnamon always makes a strong antimicrobial as well as germ killing paste.
Combine each one of these ingredients with equivalent proportions and use the mixture each morning. Keep it for 10- 15 minutes and then rinse with cold water. This helps in reducing scars and relieving acne.
- Nutmeg powder and honey paste: Using honey and nutmeg make a paste. Put it on your face and leave for 30 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water. This is perfect for blackheads.
- Nutmeg powder and Milk Facial: Mix 1 spoon of milk (for oily skin use toned milk and full fat milk for a dry skin) together with nutmeg and apply on your face.
Let it rest for 30 minutes and wash with cold water after this. It gives good facial effects.
- Nutmeg and Baking soda: Make a moderate consistency paste with these ingredients. Apply it on your face regularly. It helps to get rid of redness and puffiness on the face.
- Pure nutmeg paste: Whole nutmeg can be grated and used to form a paste. Cinnamon could be added but it is optional.
Keep the paste for an hour on your face and then rinse with cold water. This helps in making the skin smooth and supple. It also treats acne and blemishes on the skin.
- Nutmeg oil: Nutmeg oil is utilized as a volatile essential oil. It features a thin consistency with a spicy fragrance. Can be used in hair dyes, homemade creams, lotion and soaps.
Nutmeg oil could be taken daily as they are not any side effects in utilizing it. A standard of 5 drops is sufficient. You can combine milkshakes or a spoon of honey.
NUTMEG STORAGE TIPS
- When purchasing nutmeg, whole nutmeg seeds are preferable as they are unadulterated. The powdered one could be adulterated. If given an option, pick whole seeds but if you have to but the powdered nutmeg, make sure you are getting it from a good source.
Store whole nutmeg or powdered nutmeg within an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. This way, it may go on for many months.
- After grating parts, a fresh nutmeg seed, cover the rest in a plastic foil to protect its oil content.
Nutmeg is a very common spice found in many kitchens worldwide. Its nutty flavor pairs well with many dishes making it a very popular ingredient in most meals.
Nutmeg isn’t just a great spice with a wonderful flavor; it holds so many health benefits.
It contains powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds that act as antioxidants which may improve heart health, prevent cellular damage and control blood sugar. It also has good anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
To avoid the side effects associated with an overdose, make sure you use small amounts of nutmeg in your meals.