Cardamom is one of those spices that have a great aroma and countless benefits. No wonder she is called the “ queen of spices ”.
The seed of this plant has vitamins and minerals that together can help improve intestinal health, lower cholesterol and even fight cancer.
Cardamom also helps regulate metabolism and is directly linked to blood sugar regulation, being a great ally in controlling diabetes.
Modern science has already proven that there are many other interesting health benefits. do you want to meet them? Read on!
10 Cardamom Health Benefits
According to Matheus Motta, nutritionist at Weight Watchers, “cardamom has vitamins A, B and C and minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. It has antiseptic and expectorant action, being an ally against colds”.
It is also composed of copper, potassium, manganese, zinc, potassium and phosphorus. What makes it possible to accumulate antioxidant, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties , among others.
“All these components play important roles in blood circulation, growth, tissue regeneration and repair, bone density, sex hormones and even in general metabolic health”, says the expert.
1. Improves digestive health
Consumption of cardamom, whether in the form of tea or as a spice, favors the secretion of certain juices from the gastrointestinal tract, helping to keep stomach acids under control. This prevents digestive disorders, such as heartburn , and consequently can lessen the occurrence of stomach ulcers.
According to nutritionist Matheus Motta, this benefit is due to the number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in its extract, such as the methanol extract.
In addition, the consumption of the spice also reduces muscle spasms in the abdominal region and because it contains fiber , it treats constipation , preventing gas and bloating problems.
As it is antibacterial, its consumption can also help protect the body against bacteria, such as Salmonella, which causes food poisoning. ( 1 )
2. Favors heart health
Cardamom is a great ally for our cardiovascular health.
That’s because it has in its composition phytonutrients and antioxidants that improve conditions for better blood circulation , lowering blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels .
Furthermore, as it is a natural diuretic, consuming it favors the excretion of sodium and potassium through the urine, which helps to control hypertension.
3. Fights bad breath
Anyone who has oral problems such as bad breath , cavities and bleeding gums can use these seeds as a home remedy. And it’s not just because of its strong aroma, able to mask the odor, but also thanks to its antibacterial benefit.
In India, it is common for people to chew a few cardamom pods after meals. And that doesn’t happen chance. The cineole found in its essential oil has been shown to be a strong antiseptic , killing bacteria and germs that can cause oral problems. ( 2 )
Cineole is the main component (90%) of the essential oil extracted from eucalyptus.
4. Reduces respiratory diseases
Due to their anti-inflammatory property, these seeds and their extracts have been used as a natural remedy to treat respiratory ailments.
In addition, due to its bronchodilator effect, inhaling cardamom oil decreases the resistance of the airways and increases the air passage to the lungs, favoring better breathing.
5. Prevents and fights cancer
The antioxidant compounds present in it, like polyphenols, also help fight cancer.
Supplementation with the seeds was effective in decreasing, delaying, and even preventing the growth of tumors, and could prevent skin and stomach cancers . ( 4 )
The active compounds that demonstrated anticancer abilities were terpene-limonene, cineole and gamma-bisabolene. They showed a significant reduction in general inflammation, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells and initiates the death of infected cells. ( 4 )
In addition, these compounds also help fight free radicals, molecules responsible for increasing oxidative stress, which generates many of the serious and life-threatening diseases.
6. Benefits skin and hair
The vitamins, minerals and antimicrobial properties of this spice not only benefit internal health, but are also perfect for keeping the skin healthy and free from all kinds of problems, such as infections and acne , says nutritionist Matheus Motta.
“It has attributes and enzymes that not only delay the signs of aging , but also help make the skin cleaner without any difficulty. The antioxidants present in it help in this regard”, emphasizes the professional.
Plus, it’s not only beneficial to the skin, but it can also contribute to hair growth and health, as well as treating scalp problems and infections.
7. Lose weight
According to the nutritionist, consuming cardamom tea is one of the methods that can help in weight loss .
That’s because “the powerful antioxidant compounds improve the conditions of metabolic syndrome, which include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.”
Scientific studies found that cardamom supplementation improved liver and heart function, favoring the loss of body weight in those with metabolic syndrome (due to a diet high in fat and carbohydrates). ( 5 )
This detoxifying function is essential to clean the liver , an organ that plays an important role in digestion, immunity, metabolism and nutrient storage.
A three-month treatment with cardamom resulted in an increase in antioxidant enzymes and improved overall liver function. ( 6 )
9. Strengthens bones
It has considerable levels of iron and manganese. While iron is needed for oxygen in the blood, manganese is responsible for maintaining good bone health.
It is also rich in riboflavin (vitamin B2), essential for maintaining healthy eyes, skin, mouth and hair.
“Riboflavin helps in the proper growth of the body, as one of its functions is to break down proteins and carbohydrates in food”, says the nutritionist, adding that the substance also helps in the proper use of oxygen the body for better organ functioning.
10. Prevents thrush
The spice can inhibit the growth of many cultures of candida yeast, which causes candidiasis.
The active ingredients found in cardamom essential oils interfere with the proteins in the bacterial membranes of these pathological agents, causing their death.
How to use cardamom?
Extremely versatile, cardamom can be used in many ways. In gastronomy, he goes into the preparation of sweet dishes, such as cakes and desserts; savory foods such as breads and soups; and hot or cold beverages such as tea, coffee and soft drinks. Check out some recipes:
- 1 cup skim milk or water
- 1 piece of fresh ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon of cardamom
- 1 tablespoon of sugar (optional).
Boil all ingredients, cover and let stand for about three minutes. And it’s ready to take.
Coffee with cardamom
- 1 teaspoon of coffee
- 1 puff of cardamom
- 180 ml of water.
Put the coffee, cardamom and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and let the coffee go down. Repeat this procedure 3 times and then remove the foam that has formed on top of the coffee. After that, just serve yourself.
orange and cardamom cake
- 8 egg whites
- 300 g of wheat flour
- 200 g of sugar
- 100 g of butter
- 150 ml of orange juice
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- Half lemon and half orange zest
- 2 teaspoons of cardamom.
Beat the egg whites and set aside. Mix the sugar and butter until it forms a smooth paste. Add the orange zest, lemon and cardamom. Add orange juice, wheat flour and yeast and stir. Finally, add the egg whites. Heat for 30 minutes.
To make your chicken more interesting, you can season it with a few pinches of cardamom and some bay leaves.
You can add a scoop or two of the powdered version for extra flavor and aroma to your sweet recipes like desserts and cakes.
Boil a glass of water with some cardamoms, some fennel seeds and a piece of ginger. Drink this mixture on an empty stomach every morning to get rid of digestive ailments.
Cardamom soaked in boiling water is recommended as a morning gargle solution to control sore throat . This is suggested due to the antibacterial properties.
Cardamom essential oil
The essential oil extracted from cardamom seeds contains numerous bioactive ingredients that act as antioxidants. In addition, he is able to:
- Facilitate digestion and maintain gastrointestinal balance
- Improve respiratory health
- calm the stomach pains
- Improve mood.
Contraindications and side effects
Despite the benefits, the nutritionist warns that “high concentrations of tea can cause vomiting . People with inflammatory bowel disease, gallstones and colic should avoid it. It is not recommended for use in women suffering from endometriosis, in addition to pregnant and lactating women”.
What is cardamom and what is its origin?
Cardamom is a plant in the Zingiberaceae family (the same as ginger ), and is native to the humid forests of southern India, where it is believed to have been cultivated for over 4,000 years.
Today the plant is grown in Nepal, Thailand and Central America. In Brazil, you can find cardamom in markets or fairs and in specialty stores.
Cardamom was believed to have aphrodisiac properties. The spice was also used against impotence, probably because of its benefits to blood circulation.