Indian cuisine is colourful, flavorful, and the spices not only add an interesting twist to food but also come with various health benefits that have been well chronicled since ancient times. One such spice among many others is Cardamom.
Interestingly, cardamom derives from the seeds of various plants in the ginger family, grown in regions of India, Indonesia and Guatemala.
This spice has a strong aroma and taste. Traditionally, Cardamom was considered a herb and was one of the key ingredients in Ayurveda. Even ancient Egyptians and Romans used this spice to infuse in their essential oils, used its strong flavour as mints and even for other medicinal purposes.
Cardamom was believed to be a cure for mouth infections, throat problems, congestion of the chest, gastrointestinal disorders and was also used as an antidote for poison and venom. Today, cardamom ranks among the most expensive spices in the world. Renowned for its aroma and flavour, Cardamom is used in numerous recipes, from spicy dishes to desserts and beverages. With the number of options steadily growing, more and more people consider supplementing cardamom into their diet for overall health.
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Nutritional Value of Cardamom (Elaichi)
100 grams of cardamom contains:
- Protein: 11 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Carbs: 68 g
- Total Fat: 7 g
- Calorific Value: 311 kcal
Cardamom has plenty of disease-preventing phytonutrients. It is also a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium and essential electrolytes.
Along with these, it is a gold mine of vital vitamins like vitamin C, niacin and riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Adding this whole spice to your food enriches it with tons of nutrients and minerals.
Cardamom pods are small spindle-shaped with a triangular cross-section. These pods contain a number of seeds, which can be used as a whole or the seeds can be ground to powder. The seeds are black and small, while the pods vary in colour and size by their species.
8 Health Benefits of Cardamom
This exotic spice is packed with tons of nutrients to nourish your body. Medicinal healers have been using Cardamom as a popular medicinal plant for over 5,000 years.
Cardamom comes in three different varieties, but green Cardamom is by far the most popular for both culinary and medicinal use. As we discussed, it contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and other micronutrients. These minerals and vitamins work together to give cardamom plenty of health benefits. We will be discussing a few in the below-given section:
1. Antioxidant Properties May Reduces High Blood Pressure
Cardamom is known to regulate high blood pressure with daily intake due to its diuretic effect. Since it is rich in antioxidants, it helps detoxify the blood and expel water collected around important organs by promoting frequent urination.
A research study published by the Indian Journal Of Biochemistry and Biophysics describes the daily consumption of cardamom and elaborates on its role to control blood pressure levels. The study also observed a decrease in the systolic (measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats), diastolic (measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats) in stage 1 hypertension patients.
2. Corrects Digestive Ailments
Indians use Cardamom in almost every dish because it aids in proper digestion. Cardamom is known to be a digestive stimulant and carminative.
This spice contains essential oil menthone that helps in alleviating gastrointestinal problems like clearing stomach ulcers, acid reflux and other problems. Its anti-inflammatory properties ease the burning sensation in the stomach and even eliminate nausea. Some people still use it to reduce motion sickness.
3. Fights Bad Bacteria
Cardamom is an age-old home remedy, used as a natural breath freshener. It is rich in antioxidants and other bacteria-fighting properties, and your oral health will be great if you consume it regularly.
The spice contains cardamom oil called cineole, which is known for its antimicrobial properties. It kills the unhealthy bacteria present on the palate and tongue, thus promoting oral health. Chewing cardamom seeds is known to effectively balance the pH level of the mouth, preventing the development of serious cavities and even gum diseases.
4. Relaxes You
Cardamom has a relaxing effect on people due to its antioxidants. It also fights the build-up of cortisol in your body, thus reducing stress and promoting easy breathing.
Sniffing cardamom essential oil or chewing a piece of it helps to beat stress as it is refreshing. Though considered premature as compared to other evidence-based science, cardamom is also a popular ingredient in aromatherapy and has helped in increasing the airflow to the lungs, thus providing more oxygen to the body. It is considered to aid physiological responses during exercise.
5. Post-Surgery Recovery
The hours after surgery are tough and filled with disorientation and dizziness with anaesthesia. Although, it generally depends on the intensity of the anaesthesia and body constitution.
A blend of cardamom and essential oils combined with ginger, lemon and lavender helps to clear your head, beat nausea and feel relaxed while you are awake.
6. Soothes and Reduces Inflammation
Cardamom also helps in clearing the sinuses for easier breathing. In case you have a form of respiratory inflammation, Cardamom may help clear any infection, bacteria or swelling with its antioxidants.
It also protects cells from damage and prevents inflammation in the body that can lead to chronic diseases. Therefore, it can be considered a soothing agent that is packed with anti-inflammatory compounds.
7. Relieves Respiratory Ailments
The spice contains an element known as cineole that acts as an antimicrobial that keeps bacterial infections affecting the lungs at bay.
Black cardamom helps in improving respiratory health. Asthma and wheezing can be reduced by using Cardamom in addition to regular medicine. It helps to clear the nasal passage and chest of phlegm to promote easier breathing. It has flavonoids that improve your oxygen intake by helping your lungs to relax in order to breathe long and deep.
8. Cardamom Benefits on The Skin and Hair
Clear Skin – Cardamom can be considered a saviour for acne-prone skin. It prevents breakouts and erases blemishes. It controls the flow of sebum and clears out all clogged pores. Its anti-inflammatory elements work to get rid of skin irritation and even out skin complexion.
Softer Lips – Chapped lips are no more concern due to the antioxidants present in Cardamom. Cardamom essential oils are added to lip balms for the fragrance and also to make the lips smooth.
2 Healthy Ways to Add Cardamom (Elaichi) to Your Diet
There are multiple healthy cardamom recipes that are not just delicious, but come loaded with other nutritious ingredients. Let’s find the different ways to use Cardamom to spice up your cooking.
#1 Banana Cardamom Smoothie
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 large frozen banana
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 pitted dates
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 1/4 cup Almond milk
- 1 pinch salt
- For this recipe, you need to add a frozen banana, a dollop of Greek yogurt, dates, ginger, milk, cardamom powder, and salt to a blender.
- Next, puree on high until completely smooth.
- Pour into glasses and serve chilled.
#2 Cardamom Rice Pulav
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- Seeds from 7 cardamom pod, bruised
- 1 cup Basmati brown rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Start by putting a medium saucepan over low heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Next, add a small finely chopped onion to the hot oil and saute for a minute.
- Add cardamom seeds and continue cooking for about 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
- Increase the heat to medium and then add in the uncooked rice. Cook and stir until it is warmed through.
- Then, turn on the flame to a high and pour in the broth, stir, and bring to a boil.
- Shred in some freshly grated lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, and stir well.
- Now, lower the heat, cover, and cook the rice until it is tender and has absorbed all (or almost all) of the liquid. It might take roughly 10-15 minutes, depending on the rice you’ve used.
- Remove the pan from heat and let the rice sit for 2 minutes before fluffing it with a fork and serving hot.
Used in the preparation of food, tea, and dessert, Cardamom is integrated in such a way that everybody can reap its long-term health benefits.
Cardamom may seem like a humble spice but it is a powerful medicine that can be used to live a disease-free life.
So what are you waiting for? Add that extra dash of flavor in your mundane foods to get a load of health benefits along with its lovely flavor and aroma.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What happens if you eat cardamom every day?
A. Having cardamom twice a day helps in resolving multiple bodily issues like it lowers blood sugar levels, controls high blood pressure, aids weight loss, corrects digestive ailments, etc. So, you can add cardamom to your tea, smoothy or rice and enjoy the meal without worrying a great deal about this spice being safe for daily consumption.
Q. What are the side effects of cardamom?
A. Though cardamom rarely has any side effects but anything in surplus is bad. Excess consumption of cardamom can sometimes lead to allergies and can also interfere with your medication if not consulted by a medical professional.
Q. What is cardamom best used for?
A. Cardamom is a warm spice that goes well with curries and poultries and even red meat. It is also a popular choice with teas, desserts and baked goods. You can also add it to prepare aromatic rice. Other than enhancing flavour, it also helps in improving health and wellbeing. It is great in eliminating coughs and colds and even help the immune system.
Q. Does cardamom reduce weight?
A. Cardamom is known to possess tons of antioxidants and antibacterial properties. It also is great for improving metabolism and reducing bloating. It contains compound melatonin, which promotes the fat burning process. So, that can help you shed some extra kilos.
Q. Is cardamom good for skin?
A. Yes, cardamom has some antibacterial properties that help with the healing of acne and breakouts. It also is known to clear blemishes.
Q. Is cardamom good for high blood pressure?
A. The antioxidant and diuretic properties of cardamom help in lowering high blood pressure.
Q. Is cardamom good for diabetes?
A. The anti-inflammatory and hypolipidemic properties in cardamom makes it suitable to manage blood sugar levels.
Q. Does cardamom help acid reflux?
A.Yes, Cardamom is known to improve digestion and help relieve stomach spasms. It is also helpful in reducing excess acid production.
Q. Does cardamom increase testosterone?
A. There are various studies that reflect upon the fact that cardamom extract enhances an antioxidant called glutathione in the body. Glutathione prevents damage to vital cellular components that are caused by free radicals and peroxides. The rise in the level of glutathione helps in increasing the level of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone. This hormone then stimulates the pituitary gland and secretes the Luteinizing hormone (LH). Finally stimulates the Leydig cells that secrete testosterone.