Among the most common spices in the world, nutmeg originated in the Banda Islands (located outside of Indonesia) and has really spread out since then. Nutmeg trees will start producing seeds after nearly a decade within being cultivated, and these seeds have many different uses. From being a standard spice to being used in oils, people have been finding nutmeg to be tremendously versatile and beneficial for their health.
Nutmeg has a very sweet taste compared to other spices, and is more commonly used in dessert-type dishes that contain some fruits. Here in the United States, nutmeg is considered a holiday spice that’s used most frequently with baked goods around Thanksgiving and in eggnog on Christmas. No matter how you’re using nutmeg, there are some great health benefits that you can get out of the spice. Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown of nutmeg and point out some of these benefits, but just know first that you should be using only the recommended amount (more on that later).
Nutrition of Nutmeg
When you look at the nutrition label for nutmeg, it might not seem like it’s going to be all that good for you. Especially when you consider that each tablespoon serving contains around 37 calories, with most of that coming from fat and very little from protein. After all, there is about 10 percent of your recommended maximum for saturated fat and four percent in total fat. Nutmeg also doesn’t carry any significant vitamins, with thiamin, vitamin B6 and folate being the only ones that register and less than five percent.
There is some fiber in nutmeg with 1.5 grams, and some important minerals. Manganese is the most significant in the bunch with 10 percent of your recommended value, while magnesium and copper are around five percent. Others in smaller amounts include calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. A good note here is that there’s no cholesterol and 4.3 mg of phytosterols. So how does this all add up to help you? Let’s see some of those health benefits from nutmeg.
Since the most abundant mineral found in nutmeg is manganese, it’s worth pointing out that the biggest benefit you get from more manganese is better bone health. Manganese helps to form and maintain bone mass, and you need more of it as you start to age. Manganese also helps your body to maintain solid levels of calcium, as deficiency of both this and phosphorus can lead to osteoporosis.
Nutmeg has been long heralded for its ability to alleviate arthritis, as well. Nutmeg has different pain relief compounds that control inflammation, which is what causes pain from arthritis. No matter what injury you have, nutmeg does have a positive effect for your body. Throwing it into your foods is an easy way to get some of these benefits.
Natural remedies to help you fall asleep and stay asleep have been tried over and over for many years. It can be hard for someone to find one that works, but among the most popular natural home remedies is nutmeg. There’s been a link that’s shown that nutmeg helps with insomnia because of the magnesium content. Magnesium stimulates the central nervous system and allows your body to produce more sleep-inducing serotonin.
One of the more common ways that people use nutmeg as a sleep aide is by adding a little bit to a drink right before lying down to bed. We mentioned earlier that you’ll want to make sure that you don’t take too much nutmeg at a time. An overdose of nutmeg might help you fall asleep, but it won’t be restful. Since it works the same way as some narcotics, it will do a lot more harm than good. We’ll touch on that more in a bit.
Easy to Digest
Digestive problems have always been fairly common amongst the world’s population, and it’s still an issue today. Despite more healthy food available, digestive issues are still common because many don’t get the proper nutrition from eating too many processed foods. Many of these foods contain little to no fiber, which leads to complications such as diarrhea, constipation and irregularity.
Nutmeg is a surprising source of fiber that many wouldn’t think if. While nutmeg doesn’t contain a ton of fiber per serving, it still provides you a boost that you need. However, it’s not the fiber content itself that makes nutmeg so good for your digestive health. The real benefit comes from powdered nutmeg stimulating your digestive muscles, which produce more gastric juices. This makes breaking food down easier, further making nutmeg great for people with chronic constipation.
Another thing that nutmeg has been used for as a home remedy for many generations is oral health. Nutmeg is still used today in certain dental products because of its ability to kill harmful bacteria. This bacteria can cause a wide range of problems that range from gum disease and tooth loss to simple bad breath.
For those that would be interested in making their own toothpaste, nutmeg is a fantastic ingredient along with cinnamon. Not only will it leave a good taste in your mouth, but it will leave some great benefits there too. Finding mints that contain these ingredients is also a quick way to make sure you’re ready for a big moment when you don’t have time to brush your teeth or use mouthwash.
One of the most common diseases among the elderly, it’s estimated that there are 5.5 million people in the United States alone living with Alzheimer’s disease, with more than 95 percent of them over the age of 65. It can be hard to watch someone you care about suffer from this disease, but using nutmeg can help you prevent Alzheimer’s and alleviate some of the symptoms. Nutmeg contains compounds called myristicin and macelignan, which keep your neural pathways healthier, leading to a drastic reduction in your chances for Alzheimer’s.
Summing it Up
Getting a dash of nutmeg into some of your recipes is going to bring these great health benefits, but we can’t stress enough that you should limit your nutmeg intake. The main reason is because nutmeg contains a chemical known as myristicin, which when taken in large doses acts as a hallucinogenic. It’s a pretty scary thought, and high doses of nutmeg being used as a drug started making the news back in 2010.
Those that took enough nutmeg also experienced some nasty side effects that included heart problems, nerve problems and digestive issues. As long as you’re responsible and only taking the recommended dosage of nutmeg, you won’t be experiencing any of these side effects. In fact, doctors have said that small amounts of nutmeg are both safe for people of all ages and even recommended. Just always read the label and you can enjoy nutmeg in a lot of different (and tasty) ways!