You must have enjoyed adding cardamon in many mouths watering dishes like kheer, Gulab Jamun, barfis and as a part of garam masala in curries, pulao, biryani and also in our favorite masala chai. Do you know cardamon is called the queen of spices for its pleasant fragrance and taste? After saffron, it is the most expensive spice in India. From ancient time, cardamon has been used in many Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines. Yes, apart from its amazing flavor, health benefits of Cardamom are something you can not ignore for long.
8 health benefits of cardamom –
Benefits of Cardamom 1 – Good source of nutrients
Cardamon has a notable source of choline which is crucial for DNA synthesis and producing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Besides this, cardamom is also rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc, and manganese which are essential for controlling heart rates, blood pressure and are an important component of blood fluid and cell.
Reference – Nutritive value of Indian Foods, 2016
Benefits of Cardamom 2 – Antioxidant property
Many of the phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals present in cardamon act as an antioxidant. Free radicals can cause damage to the cell membrane, change the DNA structure, etc. This magical spice helps in cleaning the free radicals from our body. For example, cardamon is rich in manganese. It acts as a cofactor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is a potent free radical scavenger.
Benefits of cardamon 3 – Antibacterial and Anti-inflammatory property
Cardamon is used as a traditional remedy for controlling gastrointestinal discomfort due to it’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Cardamon has an antibacterial effect to fight against salmonella, the bacteria leads to food poisoning and campylobacter, the bacteria leads to stomach inflammation. Recent studies found that cardamon extract alone could completely prevent or reduce the size of gastric ulcer by 50 percent. So whenever you have stomach upset just pop up 2 cardamon pods and chew it.
Benefits of Cardamom 4 – Acts as a mouth freshener
Do you know cardamon acts as a natural mouth freshener? Simply chewing on the seeds or drinking warm elaichi water can help to eliminate bad odor of mouth. Cardamom fight against the bacteria present in the mouth causing dental cavities and bad breath. It refreshes your breath. So forget chewing gum, go natural and try cardamom instead. Antimicrobial activity of Amomumsublatum and Elettariacardamomum against dental caries causing microorganism.
Benefits of cardamom 5 – Reduces Blood pressure
Recent studies have demonstrated that cardamon effectively reduces blood pressure by enhancing Fibrinolysis ( a process that prevents forming a blood clot and maintains normal blood flow) and act as an antioxidant for type 1 hypertensive patient. Research shows that cardamom has a diuretic effect (helps to urinate the excess water) and keep the blood pressure under control.
Benefits of Cardamom 6 – Use in aromatic therapy
The essential oil in cardamom has antiseptic, antidepressant, and antioxidant properties. Its oil is mainly used in aromatic therapy. Adding cardamon oil to bathing water helps to relieve stress, keeps skin healthy and relax the body and mind.
Benefits of Cardamom 7 – Fight against cancer
A study from the British journal of nutrition found that cardamom contains a compound which is potent enough to kill the cancer cell. A recent study indicates Bisabolene is one of the main components in cardamon which showed antiproliferative activities against human oral cancer. Quantitative phosphproteomic analysis reveal y-bisabolene inducing p53 medidatedappolses.
Benefits of cardamom 8 – Improves breathing and oxygen use
Cardamon may improve breathing by stimulating better oxygen uptake and relaxing air passage to the lungs. Cardamon is widely used in folk medicine for the treatment of asthma. One of the studies indicated that cardamon exhibits a bronchodilatory effect which provides a strong reason for medicinal use in asthma.
Benefits of cardamom 9 – Helps in maintaining healthy heart and liver
Studies have proved that cardamom has a protective effect on the heart and liver. Animal study suggests Cardamom may help to maintain normal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the body and thus can prevent atherosclerosis. Cardamon extract also helps in decreasing the elevated level of liver enzymes, prevents liver enlargement, may control liver weight by reducing the risk of fatty liver.
Green or black -which cardamom to use?
Cardamom is widely grown in Southern parts of India. Green cardamom comes from species Elettariacardamomum. Black cardamom comes from species Amomumsubulatum. Although green cardamom or choti elaichi is more commonly used in cooking, moti elaichi or black cardamom also lends an intense flavor in any preparation.
Green or black- feel free to use any of the species in regular cooking as both have mostly similar health benefits. A little amount is enough to impart the flavor. Instead of using the powdered cardamon, crush the seeds and use it fresh during cooking.
How much to use?
As mentioned earlier, overusing of even great food is harmful to health. So go slow. 2 pods of cardamom are fine for a day. Chew them as mouth freshener or use them in cooking – the choice is yours.
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The seeds, oil, and extracts of cardamon have impressive medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Scientific studies have also proved the antioxidant, antibacterial, disease preventing and health promoting properties of this queen spice. Therefore not only as a flavoring agent, do not miss to use 2 pods to avail the health benefits of cardamom. How about chewing cardamom instead of chewing gum? Try once.
About the author –
Vandana Kondepudi has done her postgraduation in Dietetics and Nutrition from SNDT Women University Mumbai. She has presented the thesis on dietary diagnosis in cardiovascular diseases and cancer. She worked as a nutritionist in a survey conducted by government organisation of Mumbai . She also worked as a ditetitian at Talwalkars Mumbai.
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