Nutmeg is a seed from the tree species of genus Myristics native of Banda islands of Indonesia.
Nutmeg as an astringent widely finds its application for flavoring dishes for the fragrance.
In India, nutmeg is used in sweets and savories, juices and many other food preparations. Its powder is also used for smoking in some parts.
Different uses are made of nutmeg by people of different countries either as a spice in their food recipes or as an ingredient in medicines.
The nutrients in nutmeg are many with significant health benefits.
100 gm. of nutmeg powder provides 525 calories energy, 49.29gm carbohydrates,5.84gm protein,36.31gm total fat equal to 180% Recommended Daily Amount (RDA), cholesterol 0%, 20.8gm. Dietary fiber (15%RDA).
Vitamins present are, thiamine 0.346mg (29%RDA), folates 76 microgram (19%RDA), pyridoxines 0.16 mg (12%RDA), niacin1.299 mg (8%), vitamin C 3mg (5%), vitamin A 102IU (3.5%), riboflavin 0.057mg (4%).
Minerals present are, Manganese 2.9mg (126%RDA), copper1.027mg (114%), magnesium 183mg (46%), iron 3.04mg (38%) Phosphorous 213mg (30%), zinc 2.15mg (20%) and calcium 184mg (18%).
Electrolytes present are, potassium 350mg (7.5%RDA) and Sodium 16mg (1%RDA).
Health benefits of Nutmeg
Culinary uses of nutmeg are well known but the health benefits provided are much more significant. Some of the health benefits are:
Remedy for Insomnia
Insomnia or sleeplessness make people restless even during day time and leads to many health disorders. A pinch of nutmeg powder with warm milk is a good remedy. The high magnesium content of nutmeg relieves nervous tension and stimulate release of serotonin. Serotonin relaxes the body and induce sedation. Serotonin in nutmeg converts to melatonin in the brain which induces sleep.
Fiber content in nutmeg promotes the peristaltic motion of the intestine muscles. By inducing secretion of gastric and intestinal juices, nutmeg improves the digestive process. Subsequently, it bulks up the bowel movement and prevents frequency of excretion and also constipation. Most of the intestinal disorders are addressed by nutmeg.
Nutmeg eliminates the toxins from the liver and the kidney. Toxins move to the kidney and liver due to consumption of food, alcohol, drugs or even due to pollution. In addition to removing such accumulation of toxins, nutmeg dissolves the kidney stones. Nutmeg improves the overall functioning of the kidney and liver.
Some of the methonolic oils and essential oils extracted from nutmeg has the potential to prevent apoptosis, which is mutation of healthy cells causing leukemia. Leukemia is a dangerous type of cancer that particularly affects children. Proliferation of Jurkat Leukemia cells is effectively kept under check by methanol extract of nutmeg.
Nutmeg reduces stress and mental exhaustion in addition to stimulating brain. The oil of nutmeg has the potential to increase circulation and acts as a brain booster. Nutmeg is an effective remedy for anxiety and depression.
Stops bad breath
Nutmeg has antibacterial properties and is an effective remedy for halitosis or bad breath. Nutmeg is an important ingredient in many toothpastes and oral care products. It can also treat gum and tooth problems due to its antiseptic properties.
Due to its sedative property nutmeg finds its use in medicines to treat inflammation and abdominal pain. Nutmeg oil can alleviate pain due to joint pains, arthritis, muscle pain and sores. The oil of nutmeg also alleviates menstrual cramps.
Potassium in nutmeg controls the blood pressure. Iron and zinc in nutmeg are helpful in purifying the blood and eventually keeping the blood pressure under control. Manganese and copper present in high quantities in nutmeg are co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Nutmeg contains many b-complex vitamins like folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A and vitamin C, flavonoid antioxidants like beta carotene and cryptoxanthin all of which are essential in overall upkeep of the health. Particularly, Eugenol in nutmeg is beneficial to the health of the heart. Many essential oils extracted from nutmeg are widely used in pharmaceutical industries. This includes camphene, l-terpinol, genamiol, safrol, limonene, d-pinone and myristicin. These find their application in tooth pastes and cough syrups.
How to use
You can use nutmeg as a powder or grate and use it. Whole Nutmeg has a very long shelf life and hence you can powder or grate it as and when you need it to ensure that the nutrients remain intact. Use nutmeg in recipes if, and only if, it can be an ingredient as the flavor of nutmeg can overpower any dish. Always add nutmeg at the beginning of cooking to ensure even distribution of the spice in the dish.
When children cry during nights without any apparent reason, nutmeg paste with honey can induce sleep and stop crying.
Nutmeg may be safe to consume even during pregnancy. But there are chances that the hallucinogens may affect the fetes if consumed beyond the dosage level.
Overdose of nutmeg may result in lack of concentration, sweating and palpitation. In exceptional cases it may even lead to hallucination and delirium.