Surprising Health Benefits of This Delicious and Aromatic Fall Spice

Here’s a trivia question for you:  

Which US state is known as The Nutmeg State?  Here’s your hint– it’s where I live. 

The answer is…Connecticut!  And now, the more important question:  Why is my home called the nutmeg state. It’s not a tale that we should be terribly proud of, but the story goes that early inhabitants of this region were so ingenious and shrewd that they were able to sell fake nutmegs made of wood and pass them off as the real thing. Those wooden nutmegs were not worth much…but a real nutmeg is valuable indeed.  This article by my team at UpWellness is all about the surprising health benefits of this delicious and aromatic autumn spice. 

Enjoy! 

-JL

It’s that time of year again. The fragrance of fall has arrived as temperatures dip, and warming spices step into the spotlight. One such spice is nutmeg, made from the seed of Myristica fragrans, a tropical evergreen tree that native to Indonesia. The comforting, slightly nutty flavor of nutmeg is a popular addition to teas, ciders, desserts, and curries. As impressive as nutmeg’s flavor profile is, it also has some fantastic health properties as well. Let’s unwrap the reasons why you should be eating more nutmeg today.

Nutmeg contains powerful antioxidants

Even though the seeds from which nutmeg is derived are tiny, they are packed with antioxidants, which protect cells from free radical damage.

Elevated levels of free radicals in the body can cause oxidative stress. This is associated with the onset and exacerbation of many common conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. 

Studies support that nutmeg extracts contain powerful antioxidants that protect from free radicals.

Nutmeg is packed with anti-inflammatory properties

Out of control inflammation within the body is linked to many severe health conditions, including diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Nutmeg contains numerous anti-inflammatory compounds, including sabinene, terpineol, and pinene.  

These properties, combined with antioxidants like cyanidins and phenolic compounds, produced a powerful anti-inflammatory double punch.

In one study, rats were injected with a solution that caused inflammation. When given nutmeg oil, they experience marked reductions in inflammation and inflammation-related pain and joint swelling.

Nutmeg might boost your libido

There is some indication that nutmeg may give libido a lift. In one study, male rats who were given a high dose of nutmeg extract experienced a measurable increase in sexual activity and performance when compared to a control group.  Another study using mice showed a significant increase in sexual activity when compared to a control group. Although researchers are not quite sure how nutmeg impacts libido, it is thought that the effects are due to its impact on the nervous system. More studies are needed involving humans.

Nutmeg contains antibacterial properties

Nutmeg has been proven to have potent antibacterial impacts against harmful strains of bacteria. Specifically, bacteria like Streptococcus mutans and Aggregaibacter actinomycetemcomitans that cause dental cavities and gum disease. A test-tube study discovered that nutmeg extract was powerful against the bacteria that cause dental cavities and gum disease along with other bacteria, including Porphyromonas gingivalis that has been linked to cavities and gum inflammation. In addition, nutmeg has been found to inhibit the growth of dangerous strains of E.coli bacteria, such as O157, which can cause severe illness and even death in humans.

Additional health benefits of nutmeg

In addition to the benefits above, nutmeg has also been found to have the following health benefits.

Heart health –  Animals studies demonstrate that high levels of nutmeg supplements reduced risk factors of heart disease such as high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels.

May boost mood – Animal studies have shown that nutmeg extract encouraged significant antidepressant impacts on mice and rats.

May improve blood sugar control –  Animal studies show that high doses of nutmeg extract can significantly reduce blood sugar and improve pancreatic function.

Bottom line

Nutmeg is a spice that can be found worldwide; its rich and nutty flavor partners well with many foods, and it is a star in a number of sweet and savory dishes. All of this, along with its powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, make it an excellent spice to include in daily dishes. More human research is needed to confirm doses and applications that have been seen in animals studies

Fall Coconut Coffee

This coffee is perfectly paired with a beautiful fall morning!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh brewed organic coffee
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons of raw honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg

Note: Enjoy this warming spice in small amounts as high doses can cause side effects.

-The UpWellness Team

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