Top Reasons To Add Cardamom To Your Diet
Written by: Kavata Kithome
My love affair with cardamom began when my mother decided to surprise me with her own spin on chai. This amazing tea blew my mind and made my taste buds explode.
My mother watched me as I drank the chai with elation until every drop was gone. I had to know how she made it, what was in it and if she could henceforth make chai every day.
Okay, full disclosure, her recipe isn’t what most people know chai to be, it didn’t have milk or cinnamon, so one could argue that it was not chai at all. That is fine, because I love my mother’s recipe and it’s thanks to her that I consistently benefit from the healing powers of cardamom.
What Is Cardamom?
Cardamom originated in India, Nepal and Bhutan, but today is available in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea and Japan as well. It is warmly regarded as the queen of spices and is one of the most expensive spices only third to saffron and vanilla. It is found in the form of a small pod with black seeds inside that give its amazing aroma and flavor. It is used for flavoring in Indian cuisine, not only for the dishes and desserts, but also to flavor and complement beverages.
Cardamom is rich in various vitamins and micronutrients as well. These include niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin C, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc. Aside from all these amazing micronutrients, cardamom has a myriad of health benefits.
Here are 18 reasons you should incorporate cardamom in your diet:
1. Anti-Carcinogenic Properties: Studies conducted by Sengupta et al. at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in Kolkata have shown that dietary cardamom has a positive result in counteracting colorectal cancer by up to 48%.
2. Good For Cardiovascular Health: Research at the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the College of Pharmacy of King Saud University, Saudi Arabia showed that cardamom can lower heartbeat or control rhythm and hypertension.
3. Control Of Cholesterol: The micronutrients found in cardamom can counteract the surge of lipids in the body. A study at the Pharmacology and Toxicology Division at Hindustan Antibiotics Limited in Pune, India by Dhuley, found that the antioxidant enzymes from cardamom had an influence on the cholesterol levels in mice, which were fed a high-fat diet.
4. Antidepressant: Cardamom is believed to possess antidepressant properties and is used in aromatherapy. It can be used not only for depression, but also as a remedy for various other diseases ranging from stomach disorders to pulmonary diseases.
5. Treating Urinary Disorders: Cardamom has been used as a remedy for urinary tract diseases and infections such as cystitis, nephritis and gonorrhea.
6. Protection Against Gastrointestinal Diseases: Cardamom has been used traditionally as a remedy for gastrointestinal disorders. The methanolic extract from cardamom is the component that helps in controlling gastrointestinal disorders such as acidity, flatulence and stomach cramps.
7. Antimicrobial Properties: Cardamom was thought to possess infection-fighting properties. Experiments were conducted on the volatile extracts of cardamom. It was observed that the oils from cardamom were able to inhibit the growth and spread of some of the very dangerous microbes that regularly cause food poisoning.
8. Anti-Spasmodic Properties: Researchers Al-Zuhair et al. at the King Saud University in Saudi Arabia concluded that cardamom can be used as a controlling measure for muscle spasms
9. Dental Diseases: Traditional Chinese and Indian medicine have used cardamom for dealing with dental problems for centuries.
10. Anti-Asthmatic Property: Cardamom can also be used as a remedy for asthma and other respiratory issues. Studies have shown that cardamom is effective in opening up constricted wind pipes and is also effective in causing relaxation to the tracheal tissues.
11. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Cardamom is good for muscle and joint pain. Recent studies have shown that cardamom possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
12. Detoxification: Your metabolic processes release toxins and free radicals that have to be flushed out to remain healthy and prevent diseases like cancer and premature aging. Cardamom is known to act as a detoxifying agent.
13. Improved Blood Circulation: Cardamom has been used to aid symptoms of asthma and bronchitis by improving blood circulation to the lungs.
14. Good For Nausea And Vomiting: Traditionally, cardamom has been used as a remedy for nausea. Cardamom is an effective tonic and stimulant and is good for calming the sensations of nausea and vomiting.
15. Aphrodisiac Properties: Because this spice gives out a sweet flavor, cardamom is regarded as an aphrodisiac and believed to possess the cure for impotency and premature ejaculation.
16. Sore Throat: For sore throats, cardamom acts as a good remedy. Cardamom and cinnamon can be both boiled in water and used to gargle every morning to help control painful sore throats.
17. Hiccups: Hiccups can be very annoying; cardamom is another very effective remedy. Take a few pods of cardamom and boil them in water. Next time you have hiccups, you don’t need anyone to scare you, just drink this water.
18. Breath Freshener: Cardamom pods and seeds can be chewed as breath fresheners. The flavors and aroma found in cardamom are due to the presence of essential oil.
If you have never used cardamom before, try one of these recipes:
- 2 tsp cardamon pods
- 1 tsp cardamon powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 5 tsp black tea or red tea of your choice
- ½" or 1" of fresh ginger grated
- Honey to taste
- Make the tea mixture by combining the first 4 ingredients in a small container. Then lightly crush the cardamom pods within the mixture and shake to mix it all together. You can double or triple this mix for a big batch.
- Boil about 4 cups of water in a pan and then add 3-4 tablespoons of the tea mixture and simmer for 5-10 min. Then bring back to a full boil and add the ginger while boiling for 30 seconds. Add almond/coconut milk and honey to taste, do not bring back to a boil, just warm enough for your liking.
- Strain and enjoy!
I am very passionate about cardamom; it is truly one of my favorite spices. I always look for ways to incorporate this amazing delicious spice in my diet every day.
Cardamom Buttermilk Roasted Chicken And Potatoes With Apple Spiced Brown Rice
Author: This recipe is courtesy of friends over at Cooking on the Weekends
- For the chicken and potatoes:
- 2-½ cups buttermilk
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2-½ tsp minced garlic (2 to 3 cloves)
- 1 tbsp honey
- Approximately 4-1/2- pounds cut-up whole chicken (bone in, skin off)
- 1 pound Idaho Baby Dutch Yellow potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the rice
- Olive oil for the pot
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1-¼ cup finely chopped apple, peeled (about 1 apple - I like Granny Smith or Fuji)
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 small cloves)
- 1 cup dry brown rice, rinsed
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup loosely packed, fresh basil leaves
- For the chicken and potatoes:
- Add the buttermilk, oil, cinnamon, cardamom, garlic and honey to a 9 X 13 X 2-inch baking dish, and use a whisk to blend the ingredients together.
- Add the chicken and potatoes and move the pieces around to be sure they are all well coated.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and ideally overnight (at some point about mid-way through, flip the chicken pieces over).
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and adjust a rack to the center.
- Remove the marinating chicken from the refrigerator. Remove the pieces of chicken and place them on a large plate and then use a spoon to collect the potatoes - add them to the plate as well. Do not wipe any remaining marinade off of the chicken pieces! Discard the liquid from the dish and do not wash it. Return the chicken and potatoes to the dish and season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place the dish in the preheated 400-degree F oven and roast until the chicken is just cooked through and is golden brown on top, about 35 minutes (you can cut a slit in the thickest part of one of the pieces - if the juices run clear and it's no longer pink, it's done).
- Remove the chicken from the dish and sprinkle it again with salt and pepper and set it aside.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, remove it from the bones and shred it into large pieces.
- Season the potatoes with a bit more salt and pepper and return them to the oven until they are tender and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Once you remove them from the oven, leave them in the dish and set them aside.
- For the rice:
- While the chicken is roasting, coat the bottom of a medium-sized sauce pot with olive oil, add the onion and place it over medium heat.
- Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the apple, cinnamon and garlic. Mix and then until the apple is tender, about 4 minutes.
- Add the rice and mix to be sure all of it is coated with oil - if it's not, add a bit more oil. At this point the bottom of the pot will be getting dark - that's okay (it's delicious flavor).
- Add the salt, honey and stock and use a wooden spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot a bit. Bring it to a boil. Then cover the pot, turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook until the rice has absorbed all of the stock, about 40 minutes.
- Season the rice if necessary with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the rice, chicken and basil leaves to the potatoes and stir to combine.
For more great ideas of how to use cardamom, check out his page. I encourage you to try one of these recipes and see how you like it and if you have a recipe, please share in the comments below so that we can all benefits from cardamom’s magic.
Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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