15 Health Benefits of Cardamom

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Cardamom is a spice derived from seed pods of the cardamom plant that belongs to the ginger and turmeric family. It has a sweet flavor and aroma with a slightly minty aftertaste. It is native to South India and is a staple in many iconic Indian dishes such as biryani and kheer. This tiny herb packs a flavorful punch in any dish, but its use goes beyond the kitchen.

Cardamom has impressive medicinal properties and has been used as a medicine for centuries. It supports digestion, enhances appetite, and treats common infections. With that, here are 15 health benefits of cardamom you should know about.

1. Lower Blood Pressure

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High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition whereby the force of blood pushing against the vessels is consistently higher than regular blood pressure. This pressure can damage the arteries in the long run and lead to chronic heart diseases like heart attack and stroke. Therefore, people with high blood pressure need to lower it. Thankfully, cardamom is just the thing for hypertension patients because of its diuretic properties. 

Diuretics help flush out extra water and salt from the body through increased urination. Constant urination reduces the fluid in our blood vessels, which decreases the force of blood in our arteries, thus lowering blood pressure.

2. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

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Much like our pressure, we need to keep our blood sugar levels in normal range and prevent it from spiking. High blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance. This means our body cannot convert all the sugar for energy, which causes it to stay in the bloodstream. This increases our sugar level and, in the long run, can cause diabetes, a chronic condition that severely affects the quality of your life.

Cardamom is often considered an effective remedy for regulating blood sugar levels. It is rich in manganese, a mineral that is pivotal in controlling blood sugar levels. According to a study by Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, people who regularly took magnesium had a 22% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who did not.

3. Detoxifies The Body

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We might be unaware, but our body is constantly exposed to toxins like pollutants, chemicals from cleaning products and cosmetics, heavy metals, and processed foods. Some of these toxins are harmful and can have adverse effects on our health. Experts recommend going on a detox if you are experiencing symptoms like unexplained fatigue, irritated mind, frequent mood swings, acidity, and bloating.

During a whole-body detox, you are supposed to change your lifestyle, and one such way is to include clean food, like cardamom in your diet. As mentioned earlier, cardamom is a diuretic. It will remove toxins from the body through increased urination.

4. Improve Oral Health

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Our oral health is just as important as our physical and mental health. When we have poor oral health, it causes an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth and leads to oral infections and disease. If left untreated, this allows infection to enter the rest of our body and, in severe cases, could lead to chronic diseases like endocarditis, heart attacks, or strokes.

Cardamom contains an active compound called cineole, which has antimicrobial properties that promote oral health. Additionally, the acrid taste of cardamom stimulates saliva, which neutralizes the acid produced by bacteria in our mouth.

5. Cure Cough And Cold

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The next time you are down with a cough and cold, you might want to try sipping cardamom tea. Cardamom is rich in antioxidants that help fight viruses that cause the common cold. When we are down with a cold and cough, our respiratory system is affected due to excess mucus.

Cardamom loosens the mucus and expels it from the respiratory tract. Its anti-inflammatory and healing properties soothe nasal congestion and suppress coughing fits. Not only does it help us recover from frequent infections, but it also keeps our system strong and active and helps combat common diseases. 

6. Support Weight Loss

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Cardamom falls within the category of foods for weight loss. As mentioned earlier, it helps improve digestion by increasing the production of enzymes. Improved digestion allows us to process foods quickly, absorb nutrients our body needs, and eliminate waste efficiently. 

Another way cardamom supports weight loss is through its hormone, melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone found in the spice that is known for increasing metabolism and helping weight loss. The hormone converts fat into energy instead of storing it and positively impacts the process of burning calories.

7. Treat Infections

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Another benefit of cardamom is that it treats infection. Cardamom is rich in cineole, a potent antiseptic that keeps infection and bacterial problems at bay. It also contains flavonoids and polyphenols that prevent the body from inflammation, a known cause of bacteria overgrowth, which causes infections.

These claims are backed by evidence as well. Several researchers discovered that cardamom extracts and essential oils had active ingredients that inhibited the survival of several common strains of bacteria. Current Medical Mycology found that cardamom extracts prevented the growth of Candidafungal infection-causing yeast. Meanwhile, the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Science discovered cardamom extracts were as effective as standard drugs against bacteria that caused food poison. 

8. Offer Anti-Cancer Properties

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Cardamom also shows promise as a natural cancer treatment. Cardamom extracts contain compounds like indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane. These compounds enhance immunity and act as an anti-inflammatory tool that prevents the growth and kills off certain cancer cells. 

According to an animal study, cardamom powder increased the production of certain enzymes that prevented and delayed the growth of cancer-causing tumors. It also encouraged their death.

9. Enhance Appetite

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Our human body needs appetite, our body's built-in mechanism for the desire to consume food. It motivates a person to eat to meet their energy and nutrient requirements. But sometimes, due to stress and other problems, we experience a loss of appetite. Left untreated, persistent loss of appetite can lead to lower calorie intake. 

So, if you are experiencing appetite loss, cardamom might be able to help. The active compounds in this spice increase the production of ghrelin, a hormone known to stimulate appetite.

10. Improves Mood

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When we are in a bad mood constantly, it can lead to anxiety and depression. Depression, as we know, can severely affect the quality of our lives, and to prevent this, we should rely on food like cardamom. Cardamom essence and the essential oil contain Thiamine, a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress, and cortisol, a stress-causing hormone in the brain.

During aromatherapy, cardamom extracts and essential oils activate our sense of smell and are worked into our skin. These extracts and oils have warming and calming qualities that relieve headaches and stiff muscles during body massages.

11. Support Heart Health

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Our heart is a vital organ that pumps oxygen and blood throughout the body, which we need for survival. If we do not take care of our hearts, we are susceptible to heart diseases, and heart diseases can lead to disability and lower quality of life. There are many ways to keep the heart healthy, but the two main ones are reducing cholesterol levels and preventing blood clots.

Cardamom can help with both. The spice contains magnesium, which prevents fatty cells from being deposited in the tissues and lowers cholesterol levels in the body, thereby keeping our hearts healthy.

12. Strengthen Bones

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The magnesium in cardamom not only supports heart health but also strengthens bones. Our bones help us with mobility and protect vital organs like our heart and brain from injury. So, it is important for us to take care of our bones.

Cardamom is rich in magnesium and calcium, both of which strengthen our bones. Calcium is a mineral that hardens and strengthens our bones. However, calcium serves no purpose for our bones unless magnesium activates vitamin D, which metabolizes calcium. Calcium needs to work as a team with magnesium.

13. Promote Eye Health

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In ancient medicinal practice, cardamom was used to improve eye health and vision. The spice contains vitamin B2, or riboflavin, which is used to produce glutathione. Glutathione is a super antioxidant that boosts blood circulation and eliminates free radicals in the eye. This super antioxidant also protects the connective tissue in the eyes and keeps the cornea healthy and stable.

Additionally, riboflavin reduces oxidative stress associated with age-related macular degeneration. Experts claim that riboflavin deficiency increases sensitivity to light and leads to cataract development. 

14. Helps With Asthma

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Asthma is a long-term inflammatory disease that affects the respiratory tract system. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Some of these symptoms, especially ones that cause breathing problems, can be alleviated with cardamom. Cardamom is a warm food, meaning it raises the temperature of our body after eating it. 

This characteristic of cardamom helps melt the phlegm in the chest and relieves chest congestion, making it easier to breathe. Additionally, the flavonoids and cineole also help with breathing.

15. Soothe Digestive Problems

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Most gastrointestinal problems are a consequence of severe acidity in our stomach caused by a sedentary lifestyle, constant overeating, and not eating on time. These factors decrease the production of enzymes or proteins that break down food. As a result, we suffer from problems like indigestion, flatulence, burping, loss of appetite, and constipation.

To soothe such problems, health experts recommend popping a cardamom after a meal. The tiny herb contains a compound called menthone, which helps activate our taste and sensory elements and enables the secretion of enzymes that increase the movement of food through the intestine.

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