Cardamom is a spice that was once only popular in Indian cuisine and Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Nowadays, it has gained worldwide recognition as a direct relative to the ginger plant, and offering many of the exact same health benefits. It’s a minty spicy-sweet flavored seed derived from a plant grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions all over the world.
Cardamom, at any given time, is one of the top three most expensive spices on the entire planet. It’s often added to mild curry dishes in eastern India, and is equally prized for use in teas – as prized as its cousin the ginger root in fact. A special coffee containing the spice called “gahwa” is considered a necessity when entertaining company in East India, to the point it’s considered rude by many to not offer a cup or two to house guests.
There are two specific sub-species of the plant:
1. Elettaria: Known as “true” cardamom, is considered the truest form of the spice. Elettaria is green in color.
2. Amomom: An equally healthful and robust superfood, with the seed pods being larger than the green. “Amomom” simply refers to the color of the pods of this strain which can be red, black, or white.
Due to its balanced spicy-sweet flavor, cardamom can be added to almost any sweet or savory dish, in addition to most beverages. The spice offers a number of health benefits, many of which have yet to be discovered including: digestive issues, sore throat, mouth infections, congestion, lung, stomach and kidney problems, and has often been used as an antidote for spider and snake venom.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of adding cardamom to your daily diet regime.
Daily Value (per 100 grams):
• Calories: 311
• Fat: 10%
• Fiber: 112%
• Niacin: 7%
• Pyridoxine: 18%
• Riboflavin: 14%
• Thiamin: 16.5%
• Vitamin C: 35%
• Potassium: 24%
• Calcium: 38%
• Copper: 42.5%
• Iron: 175%
• Magnesium: 57%
• Manganese: 1217%
• Phosphorus: 25%
• Zinc: 68%
Studies confirm cardamom intake lowers blood pressure, balances cholesterol, enhances antioxidant activity, and reduces fibronolysis in patients suffering from early stage heart disease. The antioxidants, fiber, iron and magnesium in cardamom have a synergistic effect on improving heart health when consumed regularly.
Antioxidants like vitamin C help to prevent the oxidation of fats and cholesterol in the arteries, while fiber is known for its ability to balance HDL and LDL cholesterol levels. The iron found in cardamom makes up the center of every red blood cell tasked with the important job of transporting oxygen throughout the body, while magnesium is essential for regulating heartbeat.
Cardomom can help with symptoms of metabolic syndrome which almost always results in diabetes. There are a number of factors at work when cardamom is administered regularly including increased fiber intake and boosts in antioxidant profiles in the blood. It’s also thought that increased manganese plays a role in preventing and treating diabetes.
Cardamom is one of nature’s richest sources of manganese. Important markers including HbA1C and fasting blood glucose levels were both lowered following protocols with cardamom supplementation in studies like those linked in the previous paragraph. This led researchers to the conclusion that cardamom is an effective way to help reduce the effects of metabolic syndrome.
Even a small amount of cardamom is chocked full of dietary fiber. We’ve all been educated on the importance of adding more fiber in the diet in order to facilitate the forming of healthy, ease-to-pass stools. Fiber also contributes to gut health by acting as a probiotic which helps to prevent dangerous bacteria like Candida albicans and H.pylori from forming.
Another interesting finding about cardamom is that its one of the most effective spices found in nature at causing the liver to release bile. This study showed that cardamom beat out tumeric, hot peppers, ginger, and others in its ability to induce bile secretion. Science deduced that high levels of (the glucoside) a-terpeneol is the main reason for its success in this area.
Cardamom is among a number spices, herbs, and other types of superfoods that offer cancer prevention, and potential treatment benefits. There are several factors that contribute to the formation of cancer cells. One of the most common, aside from genetic issues that cannot be prevented, is uncontrolled oxidation in the cells.
As oxidation and the resultant cell damage it causes goes unchecked in the body, cancer spreads when malformed cells mutate and take over other healthy cells. As mentioned, cardamom is a powerful antioxidant, which doesn’t just work within the arteries to reduce heart disease but also throughout the body to curb cancer including colorectal cancer prevention and treatment.
Cardamom is often referred to as a “folk treatment” for acute asthma symptoms. While little of this benefit has been studied in the west, eastern cultures have used it for this purpose for centuries. The Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology even published this study proving cardamom to be a potent bronchodilator when tested on rabbits.
It’s believed the antioxidant abilities of cardamom, along with its stimulatory effect on the cardio-respiratory system helps to increase blood flow to the lungs, relaxing the airways and alleviating asthma symptoms.
6.Other Potential Benefits of Cardamom:
None of these benefits have been studied, but thousands of years of use in eastern medicine is enough validation for me.
• Freshens Breath: Chewing cardamom after meals is a great way to freshen your breath, and is a common practice in India.
• Mouth and Stomach Ulcers: Cardamom helps kill bacteria in the mouth and stomach, helping ulcers heal faster while preventing infection.
• Hiccup Cure: Many people report cardamom to be an anti-spasmodic that helps cure hiccups.
• Aphrodisiac: Though this has never been studied, many people report cardamom to have aphrodisiac qualities similar to Viagra.
• Common Cold & Flu Prevention: Another claim that hasn’t seen the inside of a laboratory is that regular cardamom consumption might prevent the common cold and flu.
• Cuts & Scrapes: The natural antibacterial qualities in cardamom make it great for use as a natural essential oil applied to cuts and scrapes to prevent infection.
Cardamom Dosage Recommendations
Very little has been published about dosing cardamom at this point, largely because it’s considered more of healthful additive to food and drink rather than something to be ground and put into a capsule or similar extract. Some studies published on heart disease prevention and metabolic syndrome cite doses of up to 4 grams daily. However, no clear lower or upper limit has been established as yet.
Simply follow tested cardamom-containing recipes like those found on Pinterest, before striking out on your own to create unique concoctions that suit your own tastes. If you experience side effects, simply lower the dose used until you find a suitable daily amount that works for you and your other family members. In fact, most health practitioners recommend sticking with the smaller amounts required in regular food recipes, as opposed to trying to take cardamom as a “medicine” in order to maximize benefits.
Cardamom Warnings and Side Effects
Side effects are rare, especially if you choose to use cardamom as a spice rather than a medicine or supplement. Adding it to your diet in this way is the easiest way to avoid side effects, as most people find their taste buds to be the best way to avoid unwanted side effects.
Side effects of cardamom might include:
• Stomach ache
• Gallstone colic (if you have gallstones)
• Potential pregnancy harm (untested)
Top-Rated Cardamom Seeds, Pods and Powder
|#1||Spicy World Green Cardamom Pods||Check Price||More Info|
|#2||Elakki Cardamom Pods||Check Price||More Info|
|#3||Star Kay White Extracts Cardamom Oil||Check Price||More Info|
|#4||Indus Organics Decorticated Cardamom Seeds||Check Price||More Info|
|#5||Indus Organics Green Cardamom Powder||Check Price||More Info|
Cardamom Product Reviews
#1.Spicy World Green Cardamom
There’s no fresher form of cardamom than seeds taken straight from the pod, to either be ground up or added to dishes and eaten whole. This is one of the most popular brands of cardamom on Amazon, due to its high quality and super-low price compared to what you’d pay at your local health food store.
This is a decent option for the budget minded. However, the source where it was grown can be hard to determine as it’s imported then packaged in the United States.
#2.Elakki Cardamom Pods
Elakki are certainly a step up in quality, as the pods are grown, hand-picked, and packaged in Columbia. The company uses a proprietary growing method to grow “true” green cardamom that’s actually bigger than the amomom variety, giving you even more sweet and savory seeds to make your favorite dishes, teas and other beverages with.
This package comes with a resealable bag and accompanying cardamom recipe book to get you started.
#3.Star Kay White Extracts Cardamom Oil
Many people like using spice extracts rather than the entire seed pod in their favorite food and drink recipes. While seeds might seem the freshest route, the healthy oils extracted from cardamom can be equally potent, if the extraction process is done correctly using fresh pods.
Star Kay has been in business for over 125 years and really knows their stuff when it comes to extracting plant oils and providing amazing quality supplements at a reasonable price.
#4.Indus Organics Decorticated Cardamom Seeds
Though not considered the best option for getting all the nutritional goodness and flavor possible from cardamom, Indus offers these fresh decorticated seeds that are ready to be ground down or added whole to your favorite recipes.
Indus organics doesn’t use pesticides, herbicides, or genetically-modified seeds to grow any of their products, and guarantees all products go directly from the field to a vacuum sealed bag with minimal interruption. Just look at all the positive reviews.
#5.Indus Organics Green Cardamom Powder
I really and truly believe in grinding your own fresh seeds after decorticating them from the pod, or choosing a high quality extract like that offered by Star Kay.
However, if you don’t want to grind your own and don’t like messing with extracts, Indus offers this high quality organic, non-GMO ground cardamom powder. Simply spoon it into your favorite recipes or make a tea or smoothie without the hassle of pulling out your spice grinder or pestle and mortar set.
Cardamom is one of nature’s oldest eastern remedies for a host of different health ailments including digestive problems, skin conditions, and many others. It’s also shown promise in protecting our heart, and in preventing and treating different types of cancer and metabolic diseases.
This spice is also considered safe when used as an additive to food. While expensive to buy compared to other spices, a little goes a long way in most recipes and it’s currently unclear whether taking massive amounts of cardamom is actually more beneficial to our health than smaller doses. Thousands of years of proof in eastern medicine is all the reason I need to add this flavorful spice to my diet.
Here’s to your continued good health!