Yes, Cardamom is Paleo!
Cardamom and Its Types
Cardamom is a spice from the plant family of Zingiberaceae, which comes in small, greenish pod. It has a strong, unique, sweet and spicy taste and is common in masala and curries. It can also be used in teas, pies, pastries and meat dishes. A small amount of cardamom can already give a dish intense flavor. Cardamom is native to India and has spread out to surrounding countries like Pakistan Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal until the late 20th century. It is considered as the third most expensive spice in the world.
The color of the outside pod of cardamom varies depending on its type. There are two main types of cardamom, true or green cardamom and black cardamom. True cardamom (Elettaria) is distributed from India to Malaysia and is more expensive compared to black cardamom. The black type (Amomum), also known as brown or Nepal cardamom is native to the Eastern Himalayas and has a distinct smoky aroma with coolness like mint. Both types of cardamom are used as spices in food and beverage and as medicine.
Aside from its culinary use, cardamom is also a popular in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine for treatments of mouth ulcers, teeth and gum infections, digestive illnesses and depression.
A tablespoon of cardamom is packed with vitamins and minerals. These include vitamins A and C, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, thiamine and zinc. Cardamom also contains dietary fiber and volatile oils, of which limonene is the most prominent. The volatile oils are responsible for making cardamom effective in treating gastrointestinal problems.
Health Benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom may not be as effective and as beneficial as turmeric, but some studies have shown that it has its own benefits that can make a difference in your health when regularly incorporated in your diet.
Anti cancer effects
Cardamom may have anti cancer effects especially when mixed with other spices. Studies show that it can protect against cancer by inhibiting, delaying or reversing growth of cancer cells.
Cardamom is rich in dietary fiber and acts as a diuretic which significantly lowers blood pressure. It protects against blood clots by preventing platelet aggregation and the sticking to the artery walls. The micronutrients in cardamom have the ability to control bad cholesterols in the blood too.
Cardamom has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve pain and swelling, especially in mucus membranes, mouth, throat, muscles and joints.
High in manganese, cardamom is helpful for people with blood sugar problems and can protect against diabetes.
In traditional Chinese and Ayurveda medicine, cardamom is used to treat several digestive illnesses. Cardamom has methanolic extract that controls gastrointestinal problems like acidity, bloating, flatulence, stomach cramps, constipation and heartburn.
The extracts of cardamom were found to be effective in treating respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis and cough by relaxing the tracheal tissues, opening the airway and increasing airflow to the lungs.
Cardamom contains volatile oils that have antimicrobial properties. These can fight against infection.
Cardamom acts as a detoxifying agent. As a diuretic, it helps the body eliminate toxins and free radicals through the kidneys, gall bladder and urinary tracts.
For centuries, cardamom was used to treat dental problems. The antimicrobial properties of cardamom can help relieve mouth ulcers and infections, gum problems and halitosis caused by infectious microbes.
The essential oils in cardamom can be used in aromatherapy to fight depression.
What Experts Say About Cardamom
“Three grams of cardamom powder a day (split into two doses) helped hypertensive patients lower their blood pressure, improve fibrinolysis (the body’s mechanism for breaking up and preventing blood clots), and increase antioxidant status. That’s roughly two teaspoons for the effect.” – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about Cardamom and Paleo
Mark’s Daily Apple. Dear Mark: Grains and Joints, Cardamom, and The Cause of Aging Muscle
Robb Wolf. The Paleo Table: 8 herbs & spices you should get to know
The Paleo Mom. Cardamom
Paleo Porn. Is Cardamom Paleo?
Organic Facts. Health Benefits of Cardamom
Health Hub. 15 HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARDAMOM
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photo credit: .michael.newman. Cardamom