7 Health Benefits of Cardamom, Elaichi
Cardamom is a spice which every household must be familiar with. If you enjoy Indian sweets like kheer, ladoo and halwa, you are sure to have felt the sweet aromatic spice – cardamom. It has a pleasant aroma with a warm pungent taste. It is also one of the world’s most ancient spices, often glorified as the ‘Queen of Spices’, ‘Grain of Paradise’, and so on. Called ‘Elaichi’ in Hindi, the pods of cardamom with its strong frangrance often give a great dining experience.
Cardamom being known to have originated in India, finds place in many savoury dishes too apart from sweets. Have you ever used Garam Masala powder? It has cardamom as one of its immense ingredient list.
And biryanis the most famous of Punjabi and Mughlai cuisine also make use of cardamom. In fact, in Vegetable Biryani the whole cardamom is added at times. The pharmaceutical industry industry makes use of cardamom oil in soaps, detergents and even some perfumes.
How to Select Cardamom
• Cardamom is sold ground or whole. It is always better to buy whole cardamoms, and grind them as and when required, to retain the flavour for longer. Ground cardamom tends to lose its flavour quickly.
• If buying seeds, choose from light green, white or brown varieties.
• When buying whole, choose those with a greener pod for greater flavour.
Nutritional Value of Cardamom, Elaichi
One tablespoon of ground cardamom contains about:
- 18 calories
- 4 grams carbohydrates
- 0.6 gram protein
- 0.4 gram fat
- 1.6 grams fiber
- 0.8 milligrams iron
- 13 milligrams magnesium
- 0.4 milligrams zinc
- 22 milligrams calcium
- 65 milligrams potassium
- 10 milligrams phosphorus
This special spice which is unique to our taste buds has several benefits to its credit as well. It’s high price is thus because of its unique strong armoa and fragrance as well the health benefits it offers. Let’s check them out.
7 Health Benefits of Cardamom, Elaichi
- Gastrointestinal Health: Cardamom has essential oil which is known to be effective is killing bacteria. This antimicrobial power of cardamom helps in relieving some stomach problems like stomachache, cramps, flatulence etc. This spice inhibits the growth the bacteria in the gut and stomach and thus prevents infections. Chew on a few pods after meals if you often experience bloating.
- Controls High Blood Pressure: Ayurveda has promoted use of cardamom to keep blood pressure under check in many books. Some studies show that this promising result is due to its high antioxidant capacity. While chewing cardamom is what can be done easily, we also have a low salt healthy rice recipe which can be tried by those with hypertension – Brown Rice Vegetable Pulao.
Brown Rice Vegetable Pulao, Low Salt Recipe
- Treat Bad Breath: The sweet yet strong aroma of cardamom makes it perfect to control Halitosis (bad breath). Cineole is its major component which helps in this and thus maintaining oral hygiene.
- Prevents Nausea: Chewing on the pods of cardamom for some time has shown to be a preventive measure to nausea. In fact, it can overcome nausea and the urge to vomit. Pregnant women and cancer patients on chemotherapy often have experienced relief from nausea with cardamom. Date and Walnut Balls is another healthy recipe which makes use of cardamom and can be enjoyed by pregnant women and cancer patients both.
Date and Walnut Balls
- Dental Care: Some studies have also found a relation between elaichi and dental cavities. It is said that food particles in between the teeth lead to the accumulation of bacteria which makes the pH of mouth more than 5.6 which, in turn, can lead to dental problems. The essential oils in cardamom with its strong anti-bacterial ability has been known to kill these bacteria in the mouth , avoid that high pH and thus prevent tooth decay.
- May Treat Cancer: Phytochemicals like Cineole and Limonene are the major highlight in cancer treatment. Some studies have shown cardamom as a natural treatment to cancer progression, especially skin cancer. Chewing on elaichi may thus decrease tumor growth. However more studies are yet to be considered in this field.
- Aids in Diabetes Treatment: The mineral manganese in cardamom may help in the lower blood sugar levels. However a lot more research is needed in this aspect as its effect is unclear. One healthy recipe that has cardamom and can be enjoyed by diabetics occasionally is Mixed Fruit Srikhand.
Mixed Fruit Shrikhand, Healthy Diabetic Recipe
More Healthy Cooking with Cardamom, Elaichi
- Low Fat Carrot Halwa
- Healthy Veg Biryani
- Pear Rabri
- Lauki Kheer
- Bengali Syle Brown Rice Khichdi
- Fig and Cardamom Delight
- Sevaiiyan Kheer