For all those who have been shying away from this wonderful spice, it's time to embrace it and we'll give you enough reasons to do so. Cardamom is an aromatic seed pod used in many Indian preparations such as a creamy kheer or a rich biryani. It lends a distinct aroma and a sweet flavour. which makes the dish almost intriguing. Not just this, cardamoms are also prized for their health benefits and healing qualities. According to Ayurveda Expert, Dr. Dhanvantri Tyagi, "Cardamom is often used as a flavouring agent and comes under the category of aromatic plants. The small cardamom or Choti Elaichi is often used in Ayurvedic medicines that enhance physical strength." Here are eight wonderful health benefits of cardamom that you must know about -
1. Cures cough and cold: "Cardamom is packed with antioxidants. There are two kinds of cardamoms, green and black. Black cardamoms help in curing colds and cough and certain respiratory problems," shares Bangalore-based Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood. Steep some pods in water along with honey and drink this cardamom tea as an effective natural remedy for flu. It imparts warmth to the body.
2. Aids digestion: Due to its strong aroma, it helps in activating our taste and sensory elements and thus, aid digestion. "This enables the secretion of enzymes effective for digestion especially if consumed after heavy meals," says Dr. Tyagi. Cardamom is good for curing stomach problems like indigestion, gas and constipation. Cardamom contains chemicals that are known to increase the movement of food through the intestine.(Also read: 6 Effective Home Remedies for Constipation)
3. Prevents bad breath: The floral and sweet aroma of cardamoms makes it a natural breath freshener. A major component of cardamom oil called cineole is known for its antimicrobial properties that promote oral hygiene and it also fights bacteria that cause bad breath.
4. Lowers high blood pressure: In his book, "The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies", Dr. Vasant Lad suggests that having a concoction of a teaspoon coriander and one pinch of cardamom mixed with 1 cup of freshly squeezed peach juice can help bring down high blood pressure. Therefore, it is known to be a heart-friendly spice.
5. Secret to longevity: According to Chinese tradition, drinking cardamom tea is known to be the secret to longevity. Cardamon tea helps in flushing out toxins and keeps your internal systems clean. Ayurveda Expert Dr. Ashutosh Gautam suggests that cardamom is one such spice that must be consumed on a daily basis in order to stay healthy and increase your life span. (Also read: Eating These 8 Foods Every Day May Make You Live Longer)
7. Regulates your blood sugar levels: Black cardamom is often touted as an effective remedy for treating high blood sugar levels. Cardamom is rich in manganese which helps in controlling blood sugar levels in the body and
8. Supports weight loss: Cardamom boosts energy metabolism and helps the body burn more fat efficiently.
10. Balances the doshas: According to Ayurveda, cardamom is an important spice which is tridoshic which means that helps in balancing all the three doshas - Vatta, Pitta and Kapha in our body. It has significant warming properties that are soothing for your body. It is also believed in Ayurveda that the excess build-up of 'ama', a sticky substance that blocks normal circulation and lowers energy levels, leads to various diseases. Cardamom helps in preventing its accumulation and thus, reduces its negative impact.
You can chew on this pod but if you find the flavour to be too strong, then as easy way to use cardamom is to scoop out these seeds and crush them gently. This can then be added to your daily cup of tea, coffee, milk or simply has with a glass of warm water and honey.