November 2016

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Health Benefits of Cardamom

What Is Cardamom?

Popularly known as “Elaichi” in Hindi, “Aelakka” in Malayalam, “Elakkai” in Tamil, “Yelakulu” in Telugu, “Yalakki” in Kannada, “Ilaychi” in Gujarati, “Hr̥daya rōga” in Nepali and “Huba alhal” in Arabic – cardamom is a spice made from the seeds of several plants belonging to the family Zingiberaceae.

The spice is native to India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Indonesia. Cardamom pods are small (that’s how they are recognized), triangular in cross-section, and shaped as spindles.

Called the Queen of Spices, cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice – surpassed only by saffron and vanilla. And not just that – this spice comes in different types as well.

What Are The Different Types Of Cardamom?

Green and black cardamom – the two major types.

Green cardamomalso known as true cardamom, is the commonest variety. This is distributed from India to Malaysia.

  • It is used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes.
  • It is also added to rich curries and milk-based preparations for its fragrance.
  • Tea and coffee are also spiced with cardamom.

Black cardamom is native to the Eastern Himalayas and is mostly cultivated in Sikkim, Eastern Nepal, and parts of West Bengal in India. It is brown and slightly elongated.

  • It is used only in savory dishes like curries and biryani.
  • It is also an essential ingredient in garam masala (the blend of spices).
  • The dark brown seeds are known for their medicinal values – particularly so because of their nutrient content (volatile oils, calcium, iron, etc.).

 

 

 

 

 

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chilli pepper

Chilli peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungency, producing mild to intense spice when eaten.

Besides adding a zesty kick to one’s dishes, the health benefits of chillies are infinite.

Fight inflammation

Chilli peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungency, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. Capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fibre disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy.

Natural pain relief

Topical capsaicin is now a recognised treatment option for osteoarthritis pain. Several review studies of pain management for diabetic neuropathy have listed the benefits of topical capsaicin to alleviate disabling pain associated with this condition.

Cardiovascular benefits

Red chilli peppers, such as cayenne, have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation, while increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, a substance integral to the formation of blood clots. Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.

Clear congestion

Capsaicin not only reduces pain, but its peppery heat also stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs.

Boost immunity

The bright colour of red chilli peppers signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chilli peppers provide about six percent of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin A. Often called the anti-infection vitamin, vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous membranes, which line the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract and serve as the body’s first line of defence against invading pathogens.

Lose weight

All that heat you feel after eating hot chili peppers takes energy—and calories to produce. Even sweet red peppers have been found to contain substances that significantly increase thermogenesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption for more than 20 minutes after they are eaten.

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