Here are some benefits and fun ways of including the 'queen of spices' — elaichi or cardamom in your diet.
From the perfect smelling morning cup of chai to the delicious main course biriyani, the aromatic cardamom is an indispensable ingredient in Indian kitchens. Colloquially known as elaichi or elakkai, it is one of the most popular and expensive spices widely grown in the country. Just a smidgen of this tiny green pod with black seeds will enhance the flavour of any dish — sweet or spicy.
But apart from its fragrant aroma and unique flavour, cardamom is rich in numerous health benefits. Here’s a list of some of them which will make you add this ‘queen of spices’ to any meal or drink.
1. Cardamom prevents diseases and infections
Cardamom contains antioxidant properties which can fight against infections. “This is the reason why sipping some cardamom tea brings relief during fever or flu. Black cardamoms help in curing colds and cough and certain respiratory problems,” shared Bengaluru-based Nutritionist, Dr Anju Sood, in an interview with NDTV.
2. Better digestion
Issues like bloating and intestinal gas can be controlled by the intake of cardamom. The strong aroma activates taste and sensory elements, thus helping digestion. “This enables the secretion of enzymes effective for digestion, especially if consumed after heavy meals,” said Dr Tyagi to NDTV.
3. Reduces high blood pressure
Cardamom can aid in improving blood circulation in the lungs by blood-thinning action. This reduces blood pressure and maintains it in balance. Several medicinal recipes focus on the benefit of cardamom.
4. Better life expectancy
Cardamom removes toxins from the body and keeps the internal system clean. Thus, the intake of cardamom regularly in tea or water is said to assist in longevity. Experts suggest its daily consumption to stay healthy and increase lifespan.
5. Freshness of breath
Cardamom works as an instant and organic mouth freshener. Chewing just one or swallowing its juice is the best way to get rid of bad breath. It is also effective in cases of diarrhoea and the stomach gets lighter after its consumption.
6. Weight loss
The imbalance of metabolism is one of the common reasons for obesity. Cardamom supports boosting energy metabolism. Burning of fat through the proper workout and diet plans become easy by employing this method.
7. Improves potency
Impotency and premature ejaculation are two major sexual dysfunctions that can be treated effectively by cardamom. “Consuming cardamom with milk and honey can do wonders for your sex life,” a Times of India report stated.
8. Prevents asthma
“Cardamom contains flavonoids, which exhibit bronchodilatory activity, essential to asthma relief by relaxing constricted bronchial tubes,” a Discover Magazine report stated. Several respiratory issues including asthma can be prevented by the intake of this spice.
Apart from these, cardamom can ease period cramps, aids in better memory and assist in detoxifying the body. It is undoubtedly an amazing ingredient whose smell, flavour and health benefits makes it the best of all spices.
As per an article in Hindustan Times, “The best way to consume cardamom is to either chew it raw or add a bit of it in your regular tea. Its powder can be taken along with ghee or honey.”
You can also add one of them to your daily chai or even boiled water.
Here are a couple more ways to include it in your diet:
Soy Milk Chai (Serves 8)
Give a healthy twist to your usual chai by replacing normal milk with soymilk and white sugar with brown.
- Soy milk (8 cups)
- Ginger (4-inch piece, sliced and crushed)
- Cardamom (1.5 tablespoons, crushed)
- Cloves (1 tablespoon, crushed)
- Cinnamon stick (1)
- Brown sugar (2 tablespoons)
Boil soy milk well and add all other ingredients except sugar. Let it boil for 15 minutes before adding sugar to taste. Serve it hot with your favourite bread or cookies.
Lentil and cardamom soup (Serves 2-3)
- Onion (1 large, finely chopped)
- Garlic cloves (2 large, finely chopped)
- Carrot (1 large, finely chopped)
- Ginger (thumb-sized, finely chopped)
- Sunflower oil (2 tablespoons)
- Turmeric powder (½ teaspoon)
- Cardamom (seeds from 10 pods)
- Cumin seeds (1 teaspoon)
- Red lentils (100 gram)
- Coconut milk (400ml)
- Lemon juice (1 lemon)
- Parsley, coriander, chilli flakes (for flavour)
- Add onion, garlic, carrot and ginger to a pan, with one spoon of oil and cook for a few mins.
- Add turmeric, cardamom and cumin and stir well.
- Add lentils and coconut milk followed by an equal quantity of water. Boil it for 15 mins.
- Blend the mix well using a hand blender or mixer.
- Add lemon juice to the mix followed by a pinch of salt, chilli flakes and herbs.
- Serve it hot with boiled veggies.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)