What are its benefits?
Nutmeg is a familiar culinary spice enjoyed for its nutty, sweet flavor. In addition, this spice has been long-used in traditional medicine practices for curative purposes, such as easing digestive ailments and treating skin disorders. Newer applications have included using nutmeg as an antibacterial agent in dentistry, and several studies have proven the antimicrobial activity of various extracts and the essential oil of nutmeg seeds. Even more recently, researchers are investigating the benefits of nutmeg on intestinal health.
- A 2015 animal study of colon cancer looked at uremic toxins built up in the serum of the test subjects with the cancer. The researchers theorized that the toxins were the metabolites of gut bacteria. The toxins were found to be associated with an increase in proinflammatory proteins released by cells of the immune system and a lipid metabolism disorder.
- Then the test subjects were treated with nutmeg extract, which resulted in lowered levels of toxins and decreased tumor growth. It was also noted in these test subjects that the metabolism disorder was resolved and the level of inflammatory proteins was reduced. This suggests that the toxins were a contributor to the tumor-related metabolic disorder. The study also indicates a connection between gut microbe metabolism, inflammation, and metabolic disorders, and that modifying the diet (by consuming nutmeg, for example) to affect the gut microbiome and lipid metabolism might help in preventing colon cancer.
Nutmeg seeds and extracts also have been shown in multiple studies to have antioxidant activity. This effect is due to its chemical constituents beta-caryophyllene, eugenol, cafﬁc acid, catechin, among others. Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activity of Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) reported, “After absorption into the body, nutmeg seed lignans and their glycosides are metabolized to produce biologically active compounds containing the catechol structure, which could account for the high antioxidant potential of the nutmeg seeds…”
Microbiotic Kitchen uses just a small amount of nutmeg in its shake bases since in large doses it can have a psychoactive effect.
What is it?
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is an evergreen tree native to Asia, Africa, Pacific islands, and America. Mostly nutmeg contains terpenes and phenylpropenes, though its composition does vary depending upon growing conditions. It has a number of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, zinc, and iron.