This popular spice is found in dishes around the world, and is noted for its strong aroma and distinct taste. However cardamom is more than just a culinary add-on. This spice has some wonderful benefits, both for overall health, as well as for sleep.
Read on to find out how this extraordinary spice could directly help you get a good night’s sleep. Then we show you what other health benefits exist when eating cardamom.
Cardamom for sleep: The popular spice as a sleep aid
This popular spice is commonplace in Indian food, and has been widely touted as a health aid in the East for generations. For good reason too, as cardamom is an anti-oxidant and is anti-inflammatory – we explain more on this, and what ailments cardamom has been shown to help, in the next section.
But first, what about cardamom for sleep? There appears to be evidence that cardamom can help the sleep process. For one, the spice contains melatonin – a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Individuals who are struggling to sleep, or have been diagnosed with insomnia, are often prescribed melatonin. However this hormone – which the body produces naturally – can also be found in cardamom.
Studies, albeit done on animals, have shown that cardamom has an sedative effect on the gut. For individuals with IBS, IBD, or other gastrointestinal disorders, cardamom could therefore be useful, and may provide some relief at bedtime.
In a more direct study relating to sleep, α-terpineol, which is a compound that is found in the oil of cardamom seeds, has been seen in research to have a sedative effect which appears to increase sleep duration. Notably, that same compound is found in plants such as cannabis.
Cardamom also contains a compound called limonene, which has been shown to have sedative as well as motor relaxant effects.
Cardamom contains melatonin – a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle – and has compounds that have been shown in studies to have a sedative effect.
Cardamom for sleep: The benefits of eating cardamom before bed
The wonderful thing about cardamom is that its health benefits stretch past bedtime.
Cardamom has anti-inflammatory properties, and so it can play a role in boosting your immune system. That’s because many major diseases like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are often linked to chronic inflammation. Therefore incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet – like cardamom – is a no-brainer.
Indeed studies have shown that cardamom oil can act as a deterrent to cancer. One study that looked at the effect of cardamom on cancer made clear that the compound limonene can be efficient in the prevention or treatment of various types of cancers. Research has also shown that this popular spice has positive health effects on cardiovascular diseases, chronic inflammatory conditions, and digestive disorders.
Cardamom is also an anti-oxidant. That’s important as anti-oxidants appear to have a direct effect on sleep quality, as they support the immune system and help promote restfulness at night.
In a nutshell, anti-oxidant foods help protect your body and even reverse damage that has been done by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress comes about when there’s an imbalance between free radical molecules and anti-oxidants, which then causes illness and tissue damage. The result can be the development of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and many others. Therefore eating anti-oxidant foods – like cardamom – should be a priority.
Cardamom has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. Because of that, numerous studies have shown cardamom to have a positive effect on health, and even to possess anti-cancer properties.
Cardamom: incorporating it into your diet
Cardamom is an extremely popular spice and can be easily incorporated into your diet. It’s often used in curries and Indian cuisine due to its rich aroma and taste.
This spice pairs well with many foods, including lentils, curries, and chicken. It’s also nice when combined with rice, and can be baked into bread.
Some people even chew on raw cardamom before bed, or make a cardamom milk. All are fine ways to incorporate this superfood into your diet.
Cardamom for sleep: Any side effects?
There are no reported side effects for eating cardamom in moderation, but too much could cause some digestive issues.
As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor if undertaking a diet change, or if you have concerns about how a specific food may interact with any preexisting conditions or medicines.