The sweet spice: Health benefits of nutmeg and tips for proper storage
11/16/2023 // Zoey Sky // Views

Nutmeg is a popular spice used on eggnog, desserts and various baked goods.

But did you know that nutmeg also offers some health benefits and contains beneficial antioxidants?

What is nutmeg?

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is a spice that is commonly used in baked goods, holiday treats, ethnic cuisine and different beverages.

Nutmeg is produced by grinding nutmeg seeds from a flowering plant of the Myristicaceae family, sometimes called the nutmeg family. The plant is native to Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Nutmeg spice has a sweet taste and is often used with other sweet spices such as cinnamon, clove and allspice.

Nutrition profile of nutmeg, a spice with antioxidants

Some studies have found that nutmeg has antioxidant, antibacterial, antidiabetic, pain-relieving, liver-protecting and cancer-preventative properties.

Aside from its use as a flavoring spice in Asian, European, Middle Eastern and African cuisines and traditional American baked goods, nutmeg also has a history of medicinal use.

Data suggests that nutmeg has a long history of being used to relieve chronic pain. Findings from rat studies have also suggested that nutmeg oil may have potential as a chronic pain reliever.

According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one serving (one teaspoon or 2.2 grams) of ground nutmeg provides 12 calories. The calories come from carbohydrates (1.08 g), protein (0.13 g) and fat (0.8 g).

Nutmeg contains a small amount of vitamins A and C, choline and folate, but not in amounts that will impact your daily recommended intake of those vitamins. It also contains minerals like calcium (3.7 mg), magnesium (3.7 mg), potassium (7.0 mg), phosphorus (4.3 mg) and small amounts of sodium and manganese. (Related: Support brain health and improve cognitive function with these herbs and spices.)

Tips for buying, preparing and storing nutmeg

You can buy nutmeg in whole or ground form. Ground nutmeg is commonly found in almost every grocery store.

If you want to buy whole nutmeg seeds to grind at home, you may need to visit a specialty market or purchase it online.

Keep in mind that ground nutmeg will lose its flavor quickly. This is why some cooks choose to buy it whole. Whole nutmeg seeds stay fresh indefinitely, so you can grind what you need at home and save the rest for later.

You can use nutmeg to flavor sweet baked goods such as apple pie, cookies and other desserts.

Nutmeg is used to make a bechamel sauce. The spice can also be used to make baked or stewed fruit and custards.

Nutmeg is also used when making curries, eggnog, punches, sauces (especially onion-based and milk sauces), pasta and vegetables, like spinach.

Lastly, nutmeg can also be used to flavor meats, like lamb or starchy vegetables.

Considerations before using nutmeg

While nutmeg is often used in cooking and baking, the spice or its essential oil can be used to gain a nutmeg high. Remember that using nutmeg-like this can have serious side effects.

According to some sources, nutmeg affects the nervous system and the imagination. Some experts have warned that nutmeg essential oil can have a hypnotic or hallucinogenic effect.

There are also published reports of nutmeg being used as a psychotropic drug with harmful consequences.

According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, nutmeg is safe when consumed in amounts typically found in food. However, the overconsumption of nutmeg may be risky and can cause adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting and hallucination.

There are reports of nutmeg poisoning dating back to the early 1900s, with symptoms including burning pain in the stomach, giddiness, or precordial anxiety. Scientists suggest that the toxic effects of nutmeg are due to the presence of myristicin oil, a natural organic compound found in the spice.

In one published report, scientists discovered that nutmeg poisoning is rare but probably underreported and should be considered in recreational substance users with acute psychotic symptoms and central nervous system symptoms.

Use nutmeg in moderation to make delicious desserts and savory sauces.

Visit to read more articles about nutmeg and other spices with amazing health benefits.

Watch the video below to learn more about 10 beneficial herbs and spices for optimal health.

This video is from the Health Ranger Store channel on

More related stories:

12 Medicinal herbs and spices that can boost the immune system.

Support brain health and improve cognitive function with these herbs and spices.

Nutmeg exhibits powerful anti-diabetes properties, concludes study.

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