During the holidays, nutmeg is a favorite spice to sprinkle over drinks and include in baked goods. However, its sweet yet nutty flavor alongside its health-boosting effects should make it one of your go-to spices all year round. New research reveals that regularly consuming nutmeg was linked to a reduced risk of liver damage.
A recent study published in the Journal of Proteome Research looked at the positive effects this spice can have on our liver health. This study included mice who suffered from liver damage and were fed nutmeg extract. Researchers took a close note of any compounds within nutmeg that were providing the potential liver-healing benefits.
The study authors found that the extract helped control the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) in the liver. This receptor is responsible for suppressing inflammation, which can lead to liver damage. They credited these benefits to a polyphenol in nutmeg called lignan that’s been shown to protect liver health against oxidative stress. Ultimately, they concluded that this powerful spice plays a part in warding off liver damage over time.
How to Use Nutmeg
When cooking with nutmeg, keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Even consuming two teaspoons in one sitting may cause symptoms like nausea, agitation, vomiting, and in extreme cases, even hallucinations. Nutmeg contains a compound called myristicin, which can affect your central nervous system and produce what many consider to be a high. Luckily, most recipes don’t typically call for that much nutmeg. So you can safely infuse dishes with this delicious spice!
A soothing sip like warm milk only needs a half teaspoon of ground nutmeg to add a hint of sweetness. This makes it the perfect drink to enjoy before bed if you’re hoping for a better night’s sleep. You can try topping a seasonal drink such as spiked eggnog with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg as a simple garnish.
This spice also makes its way into baked treats, including honey almond butter apple bread and figgy pudding (a holiday classic!). Also, creamed spinach and green bean casserole are sides that you can sneak nutmeg into to enhance the flavors. These are just some of the many ways that nutmeg can become a staple spice in your pantry that can improve your liver health!