Ingredients and Uses

10 Surprising Benefits That Nutmeg Provides

Reviewed by Kelly McKenzie, Registered Clinical Nutritionist
10 Surprising Benefits That Nutmeg Provides Hyderabd040-395603080 September 6, 2019


Nutmeg is a popular spice used across the world for the flavor it imparts. But that’s just one side of the equation. This spice has also been used for thousands of years, primarily for its health benefits. Well, what could they be? How can this ancient spice make your life better? Keep reading. You will get the answers!

Table Of Contents

What Is Nutmeg?
What Are The Health Benefits Of Nutmeg?
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Nutmeg?
What Are The Side Effects Of Nutmeg?

What Is Nutmeg?

Nutmeg is a spice that is made from the seeds of the nutmeg tree (scientifically called Myristica fragrans). It is native to Indonesia, and it has a warm and spicy flavor.

The most common ways nutmeg is used in the United States are in desserts (like apple pie), beverages (like mulled wine), and even as a garnish over certain coffee drinks. In fact, it goes quite well with creamy and cheesy dishes.

But why nutmeg? What’s the big deal?

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What Are The Health Benefits Of Nutmeg?

1. Helps Prevent Cancer

Sources say that the essential oil of nutmeg can act as an antioxidant and may assist in preventing cancer in the process. The oil has powerful free radical scavenging activity and can even be used to develop anti-cancer drugs (1). Other studies have shown how nutmeg may aid the prevention of colon cancer by decreasing intestinal tumorigenesis (2).

2. May Aid Diabetes Treatment

2.-Can-Aid-Diabetes-Treatment Pinit


Nutmeg is a rich source of antioxidants. In rat studies, nutmeg, along with other spices, was found to significantly decrease blood glucose levels (3). Studies also show that the oil may relieve symptoms of chronic inflammatory pain, which could be a serious concern for people dealing with diabetes (4).

3. Relieves Arthritis Pain

Nutmeg has shown to ease chronic inflammatory pain, which is the primary characteristic of arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of nutmeg can reduce joint pains and inflammation associated with arthritis.(4)

4. Treats Insomnia

A particular product, containing nutmeg as one of the primary ingredients, was found to improve mood and help treat insomnia (5). The spice was also used in ancient medicine as a way to de-stress and calm one’s mind. Adding a pinch of nutmeg to a glass of warm milk and taking before bedtime can aid better sleep.

Nutmeg may also help with stress relief, and this may aid insomnia treatment (6).

5. Improves Digestion

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According to some studies, the essential oils in nutmeg have a carminative effect, which may assist in reducing flatulence. Issues like diarrhea can potentially be relieved by consuming it (7).

Nutmeg also contains fiber, which may help with bowel movements (7).

6. Eases Pain

Nutmeg is often used to treat spasms and pain, with its extract often topically applied to relieve pain, particularly in the muscles and joints (8).

Another volatile oil in nutmeg, eugenol, has anti -inflammatory properties and may help alleviate pain associated with inflammation (4).

7. May Lower Cholesterol Levels

According to a study conducted in 2013 nutritional data suggests that nutmeg contains approximately 2.9mg of manganese per 100g (7). This mineral may help reduce cholesterol levels (9).

8. Improves Dental Health

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Nutmeg is a powerhouse of antibacterial properties that potentially contribute to oral health. The spice is known to treat dental issues, including dental caries. It fights pathogens like Streptococcus mutans that can cause oral infections (10).

9. May Treat Anxiety

Nutmeg may also work as an antidepressant, potentially assisting in reducing symptoms of depression by its actions by boosting serotonin. However, it is important to note that nutmeg does not replace medical treatment that may include medications, therapy, or both (7). The spice is basically a brain tonic that stimulates your brain. It even helps eliminate mental fatigue and stress and boosts mental activity (7).

10. Helps Fight Acne

Nutmeg exhibits strong antibacterial and antifungal activities – and this may help in reducing acne. Using it for treating acne is simple. You need to crush two to three nutmeg seeds and add a little milk to make a paste. Wash your face with warm water and then apply the paste to your face. Let it stay for a couple of hours before washing your face with cool water (11).

These are the benefits of nutmeg. We just had a glimpse into its essential nutrients, but there is more that you must know.

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What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Nutmeg?

PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy525 Kcal26
Carbohydrates49.29 g38%
Protein5.84 g10%
Total Fat36.31 g180%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber20.8 g55%
Folates76 µg19%
Niacin1.299 mg8%
Pyridoxine0.160 mg12%
Riboflavin0.057 mg4%
Thiamin0.346 mg29%
Vitamin-A102 IU3.5%
Vitamin C3 mg5%
Sodium16 mg1%
Potassium350 mg7.5%
Calcium184 mg18%
Copper1.027 mg114%
Iron3.04 mg38%
Magnesium183 mg46%
Manganese2.900 mg126%
Phosphorus213 mg30%
Zinc2.15 mg20%
Carotene-ß16 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß90 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin0 µg

*values sourced from Scientia Agriculturae

Nutmeg sure contains some powerful nutrients. But this doesn’t mean you can consume as much as of it as you want. Because it might lead to the following side effects.

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What Are The Side Effects Of Nutmeg?

  • Hallucinations And Other Mental Side Effects

Long-term use of nutmeg in doses of 5 to 15 grams (2 to 3 whole nutmegs) per day may lead to hallucinations and other mental issues like dizziness and agitation. It can also lead to a high, often called ‘nutmeg high’ (12).

  • Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Excess consumption can cause miscarriages or birth defects. Talking about breastfeeding, not much is known. Hence, avoid nutmeg in both the instances.

In rare cases, excess consumption of nutmeg can even lead to death.

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A popular spice used the world over, nutmeg sure has its share of benefits. And you saw what they are. So, why don’t you start including nutmeg in your diet right away? Also, tell us how this post has helped you. Just leave a comment in the box below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What is a good substitute for nutmeg?

Mace is the closest substitute for nutmeg. Mace is nothing but the outer membrane of the nutmeg seed before it is harvested, which is why it has a similar flavor.

How to prepare nutmeg tea?

Add nutmeg powder (less than 3 grams) to boiling water along with a piece of ginger. Allow to steep for 2 to 3 minutes. And your nutmeg tea is ready!

Can you smoke nutmeg?

Yes, but you don’t want to do that. Smoking nutmeg is dangerous.

12 sources

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a Senior Content Writer who specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the field for well over 4 years now. His work involves extensive research on how one can maintain better health through natural foods and organic supplements. Ravi has written over 250 articles and is also a published author. Reading and theater are his other interests.