The Ayurvedic Spice To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth + Benefits
By their name alone, it's implied that spices are, well, spicy. Sprinkling too much capsaicin-containing spices (think paprika and cayenne) onto a dish will most likely make your eyes water. However, not everything on the spice rack adds a savory or spicy flair.
When she's hankering to satisfy her sweet tooth naturally, spice expert Kanchan Koya, Ph.D., turns to one magical spice: cardamom.
Benefits of cardamom.
"Cardamom has floral luxurious notes that make everything it touches taste like dessert (without the added sugar)," Koya tells mbg.
The Ayurvedic spice is made from the seeds of the cardamom plant, which is in the same family as ginger and turmeric. Just like its relatives, cardamom contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants and lowers oxidative stress1.
Its sweet, mild floral essence not only enhances baked goods but has also been said to freshen bad breath3 and fight the bacteria-causing cavities, due to its antibacterial properties and pleasant aroma. And since oral health is linked to heart health4, cardamom may support the cardiovascular system in more ways than one.
How to add cardamom.
While cardamom can be added to savory dishes, it's one of the best spices (next to cinnamon and ginger) to add to baked goods or other sweet treats. Along with being floral, cardamom has subtle citrus and mint flavor tones.
When you're craving a cooling dessert, you can add cardamom to this fig and date milkshake. For a warmer sweet treat, sprinkle it into a coffee cake, a berry crumble, a pistachio loaf, or sugar cookies—the options are truly endless.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.