Each month, we’re highlighting some of our favorite herbs and spices, along with a recipe, to help you try new flavors. When you think of cozy fall flavors, nutmeg is likely right up there with cinnamon, clove, and pumpkin spice. Nutmeg’s warm, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor works well in both savory and sweet recipes. A versatile spice, it can enhance a variety of roasted vegetables, provide complexity to a butternut squash soup, and add a delicious flavor and aroma to warm oatmeal, sliced apples, or hot tea.
Nutritional Content and Health Benefits
One tablespoon of nutmeg provides 37 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of fat, and 0.4 grams of protein [i]. Nutmeg contains vitamins A, C, and E, electrolytes (potassium and sodium), and small amounts of minerals (calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc). It also contains the phytonutrients beta-carotene and beta-crypoxanthin [ii]. Additionally, nutmeg has been found to have antioxidant activity due to phenolic compounds and antibacterial activity that may benefit oral health [ii, iii].
Two of nutmegs key benefits come from magnesium and vitamin A:
-Magnesium is an essential nutrient that is vital for many of the body’s processes to function optimally, including the regulation of muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, as well as the creation of DNA, protein, and bone. Magnesium is a cofactor of approximately 300 enzyme systems in the body, managing a variety of crucial biochemical reactions [iv].
-Vitamin A is an essential vitamin that plays a vital role in the body’s growth, immunity, vision, and reproduction. It helps many organs function optimally, including the lungs, kidneys, and heart. Vitamin A also contains antioxidant properties which help protect the body’s cells against free radical activity [v].
How to Use
Nutmeg packs a flavorful punch in a small amount–a little goes a long way. It can be used as a replacement for cinnamon in many recipes, but it’s recommended to use about ¼ the amount of cinnamon as to not overwhelm the flavor of a dish. Other helpful ingredient substitutions can be found in this handy list compiled by Dartmouth College.
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1.5 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon or small sprinkle of sea salt
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional additions: chopped pecans/walnuts or dark chocolate chips sprinkled into the batter or on top. ½ tsp of cinnamon added to the batter.
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- Line a square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Combine almond flour, flaxseed meal, baking soda, nutmeg, and sea salt in a small bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Add a few dark chocolate chips or nuts if you like!
- Bake for 25 minutes and let blondies fully cool and set before slicing into squares.
- This recipe is also delicious when made without any added sugar while still providing a great protein and fiber punch. The same batter can be used to make muffins or pumpkin bread if you don’t have a square baking pan on hand.
[i] Spices, nutmeg. Retrieved from: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/195/2
[ii] Agbogidi, O. M., & Azagbaekwe, O. P. (2013). Health and nutritional benefits of nutmeg (Mystica fragrans houtt.). Scientia Agriculturae, 1(2), 40-44. Retrieved from: https://www.mchemist.com/herboglo/pdf/7%20nutmeg.pdf
[iii] Dhaslin, Y. F., Issac, R., & Prabha, M. L. (2019). Antioxidant, antimicrobial, and health benefits of nutmeg. Drug Invention Today, 12(1). Retrieved from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.library.nyu.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=e514fc69-3595-491a-9977-9825ba677ed5%40sessionmgr4007
[iv] National Institutes of Health. Office of dietary supplements – magnesium . Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
[v] National Institutes of Health. Dietary supplement fact sheets – vitamin A. Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/