Allspice is a megaspice which can be used as an alternative to cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and other spices.
It is derived from the dried berries of the evergreen shrub, “Pimenta dioica”.
Its unique flavor is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, juniper, and ginger. It was first cultivated in Southern Mexico, and Central America, but are now grown in many regions of the world. They are known by various other names such as Jamaican pimento, myrtle pepper, and kababchini.
For making allspice, green and ripe allspice fruits are picked and sundried till they turn brown and starts looking like large peppercorn kernels.
These dried allberries are then used either as whole or as powder. Allspice leaves are also used for cooking.
History Of Allspice
Allspice is native to Jamaica and was first encountered by Chirostopher columbus in 1493. Because of its unique taste, he mistook allspice as pepper, and brought allspice along with him to spain. From spain, its made its way to European and Mediterranean cuisines by the 15th and 16th centuries.
Allspice is a powerhouse of nutrients, and provide many health and beauty benefits.
Nutritional Value of Allspice
Allspice has a rich nutritious profile of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and dietary fibers.
One tablespoon (about 6 grams) of allspice contains around 0.5 grams of fat, and 18.5 calories. It has 4.3 grams of carbohydrates and no cholesterol.
Potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C in the allspice also benefit our health.
Health Benefits of Allspice
Some major health benefits of allspice are as follows.
(1) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Allspice contains anti-inflammatory compounds like vitamin C and dietary fibers that reduce pain and inflammation of inflammatory problems like arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, gouts, asthma, and bronchial asthma, etc.
(2) Improves our Digestive Health
Allspice is good for our digestive health as they contain vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds that protect our digestive system from free radical damage. It reduces colon cancer, abdominal cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, stomach cancer, etc.
Dietary fiber in allspice is natural laxatives that improve bowel movement, relieve constipation and other gastrointestinal problems like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating, and flatulence, etc.
Zinc, iron, magnesium, and folate, etc in allspice also benefit our digestive health.
(3) Strengthens Our Immune System
Because of its antimicrobial properties, allspice protects us from various bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Allspice strengthens our immune system, the defense mechanism of the body that aids in the prevention and treatment of diseases, infections, injuries, and wounds.
Vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients in the allspice protect our white blood cells or the immune cells from free radical damage and strengthen our immune system.
It further strengthens immunity by enhancing the production of white blood cells.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium, etc in allspice also play a significant role in making immune health better.
(4) Provides Antioxidantal Benefits
Allspice is loaded with antioxidants and relevant compounds like vitamin C, quercetin, Eugenol, and tannins, etc that protect our cells from free radical damage, and reduces the risk of various cancers.
Free radicals are the unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from neighboring molecules and doing so cause oxidative damage to them.
As per studies, antioxidants in allspice can kill breast cancer cells, and inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Eugenol oil in allspice promotes inhibits the growth of cancer cells, and promotes apoptosis.
(5) Enhances Dental Health
Because of its antimicrobial property, allspice helps in killing bacterias that cause damage to our gums and teeth.
Eugenol oil in allspice is a natural anesthetic and is being used in traditional medicines for ages.
Gargling with allspice water improves oral health, and relieves toothache.
(6) Improves Blood Circulation
Massaging with allspice essential oil improves blood circulation and gives a warming effect.
It reduces pain and inflammation from the affected area.
(7) Provides Relief From Hypertension
Potassium in allspice acts as a natural vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels and improves blood circulation. This provides relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.
Hypertension is a common condition that causes cardiovascular problems and other health problems like severe headaches, nose bleed, chest pain, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, vision problems, and blood in urine, etc.
However, if you take blood pressure medication, you should consult your doctor before adding allspice to your meals to ensure that there is no food-drug interference.
Interference with the blood pressure medication may drop our blood pressure below the healthy range, and cause dizziness, fainting, nausea, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, and pale skin, etc.
(8) Promotes Cardiovascular Health
The rich nutritious profile of allspice helps in improving our cardiovascular health.
Vitamin C, quercetin, tannin, and other antioxidantal compounds in allspice protects our cardiovascular system from free radical damage.
Dietary fibers in allspice reduce LDL cholesterol and minimize the risk of atherosclerosis ( a leading cause of cardiovascular problems).
Allspice also contains potassium that provides relief from high blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery disease, etc.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, and B vitamins, etc also play a significant role in improving cardiovascular health.
(9) Strengthens Bones And Improves Bone Mineral Density
To some extent, allspice also helps with bone health.
Calcium in allspice is an essential mineral for the growth and development of bones, and lack of it may cause bone disorders like osteoporosis.
Potassium neutralizes acid load, reduces calcium loss from bones, and improves bone density.
Manganese in allspice improves calcium absorption and improves the bone density of the spinal column.
(11) Improves Metabolism
Vitamins, minerals, and other healthy compounds in allspice improves our metabolism and accelerates the rate at which our body burns calories.
This helps with weight loss.
(12) Improves Neurological Health
Allspice improves our neurological health as vitamin C, quercetin, tannin, Eugenol, and other antioxidantal compounds hem protect our brain cells aka neurons from free radical damage.
It reduces the risk of several neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and amnesia, etc.
Iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium, etc in allspice improves our neurological health as they provide many cognitive benefits like a sharper memory, better focus, improved concentration, and reduced mental confusion, etc.
(14) Keeps Premature Ageing At Bay
Vitamin C, and other antioxidant compounds like quercetin, etc in allspice protect the skin from free radical damage.
It reduces various signs of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemishes, etc at bay.
Free radicals are unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from neighboring molecules, and doing so causes oxidative damage to them.
Vitamin C also enhances the production of collagen.
Collagen is an amino acid that maintains skin elasticity and prevents wrinkles and skin sagging.
(15) Regulates Blood Sugar Level
Because of its low glycemic index of 15, allspice slows down the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream.
This prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar level, and aids in managing diabetes.
Dietary fibers in allspice slow down the rate at which sugar gets absorbed by the bloodstream and regulates blood sugar levels.
If you are on diabetic medication, consult your doctor before adding allspice to your meals.
Ensure that there is no food-drug interference.
(16) Maintains Healthy Blood Cell Count
Trace minerals like iron and copper in allspice promote healthy blood cell count and reduces the risk of anemia, fatigue, and muscle weakness.
(17) Relieves Menstrual Cramps
Because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, allspice provides relief from pain and discomfort experienced during menstrual cramps.
Drinking allspice extract tea helps in relieving menopausal symptoms.
(18) Masks Unpleasant Odors
Allspice has a strong aroma that notes cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.
Because of its strong scent, allspice essential oil is used as a fragrance in deodorants, cosmetics, aftershaves, and medicines for masking unpleasant odors.
(19) Fights Disease-Causing Microbes Such As Bacteria and Virus
Because of its antimicrobial properties, it helps in getting rid of diseases causing microbes that may contaminate the food during and after food preparation.
It kills bacteria and inhibits fungal growth in food.
(20) Natural Anti Depressant
Essential compounds like folate, zinc, and magnesium, etc in allspice make it a natural antidepressant that improves mental health and provides relief from stress and anxiety.
Because of its anti-depressant properties, allspice essential oil is widely popular in aromatherapy for reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
(21) Helps In The Treatment of Nausea
Drinking allspice extract tea provides relief from nausea as the Eugenol in it settles the upset stomach, and relieves stomach discomfort.
(22) Aids In Weight Loss
Allspice helps with weight loss as it improves our metabolism, and increases the rate at which our body burns calories.
Dietary fibers in allspice provide fullness to the stomach and control overeating, a major cause of obesity.
Uses of Allspice
Some common uses of allspice are as follows.
- It gives a unique flavor to meats, vegetables, and desserts.
- Allspice is dried and grounded to a fine powder and used in cooking.
- “Pimento Dram”, a popular liquor in the West Indies which is made from allspice extract.
- It is also used in jerk seasoning, milk sauces, and for flavoring pickles.
- In Germany, it is widely popular in the commercial sausage industry and it is used in large quantities.
- It is used for confectionery items such as cakes and cookies, etc, in the USA and Great Brittain.
- Like bay leaves, fresh allspice leaves can be used for cooking.
- In its powder form, allspice is extensively used for various food items such as soups, stew, spaghetti sauce, pot roast, meatloaf, barbecue sauce, as a coating for ham, Sarkar dressing marinade, cakes, cookies, pickles, pickled beets, sweet potatoes, candy, frosting, and mincemeat, etc.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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