As people become more aware of the benefits of natural foods and ingredients over synthetic foods, there has been a great demand for natural food options, and people have begun to discover healthy foods and ingredients from different parts of the world. One of the best discoveries in the past several years is the Grains of Paradise.
You’re probably hearing the name for the first time, but grains of paradise is now one of the most healthy food options and natural health supplements available. In fact, it is now gaining much recognition in the world of diet and exercise supplements. And that’s simply, because it offers so many health benefits.
In this article, we shall show you all you need to know about grains of paradise, and how you can use this nutrient-rich food substance to improve your overall health.
What are Grains of Paradise?
Grains of paradise, also called melegueta pepper, are a member of the ginger and turmeric family. These grains are the fruits and seeds of the Aframomum melegueta plant, and they have been used for centuries as a culinary spice (with flavor reminiscent of black pepper, but with citrusy touch) and as medicine.
In terms of origin, grains of paradise originate from West Africa, but the camel caravans introduced the spice into Europe as African Pepper. The Europeans renamed it to the current name, “Grains of Paradise.”
Since the 19th Century, grains of paradise have been a spice of choice. It continues to prove its worth as a subtler and more complex substitute to other spice options, including ginger, cardamom, and citrus in West Africa and North Africa.
Some of the most popular way grains of paradise are used as a culinary spice includes:
- They are used in gingerbread and spice cakes.
- They are added to curries to enhance their flavor.
- It is used as a flavoring in alcoholic beverages such as gin, ale, and beer.
- The seeds are crushed and used in combination with ginger and vinegar to spice up chicken, pork, or lamb prior to roasting.
Grains of paradise is also often used to treat conditions such as obesity, diarrhea, heart disease, and many more.
However, grains of paradise are also known by several names, including Alligator pepper, Guinea Grains, Maniguette, Ginny Grains, Greater Cardamom, Paradise Nuts, Paradise Grains, Grenes, Ginny pepper, and Guinea Seeds. So do not be confused, they all mean the same thing.
What are the Nutritional Properties of Grains of Paradise?
A serving of 5 grams of grains of paradise, based on a 2000 daily calorie count, contains 0% protein and 0% carbs, 2% calcium, 19mg sodium, with a 5 kcal count.
However, keep in mind that the benefits that grains of paradise offer is not in the nutrition but in the chemical makeup of the plant.
Let’s move on to discuss the benefits you stand to gain by adding Grains of Paradise to your diet.
Health Benefits of Grains of Paradise
Like many other natural herbs, Grains of Paradise hold a lot of benefits. Some of the most prominent health benefits of this spice include:
They have strong antimicrobial properties
Grains of Paradise contain a high amount of phenolic compounds, which are natural antimicrobials. Some studies have shown that the extracts from this spice inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus and Salmonella – two notorious pathogens.
Adding a small amount of Grains of Paradise, whether as a whole or in supplement form, helps to ward off infection.
They are rich in antioxidants
Grains of Paradise boast are rich in antioxidants, such as flavonoids, terpenoids, alkaloids, saponin, tannins, cardiac glycosides, and phenolic compounds.
These phytonutrients help to counter the action of free radicals in the body, preventing diseases such as cancer, and reducing inflammatory processes that lead to degenerative conditions.
They help relieve gastrointestinal issues
Since Ancient times, people have used grains of paradise to treat a variety of gut issues. Science has also confirmed the effectiveness of this flavorful spice in treating stomach pain, diarrhea, ulcers, and getting rid of intestinal worms.
They have anti-inflammatory properties
Many factors, including infection and injuries, can cause inflammation in the body. The body uses it as a natural response to heal these conditions, but when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to serious problems like arthritis.
Grains of Paradise contain anti-inflammatory compounds such as gingerols that help synthesize biochemicals that support in alleviating inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
In cases of wounds, these seeds of the Aframomum melegueta plant are often crushed to make a brew used to heal wounds. The astringent properties of this plant promote faster healing and resist any possible infection.
They support weight loss
Grains of Paradise have been shown by studies to be a great stimulant. Adding them to your diet can give you quite a pick-up, which is one reason why they are added to sports and workout supplements.
The stimulant effect of this spice also helps you burn more calories, giving you the energy needed for your workout.
Let’s make this simpler. There are two forms of fat or adipose tissues in the body – brown and white. The brown fat is smaller and can only store a small amount of lipids. It primarily helps to insulate the body and keep us warm. So in cold weather, your brown adipose tissues become depleted and this often causes shivering. This fat is mainly found around the neck.
On the other hand, the white adipose tissue is characterized by large round cells filled with drops of lipids. White fats store this lipid to be burned for energy when you haven’t eaten or supplied your body with a source of energy. White fats are mainly stored on the thighs and waist.
Studies show that the grains of paradise cut down the number of cells in white fat, or adipose tissue. This way, the white adipose tissue is transformed into brown adipose tissue. In other words, this spice changes the way your body stores fat and reduces the available space to store fat. This encourages weight loss.
They work as an aphrodisiac
Grains of paradise contain compounds that boost your sexual desires. So you can enjoy it as a natural, safe, and effective way to spark your intimacy with your partner.
Do Grains of Paradise Have Side Effects?
It’s okay to be concerned about potential side effects of an ingredient in your diet. Well, just like ginger and turmeric, Grains of Paradise do not have side effects in adults. But when children consume this spice, it may cause irritation of the stomach and intestine. You have to be cautious about using this Grains of Paradise.
Studies have not shown any general effect on pregnant women or nursing mothers, but you need to be cautious and talk with your doctor to be sure of its safety for this period.
What’s the Right Dosage for Grains of Paradise?
Several factors, including your age, health, and health conditions, can influence how much of grains of paradise you’re taking. Remember that this spice is a plant-based supplement, hence, the concentrations of the active compounds may vary from one harvest to another.
But as a rule, it is best to start with about 30 mg of dried grains of paradise. You can decide to scale it up to 80 mg, but ensure you do not go beyond this concentration to avoid stomach issues.
You can add grains of paradise as a supplement to your workout or exercise routine. This is a natural way to burn fat, control your appetite, and boost a healthy living.
Grains of paradise are no doubt one of the best supplements in the world today. It is rich in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial compounds, and for centuries, it has been used as a spice and medicine for several health conditions.
The healing power of this spice has now been verified by several recent studies, and it is highly effective for losing weight, fighting cancer, and relieving several health issues.
You can enjoy grains of paradise in the form of supplements today, but be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and talk to your doctor, especially if you’re on medications.