8 Science-Backed Benefits of Nutmeg

Medically Reviewed on 8/4/2022
8 Science-Backed Benefits of Nutmeg
Here are 8 health benefits of nutmeg that are backed by science

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is a spice that has a nutty, warm flavor. 

Although it is more known for its use in desserts and other recipes, nutmeg contains a wide variety of nutrients that are good for your health.

Here are 8 health benefits of nutmeg that are backed by science.

8 health benefits of nutmeg

1. High in antioxidants

Nutmeg is rich in powerful antioxidants that can combat the effects of free radicals in the body, which can cause oxidative damage that leads to heart disease and even cancer.

2. Relieves pain

Nutmeg contains essential oils with monoterpenes, including sabinene, terpineol, and pinene. These have been shown to ease pain and cell damage by improving blood circulation to the affected area. Regular consumption of nutmeg may be beneficial for people who suffer from joint stiffness and pain.

3. Promotes brain health

Myristicin and macelignan, two essential oils found in nutmeg, can help slow cognitive decline associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

 In addition to stimulating brain activity, nutmeg can help reduce fatigue and stress. It is often used as a folk remedy for mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

4. Improves digestive health

Nutmeg may help relieve bloating, cramps, and diarrhea caused by food intolerance or allergies

Due to its fiber content and carminative effect, nutmeg can relieve an upset stomach and help in the secretion of digestive enzymes that boost metabolism.

5. Antibacterial properties

Compounds such as myristicin and methyl eugenol are present in nutmeg oil. Methyl eugenol is a powerful local anesthetic and analgesic that may help prevent the growth of bacteria that leads to dental plaque and cavities.

6. Promotes sleep

Nutmeg has been used in ancient medicine to reduce stress and treat insomnia. It is still a common practice to add a pinch of nutmeg to warm milk to promote better sleep

Nutmeg contains phytonutrients that help increase serotonin levels and promote relaxation. Nutmeg is also high in magnesium, which plays a role in regulating mood. 

7. Good for heart health

Nutmeg oil is rich in micronutrients that can help reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure:

  • Vitamin C improves blood vessel integrity and health. 
  • Copper helps balance blood pressure and maintain a normal heart rate. 
  • Calcium, potassium, manganese, and iron also help lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. 

8. Improves blood sugar control

Studies have suggested that nutmeg may help lower blood sugar levels in people with type II diabetes due to bioactive compounds that have sugar-stabilizing properties and reduce insulin resistance

Nutmeg may be helpful in optimizing insulin production in the pancreas.

What is the nutritional profile of nutmeg?

Table: Nutrients in 100 grams of nutmeg
Nutrient Amount
Calories 525
Total fat 36 grams
Sodium 16 grams
Potassium 350 mg
Total carbohydrates 49 grams
Protein 6 grams
Vitamin A 2% of DV
Calcium 14% of DV
Vitamin C 5% of DV
Iron 16% of DV
Vitamin B6 10% of DV
Magnesium 45% of DV

How much nutmeg is safe to consume?

Nutmeg is generally safe to consume in small amounts.

Nutmeg contains a potentially poisonous substance called myristicin. When consumed in excess, myristicin can cause hallucinations and mouth dryness. According to studies, even 5 grams of ground nutmeg (1-2 mg of myristicin), is enough to produce hallucinogenic effects.

How to eat nutmeg

Nutmeg is common in many cuisines and pairs well with many foods. Nutmeg can be consumed in several ways:

  • Added to warm milk, coffee, chocolate, or tea
  • Sprinkled over oatmeal or cereal
  • Used to season vegetables such as pumpkin or winter squash
  • Used in baking 
  • Added to seasonal drinks, such as eggnog or mulled wine


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 8/4/2022
Image Source: iStock image

WebMD. Nutmeg: health benefits, nutrition, and uses. https://www.webmd.com/diet/nutmeg-health-benefits-nutrition-uses#1-4

Abourashed EA, El-Alfy AT. Chemical diversity and pharmacological significance of the secondary metabolites of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans Houtt.). Phytochem Rev. 2016 Dec;15(6):1035-1056. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc5222521/