The versatile spice that comes from an evergreen known as Syzygium aromaticum, or better known as cloves are the flower buds of the clove tree. But you can get cloves in ground and whole form, and is used to add flavor to hot drinks, or to spice up baking goods.
However, this sweet, aromatic flavored spice, the clove, also has some potent medicinal properties. Some of these health benefits could include supporting your liver and even aiding to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
This article will look at the health benefits of eating cloves.
1 Cloves are packed with vital nutrients
Besides adding flavor to your food, cloves are also a good source of fiber, minerals like manganese and vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin K. For instance, one teaspoon of grounded cloves has:
- Calories: 21
- Carbs: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Manganese: 30% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 4% of the RDI
- Vitamin C: 3% of the RDI
Vitamin C is good for a strong immune system. Vitamin K is good to prevent blood clotting. Manganese is good for maintaining a healthy brain function and to aid the process of building strong bones. Nonetheless, that antioxidants found in cloves are compounds that reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of chronic disease. Most importantly, cloves also contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to act as a natural antioxidant. This element can stop oxidative damage caused by free radicals five times more effectively than vitamin E, another potent antioxidant.
Including cloves in your diet along with other antioxidant-rich foods can help improve your overall health.
2 Cloves could help fight off cancer
There were some studies that indicated a link between the compounds found in cloves and fighting off cancer. This link is mostly based on eugenol that is found in cloves has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties. As such, studies have indicated that eugenol effectively promoted cell death in cervical cancer cells. These are mere studies, and they make use of very concentrated amounts of clove extracts, clove oil and eugenol. Additional research is needed to decide how cloves may affect humans.
3 Cloves has anti-bacterial qualities
Cloves have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, meaning they can help stop the growth of microorganisms like bacteria. One bacteria that cloves can kill are E. coli, a strain of bacteria that can cause cramps, diarrhea, fatigue and even death.
What’s more, the antibacterial properties of cloves could even help promote oral health. As such, cloves are great to reduce gum disease by killing off the bacteria that causes gum disease. Therefore, in combination with regular brushing and proper oral hygiene, the antibacterial effects of cloves may benefit your oral health.
4 Cloves could improve your liver health
Studies show that the valuable compounds in cloves could help encourage liver health. The compound eugenol may be particularly favorable for the liver. Studies have found that eugenol helped to reduce fatty liver disease, also aided in improved liver function, reduced inflammation and decreased oxidative stress, and helped to reverse the signs of liver cirrhosis or the scarring of the liver. Most interesting was one study that indicated a link between taking eugenol supplements for one week could decreased levels of GST, an enzyme involved in detoxification that is often a marker of liver disease.
Nonetheless, cloves are high in antioxidants, which may help prevent liver disease due to their ability to help decrease oxidative stress.
5 Cloves could help regulate blood sugar
Some research studies have indicated that the compounds found in cloves may help keep blood sugar under control. For instance nigericin, a compound found in cloves, to increase the uptake of sugar from the blood into cells, increase the secretion of insulin and improve the function of cells that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone responsible for transporting sugar from your blood into your cells. The proper functioning of insulin is essential for maintaining steady blood sugar levels. Therefore, in combination with a balanced diet, cloves could help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
6 Cloves could help promote good bone health
Low bone mass is a condition that affects an estimated 43 million older adults in the United States alone. This condition could lead to the development of osteoporosis, which causes weakened, porous bones and an increased risk of breaks and fractures. Some of the compounds in cloves have been shown to help preserve bone mass in animal studies.
As cloves are also rich in manganese, providing an impressive 30% of the daily-recommended amount in just 1 teaspoon of ground cloves. Manganese is a mineral that is involved in the formation of bone and incredibly important to bone health. Plus, some studies have found that taking manganese supplements for 12 weeks increased bone mineral density and bone growth.
7 Cloves could help to reduce stomach ulcers
Some research studies have indicated that the compounds found in cloves could aid the treatment of stomach ulcers. Also known as peptic ulcers, stomach ulcers are tender sores that form in the lining of the stomach, duodenum or esophagus. They are most commonly caused by decrements in the defending lining of the stomach that are due to factors similar to stress, infection and genetics.
One study did indicated that essential oil from cloves could increase the production of gastric mucus. Gastric mucus functions as a barrier and helps prevent erosion of the stomach lining from digestive acids.
Cloves, besides being great to adding a warm, distinctive flavor to our foods, could have a lot of potential health benefits, like keeping our blood sugar in check and helping block the growth of bacteria. To get the benefits of cloves, we should add them to our diets on weekly bases.
As with many healthy foods, they are most effective when included as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Try integrating a few servings of cloves per week into your meals, or make a tea by simmering whole cloves in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes.