We didn’t know this yet!
Cloves can be used in different dishes to give your food just a little extra flavor. It is a great addition to your pasta sauce or as part of a DYI muesli mix. You can even use cloves to make tea! But did you know that adding this strong flavored spice to your food is also beneficial for your health? You will find four of these health benefits listed below.
What are cloves?
Cloves are small, dried flower buds. These buds come from the clove tree. The flavor could be compared to cinnamon, although the flavor is stronger and might be described as a little spicy. Cloves come as pictured but you can also buy them ground. Usually, cloves are combined with cinnamon and nutmeg for the best flavor experience. And the best part: they contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamin A and potassium. But that is not the only good thing about cloves. They provide some extra benefits that you might not have known about.
1. Pain relief
For centuries, cloves have been used to relief pain. Especially when people experienced tooth aches. This is because of a substance called eugenol, which gives cloves their signature scent. And eugenol has narcotic properties. That is why cloves can be used to ease your pain. Particularly when dealing with an ache in your tooth.
Another benefit is that cloves have antimicrobial properties. This means that it can stop the growth of bacteria or other micro organisms. When you use clove oil, it can help fight some of the bacteria that cause diarrhea or fatigue. People who use mouth wash that contains cloves, have less bacteria in their mouth and with that, less plaque.
3. Liver protection
Cloves contain antioxidants (eugenol is one of those) that help prevent liver failure. If you eat a dish that has cloves in it, it will add to the health of your kidneys. But eat with moderation! When you eat a lot of cloves, it can actually damage your liver because of excess eugenol.
4. Blood sugar
A few years ago, researchers looked into the effect of nigericin. Nigericin is a substance found in cloves. The researchers were trying to see what kind of effect this substance might have on human cells. And it turned out that cells that produce insulin started producing more of it because of the nigericin. And insulin regulates our blood sugar levels. That means that cloves can help regulate your levels of blood sugar too!
So the next time you’re making dinner, add some cloves! Not only will it add flavor, it might also give you some surprising health benefits.
Source: BBC Good Food | Image: Unsplash, Jaspreet Kalsi