What are the health benefits of cloves?
Are cloves good for you?
Cloves are a spice that come from a flowering plant and are easy to incorporate into your diet. Particularly popular in baked goods, cloves add a warmth to recipes reminiscent of cozy evenings around a roaring fire.
Cloves are packed full of antioxidants and nutrients, making them a healthy addition to any recipe. They’re sold whole or ground and can be used in a variety of ways, including as seasoning, in beverages and in desserts. They are also used for aromatherapy and are said to improve oral health.
Learn more about the health benefits of cloves and how to use them in various ways by reading this guide.
Reasons to add cloves to your diet
High in antioxidants
According to Healthline, cloves offer many health benefits, including natural antioxidants. Antioxidants are shown to help with maintaining a healthy weight, protecting against cancer, stroke, high cholesterol, and heart disease and improving brain function. The antioxidant in cloves, called eugenol, is said to help reduce inflammation in the body.
Cloves contain high levels of minerals including manganese, which helps metabolism, growth and development. While they contain very few calories in a one-teaspoon serving (only six), they have a gram of fiber, which is impressive for such a small serving.
Cloves can help stave off osteoporosis, a bone condition that leads to bone fracture. Women are susceptible to osteoporosis, but everyone should look after their bone health as they age. The manganese in cloves is what can help strengthen bones. A healthy intake of manganese can help your bones grow, increase their density and keep them healthy for years to come.
While they’re certainly not bad for you, the main purpose of cloves is not as a health food. Mostly, people use cloves for flavor. They’re highly aromatic and are a staple in Indian cuisine because of their rich, warm smell and taste. If you grew up celebrating Christmas, you probably associate the smell of cloves with cider or gingerbread around the holidays.
Reduced risk of disease
Studies have shown that clove extract slows the growth of tumors, so a sprinkle in your cider could help save your life.
It’s not recommended that children use clove extract, however, as it’s highly concentrated and bad for the liver. In small, controlled amounts, cloves can actually help the liver stay healthy. One study even showed cloves reversing scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis.
Cloves also contain bacteria-killing properties, which improve oral health and can protect you from food poisoning from E.coli, a bacterium that can wreak havoc on your body if you ingest it.
Lower blood sugar levels
A diet containing cloves or clove oil can help decrease your risk for Type 2 diabetes. Eating cloves helps moderate your blood sugar, increase insulin and improve cell function as it relates to insulin. In conjunction with an overall healthy diet, cloves can keep you from succumbing to blood sugar issues.
Cloves can help prevent stomach ulcers called peptic ulcers, which are painful sores that occur when your stomach doesn’t make enough gastric mucus to line the stomach and protect it from digestive acid. Clove intake, especially in oil form, helps your stomach make this protective layer of gastric mucus and keeps you from experiencing these nasty ulcers.
How to cook with cloves
Cloves are easy to add to many foods you already eat and are available year-round. They’re available in the spice section of the grocery store and are often present in ingredients around the holidays.
Heat them up
Cloves are a popular addition to cuisines around the world. Asian, African, Mediterranean, Mexican, Peruvian, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines use cloves in their meat, curry and fruit recipes.
They make for a good addition to a marinade. Cloves pair well with other flavors, including allspice, basil, cinnamon, citrus, cumin, red wine, onion, peppercorn and star anise. Make your own meat rub for your roast or pan-fried meal using a combination of these spices for a flavor-packed, sweet-smelling main course. Mix up your usual grill flavors with a clove-infused rub for your next barbeque on the grill or smoker.
Cloves are also a key ingredient in spiced cider, a warm, tasty beverage often served in glass mugs in the winter months with apples, oranges and cinnamon sticks for garnish. Warm up on a cold night with a fragrant cup of clove-spiced cider.
Add to baked goods
When you bake with cloves, they offer a nutritional boost and big flavor. Use a nonstick bakeware set or muffin pan to make quick breakfast breads. Cloves are added to pumpkin spice blends, so don’t forget them when you’re making your favorite pie from scratch in a festive pie pan.
Cloves are also popular in desserts featuring apple, pear or rhubarb. Another dessert that uses cloves is speculoos, the comforting, crunchy cookie used to make cookie butter. Pull out your baking sheets and make your own for a tasty treat that makes your house smell like a winter cottage.
Cloves are a popular addition to essential oils used in alternative medicine and aromatherapy. Look for cloves in your favorite essential oil blend for use in a diffuser to wind down after a long day. The warm, soothing scent is likely to help you feel comforted.
Laura Wheatman Hill is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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