Cloves are the flower buds of the clove tree, an evergreen also known as Syzygium aromaticum. Found in both whole and ground forms, this versatile spice can be used to season pot roasts, add flavor to hot beverages, and bring spicy warmth to cookies and cakes. You may know cloves as one of the main ingredients in gingerbread baked goods or a staple spice in Indian cuisine. Cloves are best known as a sweet and aromatic spice, but they have also been used in traditional medicine. In fact, animal studies have found that the compounds in cloves may have several health benefits, including supporting liver health and helping stabilize blood sugar levels. This article reviews 8 of the most impressive health benefits of eating cloves. In all, Cloves have many potential health benefits, including keeping blood sugar in check and helping block the growth of bacteria. As with many healthy foods, they’re most effective when included as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Try integrating a few servings of cloves per week into your meals. You can easily incorporate ground cloves into many dishes. They’ll bring a warm, distinctive flavor to desserts, curries, or chutneys.You can also simmer whole cloves in boiling water for 5–10 minutes to make a soothing cup of clove tea. Cloves are delicious and may provide many important health benefits.
1. Contain important nutrients
Cloves contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so using whole or ground cloves to add flavor to your food can provide some important nutrients. Cloves are low in calories but a rich source of manganese. They’re otherwise an insignificant source of nutrients.
2. High in antioxidants
In addition to containing several important vitamins and minerals, cloves are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of chronic disease. Cloves also contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to act as a natural antioxidant. In fact, a test-tube study found that eugenol stopped oxidative damage caused by free radicals five times more effectively than vitamin E, another potent antioxidant. Including cloves in your diet along with other antioxidants-rich foods can help improve your overall health.
3. May help protect against cancer.
could battle out lung cancer, according to a study by a research team from Kolkata's Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute. The scientists found that cloves inhibit abnormal cell growth in lungs of mice. "We found that cloves drove the proliferating cells of abnormal shapes and sizes to commit mass suicide," says Suktaa Das, who led the research team. "Cloves even thwarted the progression of pre-malignant cells that threatened to initiate lung cancer in mice," she adds. Lung cancer claims about one million lives every year all over the world. In India, cases of lung cancer are rising at an alarming rate. Many victims of lung cancer cannot afford chemotherapy due to its high cost. Some patients taking chemotherapy drop out due to side effects.To find an inexpensive and better remedy for lung cancer, the Kolkata team turned its attention to cloves, which had already shown activity against bacteria and viruses.
4. Can kill bacteria.
Cloves have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, meaning they can help stop the growth of microorganisms like bacteria ( 14 ). One test-tube study showed that clove essential oil killed three common types of bacteria, including E. coli, which is a strain of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. In another test-tube study, the compounds extracted from cloves were found to stop the growth of two types of bacteria that contribute to gum disease. Another study in 40 people tested the effects of an herbal mouthwash consisting of tea tree oil, cloves, and basil. After using the herbal mouthwash for 21 days, they showed improvements in gum health, as well as the amount of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. In combination with regular brushing and proper oral hygiene, the antibacterial effects of cloves may benefit your oral health.
5. May improve liver health.
Another impressive benefit of cloves is that they seem to aid the liver in detoxification, and again, thanks to eugenol. In one animal study, researchers fed rats with fatty liver disease solutions containing clove oil or eugenol. Both resulted in better overall liver function, lower levels of inflammation, and decreased oxidative stress.Another animal study, showed eugenol helped reverse signs of liver cirrhosis. While there hasn’t been much human research, one study, did find that supplementing with eugenol resulted in lower levels of GST — an enzyme related to detoxification that’s normally a marker of liver disease. Researchers speculate that this could be because of the antioxidants in cloves which help relieve oxidative stress.
6. May help regulate blood sugar
In combination with a balanced diet, cloves could help keep your blood sugar levels in check. Test-tube and animal studies have shown that the compounds in cloves may help promote insulin production and lower blood sugar.
7. May promote bone health
Cloves provide a significant amount of the mineral manganese. Manganese helps your body manage the enzymes that help repair your bones and produce hormones. Manganese can also act as an antioxidant that protects your body from free radicals
8. May reduce stomach ulcers
Treats stomach ulcers: Research has also shown that essential oils extracted from cloves can help cure stomach ulcers as eugenol is capable of significantly enhancing mucus production, an important gastroprotective factor.
Note: Cloves can be prepared in many ways.You can easily incorporate ground cloves into many dishes. They'll bring a warm, distinctive flavor to desserts, curries, or chutneys. You can also simmer whole cloves in boiling water for 5–10 minutes to make a soothing cup of clove tea.
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