The Value of Cloves
The cloves we use in cooking are actually flowerbeds of the clove tree. You can use this in both whole and ground forms as a seasoning to hot meals, desserts, and beverages. For instance, many people use this in gingerbread cookies or Indian desserts like Kheer for its powerful taste. In addition, it is nutrient-rich and can heal chronic diseases too. Firstly, it helps with oral care and can treat aches and pains. Secondly, it carries a high fibre content which maintains digestive health. Thirdly, and most importantly, many studies show that it can beat cancer too.
Here are some reasons to include cloves in your cooking right away.
Are you seeking flavourful food but worried about the side effects? Thankfully, health and taste aren’t necessarily opposite ends of the spectrum. Cloves not only add subtle warmth and sweetness to food, but also pack in those micronutrients you need. In fact, just one teaspoon (6 grams) is rich in Manganese and Vitamin K (55% and 2% of your daily needs respectively). Manganese is essential to brain functioning and bone health. Thus, cloves are helpful alongside medicines for treating bone brittleness or cognitive impairment.
Antioxidants are compounds which lower levels of oxidative stress. Too much of this stress can cause chronic diseases. In this regard, cloves contain the compound Eugenol which serves as a natural antioxidant. Various studies can prove its effectiveness. For instance, one test tube study from Pub Med finds that that it can beat free radical damage upto five times better than vitamin E. Hence, make sure to include cloves in your diet alongside other antioxidant rich foods. This can boost your immunity and keep diseases at bay.
You can check out some natural ayurvedic immunity boosters here. Likewise, take a look at our COVID-19 guide to find out why high immunity is so important.
Many studies show that cloves can prevent the formation of cancerous cells and tumours. For instance, one test tube study finds that it can actively cause cancer cell death and cease tumour growth. Similarly, another study finds that concentrated clove oil can cause cell death in 80% of oesophageal cancer cells. Furthermore, the eugenol compound present also houses anti-cancerous properties. According to a third test tube study, for instance, eugenol can kill cervical cancer cells. On the other hand, you must note that such studies use minimal concentrated levels of clove oil or extract, or eugenol.
Furthermore, high amounts of eugenol can be lethal. Hence, clove oil overdose can cause liver damage among children in particular. However, more human studies in this area can help to confirm these findings.
Various studies show that cloves can kill certain harmful pathogens. As per one test tube study, for instance, cloves can defeat three harmful bacteria types including e-coli which can cause stomach ailments. Most importantly, its anti-bacterial properties cloves can boost oral health too. For instance, a second test tube study finds that cloves can hinder microbe growth leading to gum disease. Along similar lines, a third study testing the effects of herbal mouthwash (containing cloves) notes of better gum health and lower plaque and bacterial levels, only after three weeks.
In summery, cloves can combat harmful microbes which thus aids oral health. But of course, be sure to use cloves alongside general oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing.
Better Liver Health
Cloves contain a variety of compounds boosting liver health. For instance, one animal study provides either a clove oil or eugenol mixture to rats with fatty liver diseases, finding results of lower inflammation, oxidative stress, and better liver function. Further, another study notes that cloves can lower liver cirrhosis or scarring.
Unfortunately, human studies testing the effects of cloves on liver health are not as abundant. One study, however, finds that taking eugenol supplements for a week can lower levels of the GST enzyme family. This is typically a marker of liver illnesses. Moreover, other studies show that cloves can ward away liver disease by virtue of lowering antioxidant stress.
However, to reiterate, high eugenol levels are unadvisable. For instance, a case study of a two-year old boy reveals severe liver damage which was a result of eugenol overdose.
Blood Sugar Management
Diabetes and high blood sugar are among the most common ailments today. Thankfully, cloves are a simple and no-fuss addition to your diet which can stabilise blood sugar levels. Firstly, one animal study finds that cloves can regulate blood sugar levels among diabetic mice. Similarly, another study considers the effects of the compound nigericin present in cloves on both human muscle cells and diabetic mice. It finds that both of these can increase sugar uptake from blood into cells as well as insulin secretion. To clarify, insulin is the hormone that helps to transfer sugar from your blood into cells. Thus, optimal and timely secretion is vital to stable blood sugar levels.
Overall, make sure to adhere to a balanced diet with just the right amount of cloves for flavouring. This can stabilise your blood sugar levels over a long term.
Boosts Bone Health
The issue of low bone mass affects close to 43 million elder adults in the USA alone. Over time, this can cause osteoporosis or bone brittleness, thus leading to fractures and easy wear and tear. However, Ayurveda houses a number of natural ingredients that can boost bone health – cloves are one of them. Various animal studies depict this too. For instance, one animal study finds that eugenol-high clove extract does not only lower brittleness, but also boosts bone density and strength. In addition, the manganese content can help contribute to bone strength. For instance, one animal study finds that taking manganese supplements over a 3-month span raised mineral density and bone growth.
However, most research linking cloves to bone health includes either lab or animal studies. Thus, more research can help to determine its effects on human beings.
Cloves are a fantastic Ayurvedic spice you can add to your diet. In addition to housing an array of health benefits, they add a warm bitter-sweet taste which adds an extra kick to your food. However, to be sure to avoid excessive consumption. This is because high levels of the eugenol compound can be toxic and have counter effects. Overall, be sure spice up your food with cloves as a part of a balanced diet.
Click here to check out the marvels of cinnamon, which is another warming spice.
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