Spice up your holidays with brain-healthy seasonings
Many of the flavorings that enhance our favorite holiday foods also provide the gift of brain health. Researchers revealed that cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices used in baked products and savory dishes have compounds that can help with memory, stress reduction, and sleep improvement, among other things.
Health Benefits of Cloves
Made from the dried flower buds of the evergreen clove tree, cloves are also native to Indonesia. The spice is loaded with antioxidant power. Research comparing clove with more than 1,100 other foods found that it had three times the antioxidants of the next highest source, dried oregano. Cloves are also a natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent, a local anesthetic, and have been found to have antifungal properties. A compound found in cloves has been shown to be 29 times more powerful than aspirin in helping to prevent blood clots. Serving ideas:Delicious added to baked goods, cooked grains, bean soups and chili, applesauce, smoothies, and cooked cereals.
Buckle up, spice enthusiasts, because we’re diving deep into the world of cloves and uncovering the 15 incredible things that happen when you make them a daily habit:
Forget vitamin C tablets, cloves are nature’s supercharged immunity boosters. Packed with this essential vitamin, cloves help your body produce an army of white blood cells, your frontline defense against infections and diseases. Imagine two tiny cloves acting as a shield against the daily onslaught of germs!
Cloves aren’t just for bad breath. Their inherent antiseptic properties fight harmful bacteria in your mouth, keeping your gums and teeth healthy. Say goodbye to throbbing toothaches and hello to fresh, confident smiles, all thanks to these spicy nuggets.
Bloating, gas, and indigestion? Cloves come to the rescue! They aid in the production of digestive enzymes, ensuring your food gets broken down efficiently and smoothly. No more post-meal discomfort, just happy tummies and a sense of well-being.
Chronic inflammation lies at the root of many health issues. Cloves, with their potent anti-inflammatory properties, act like soothing balms, reducing discomfort and lowering the risk of chronic diseases. Think of them as tiny firefighters, extinguishing the flames of inflammation within your body.
Free radicals, the nasty molecules that damage your cells and contribute to aging and disease, are no match for cloves’ antioxidant army. By consuming these spicy warriors, you’re building a protective shield against these harmful invaders, promoting overall health and well-being.
6. Bone Builder
Strong bones are the foundation of a healthy body, and cloves play a vital role in keeping them that way. Rich in manganese, a crucial bone nutrient, cloves help maintain bone density and strength, especially as we age. Imagine them as tiny architects, meticulously building and fortifying your skeletal system.
In today’s fast-paced world, keeping blood sugar levels stable can be a challenge. Cloves come to the rescue again, possessing properties that help regulate blood sugar. This is especially beneficial for those with pre-diabetes or anyone aiming to maintain healthy glucose levels. Think of cloves as tiny balancing scales, keeping your blood sugar in check.
Your liver is your body’s detoxifying powerhouse, and cloves are its loyal bodyguard. Their rich antioxidant content shields this vital organ from harmful free radicals, ensuring it functions optimally and keeps you feeling your best.
Your body is a complex ecosystem teeming with both good and bad bacteria. Cloves, with their eugenol content, act as natural antibiotics, fighting off harmful bacteria that can lead to infections and diseases. Imagine them as tiny bouncers, keeping the bad guys out and the good bacteria thriving.
While research is ongoing, some studies suggest that cloves might possess properties that combat certain types of cancer. These potential anti-cancer properties stem from the diverse array of beneficial compounds present in cloves. Think of them as offering an extra layer of protection against this formidable disease.
Painful stomach ulcers can be a thing of the past with cloves on your side. Their properties act as a barrier and healer for the stomach lining, reducing the risk of ulcers and promoting a healthy balance of stomach acids. Imagine them as a soothing balm, providing relief and promoting healing for your delicate stomach.
Struggling with asthma or bronchitis? Cloves’ anti-inflammatory properties come to the rescue once again. By reducing inflammation in the respiratory tract, cloves can help alleviate symptoms associated with these conditions. Think of them as opening up your airways and letting you breathe easier.
From toothaches to joint pain, cloves have been traditionally used as a natural pain reliever. Their numbing properties offer relief when applied directly to affected areas, especially for dental pain. Imagine having a natural solution in your kitchen to combat everyday aches and pains.
Pollution, stress, and poor diet can take a toll on your skin. Cloves, with their potent antioxidants, fight free radicals, leading to clearer, more radiant skin. Additionally, their antibacterial properties help combat acne-causing bacteria, ensuring your skin stays blemish-free. Think of them as a natural elixir for glowing skin from the inside out.
Testosterone, a vital hormone regulating various bodily functions like muscle building and mood, might get a boost from cloves. Studies suggest that cloves can positively impact testosterone levels, potentially enhancing various physiological processes and keeping you feeling energetic and healthy. Think of them as giving your body a natural nudge in the right direction.
But Hold Your Horses!
Before you go clove-crazy, remember that while natural remedies offer numerous advantages, they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution. Cloves, despite their impressive health benefits, might not be the best choice for everyone.
Word of Caution:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women: Cloves can stimulate uterine contractions and interfere with milk production, so proceed with caution.
- Individuals on blood-thinning medications: Cloves act as a natural blood thinner, potentially causing excessive bleeding when combined with certain medications.
- Surgery-scheduled individuals: Stop consuming cloves at least two weeks before surgery to avoid bleeding complications.
- Excessive consumption: Overdoing cloves can lead to digestive issues and allergic reactions in some individuals.
Onion-Clove Compote Recipe
Ready to experience the magic of cloves firsthand? We’ve got a delightful recipe that packs a powerful punch of flavor and health benefits:
This simple yet stunning compote pairs caramelized onions with the warm, spicy depth of cloves, creating a condiment that elevates everything from roasted meats to grilled cheese sandwiches.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 yellow onions, thinly sliced crosswise
- 5 whole cloves
- Kosher salt
- In a large, shallow pot, melt the butter. Add the onion slices and cloves and season with salt. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft but not browned, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add water by the tablespoon if the onions get too dry before they’re soft. Discard the cloves.
The compote can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.