If you are wondering about the benefits of capers, we have got it all covered in this article! There are many exotic fruits that not only add that unique flavor to your dishes but also help you boost your overall health as well! Capers are tangy, spicy, and exotic fruits that can benefit you in more ways than one!
Capers are commonly found and used in Mediterranean cuisines. They have a zesty, lemony taste combined with the slight bitterness of olive. Read on to learn more about how these tiny exotic fruits can be beneficial for you. Scroll down!
In This Article
What Are Capers?
- Capers are the unripe flower buds of Capparis spinosa. They are also called Flinders rose. Capers are perennial winter deciduous plants which are native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia and South Africa (1).
- These are an integral ingredient in Mediterranean cuisines.
- After these pea sized buds are cultivated, they are dried in the sun and used in pickles due to their tangy lemony flavor. Ancient history says capers were used in Sumerian food.
- Capers range in size from that of a peppercorn or nonpareil up to the size of a small green olive.
- Larger capers are stronger in flavor but if you want to enjoy their aroma, go for the tiny ones.
- Caper buds are picked by hand. They not only add some vibrant flavor to your meals, but they are also known for their immense health benefits.
- One tablespoon capers contain just two calories. Hence, capers can be a good option if you are following a low calorie diet. Apart from being low in calories, they also contain antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins essential for optimum health.
Capers Nutritional Value
A hundred grams of capers contains 5 g carbohydrate, 0.4 g sugar, 3 g dietary fiber, 0.9 g fat, 2 g protein, 4 mg vitamin C, 138 IU vitamin A, 24.6 mg vitamin K, 0.88mg vitamin E, 0.652 mg niacin, 0.139 mg riboflavin,1.7 mg iron, 2960 mg sodium, 40 mg potassium, and 96 KJ energy.
Health Benefits Of Capers
1. Antioxidant Powers
Capers are rich in flavonoid compounds, including rutin and quercetin. Both these compounds are potent sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to neutralize free radicals by donating some of their own electrons, thus switching off free radicals and preventing them from damaging our cells.
- Rutin helps in smooth circulation of blood, and it can be very helpful in treating strained blood vessels.
- Recent research reveals quercetin has analgesic, anti- inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties (2).
2. Mineral Mine
Capers contain minerals like iron, calcium, copper and high levels of sodium (3).
- Calcium helps in building strong bones, and teeth.
- Copper combines with certain proteins to produce enzymes that act as catalysts to help a number of body functions.
- Iron helps our muscles to store and use oxygen. It is a part of many enzymes that help our body to digest food.
3. Vitamin Vitality
These tasty herbs are storehouses of vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin K, niacin, and riboflavin (4).
- Vitamin A improves eyesight and helps us see in the dark. It may also reduce the risk of certain cancers. This essential vitamin helps our body fight infection and strengthens its immunity.
- Vitamin K plays a vital role in bone health. It lowers the risk of blood clotting.
- Niacin protects against cardiovascular diseases and also supports cognitive functions and the nervous and digestive systems.
- Riboflavin, also called vitamin B2, helps the body to convert food into fuel that keeps us energetic. It is also known to support adrenal function. Thus, it helps to maintain a healthy nervous system.
4. Fiber Fueled
5. Bad Enzyme Buster
People who include fat and red meat in their daily diet should eat capers since they destroy certain by-products found in meat and foods that are rich in fat. These by-products are often responsible for cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Medicinal Uses of Capers
6. Rheumatism Relief
Capers have been used as a treatment for rheumatic pain (6) in ancient Greece.
7. Relieves Flatulence
8. Diabetes Buster
Capers help to keep diabetes in check. Capers contain chemicals that keep blood sugar stable. Avoid consuming high quantities of capers if you are already using diabetes medicine as both tend to lower blood sugar (8).
9. Congestion Relief
These are also known to prevent chest congestion and may reduce the buildup of phlegm (9).
Skin Benefits Of Capers
10. Dry Skin Relief
Capers are good for dry skin (10). They can be used directly on the skin to keep it moisturized.
11. Skin Aid
They are also used to treat skin redness, irritation, and pimples. Hence, capers are used in skin care products (11). In addition, capers help to slow down the aging process due to its antioxidant properties.
Hair Benefits Of Capers
12. Promote Hair Growth
Capers are widely used in hair care products too since it is rich in vitamin B and iron. Both are known for promoting hair growth. Vitamin B helps blood circulation in our body. Thus, it sustains the overall health of hair since blood circulation is a primary condition for healthy and shiny hair. Iron helps to prevent hair loss.
Side Effects Of Capers
- If you are on a low sodium diet, you should avoid capers since they are a rich source of sodium.
- A common sign of eating excess capers is extreme thirst. So, try to consume them in moderate amounts.
- Capers retain water naturally since they contain a high amount of sodium. This water retention can make you feel bloated. Hence, be careful about eating an excessive amount of capers.
- If you have high blood pressure, avoid consuming capers. Excess sodium increases blood volume since it retains water. Excess sodium intake could put the body at risk for heart disease.
- Another side effect of eating too much of capers is the risk of developing osteoporosis. Sodium decreases your bone density, which causes them to lose strength. It also prevents your body from absorbing calcium, which is crucial for building and retaining bone health. The weak bone condition often leads to osteoporosis. And if you already have osteoporosis, better stay away from capers.
- According to the Naturals Medicines Comprehensive Database, eating a small amount of capers (1 tablespoon in a meal) is likely safe during pregancy. Avoid them if you are undergoing any surgery (12).
Capers are used to bring flavor in a variety of sauces, including remoulade or tartare. They are great when cooked with cheese. Knowing the amazing health benefits, you can add them as a replacement for salt while cooking salmon, chicken, turkey, red meat, vegetables, and salads. Their tender shoots are also used in different dishes.
How To Buy Capers?
When it comes to capers, the dark green ones in smaller sizes are the best. Peppercorn sized capers from southern France are considered the finest capers in the world.
Capers are usually sold in brine. Store them in the fridge. You must ensure that they stay dipped in brine so that they do not get dry.
The benefits of capers are many. These exotic fruits are known for their exotic flavor and tanginess. Capers can reduce cancer risk and promote eye, bone, brain, and digestive health. They also ease constipation because of their fiber content. They aid in the treatment of rheumatism, diabetes, and congestion as well. However, excess consumption may trigger unusual thirst and increase the risk of osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Hence, moderate consumption is advised.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are capers good for the liver?
Yes, capers are good for the liver. They slow down lipid accumulation and significantly reduce the risk of fatty liver.
Can you eat capers raw?
No, capers cannot be consumed raw. They have a bitter taste that can be intolerable.
Should capers be rinsed?
Although it is not necessary to rinse capers before consuming them, the excessive salt on them may not be tolerable for some people. Hence, rinsing them before consumption is generally recommended.
Are capers good for arthritis?
Yes, capers are good for arthritis. They exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that help manage arthritis-related symptoms.