- Capers, what they are and how they are consumed
- Properties and benefits of capers
Capers, what they are and how they are consumed
I capers that we normally consume are the buds of the splendid flowers of the caper (Capparis spinosa L.), a Mediterranean plant that grows spontaneously between the cracks of rocks and walls.
La caper plant it is characterized by woody stems that bear alternate and rounded leaves. In spring, the caper produces beautiful solitary flowers with four white petals and numerous pink stamens. After flowering, the fruits ripen reddish-green oval berries.
I buds and fruits of the caper are normally used as food, preserved in vinegar or salted. Capers are generally consumed after rinsing them with salt or vinegar, added to other dishes including salads greens, rice or pasta.
They are often used to prepare vegetables in oil, including dried tomatoes. In Phytotherapy the root is used, which boasts diuretic, bitter and astringent properties and is used as a tonic and exciting aperitif.
Although the caper drug is represented by the root, in recent years interest has grown in the properties of the buds that have shown multiple beneficial effects and no side effects.
Properties and benefits of capers
Traditionally, capers are used in treatment of numerous ailments including fever, toothache, back pain and menstrual pain, as well as skin, liver and kidney diseases, ulcers and rheumatism.
As often happens, thepopular use of a plant leads researchers to study its composition and evaluate its effectiveness and, in the case of capers, studies have partly confirmed the properties of this plant used as a medicine since the ancient Romans.
Numerous studies carried out on caper plants have shown that different parts of the plant, including the roots, buds, fruits and seeds contain bioactive compounds - in particular polyphenols - responsible for the health benefits of the caper.
The molecules present in capers have been shown to possess above all antioxidant properties therefore, like most vegetables, capers can also help slow down the aging process and counteract damage to free radicals.
Thanks to the action of flavonoids, the consumption of capers can be beneficial in case of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, liver disorders and cognitive impairment.
In addition, the capers feature antibacterial properties, antifungal e inflammatory and this could justify popular use in cases of pain, rheumatism, fever, skin diseases and ulcers. It should be emphasized that the research is still preliminary and to be deepened, but given the numerous properties of capers, it is worth including them in your diet.
Wiley, ACS Publications, Nutrients