Life Extension Magazine®
Glass bowl of capers studied for antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory effects

Capers

Flower buds known as capers have been clinically shown to improve non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. They are also being studied for their antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Scientifically reviewed by: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N, on October 2021. Written By Laurie Mathena.

Sometimes the smallest foods pack the biggest health punch. That is the case with capers, the pea-sized flower buds of the caper bush.

Capers are the star ingredient in modern-day dishes like chicken piccata and smoked salmon, but they have been consumed for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence of capers has been found in soil deposits from Stone Age cave dwellings in Greece and Israel.

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, capers were used to promote healthy liver function. Modern research supports this use.

In one clinical trial, 44 people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease who ate 40-50 grams of caper fruit pickles with their meals for 12 weeks experienced reduced disease severity and a reduction in two markers of liver damage (ALT and AST).1

Capers are also being studied for their potential anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.

In a rat study, caper extracts had anti-diabetic effects, such as reducing high blood sugar levels, lowering LDL cholesterol levels, improving liver functioning, and increasing HDL cholesterol.2

They have also been found to exert significant anti-inflammatory activity in rats, supporting their traditional use as a treatment for inflammatory conditions like rheumatism, arthritis, and gout.3

Capers are typically pickled, which brings out their tangy, lemon-like flavor and adds a burst of texture and flavor to dishes like fish, stews, and sauces.

References

  1. Adv Pharm Bull. 2017 Dec;7(4):645-50.
  2. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2015 Jul-Aug;5(4):325-32.
  3. Agents Actions. 1986 Jan;17(3-4):383-4.