What are capers and why should you include them in your diet for their health benefits?

What Are Capers — and Are They Healthy?

Capers are small, pea-sized buds that come from the caper bush, also known as Capparis spinosa. This bush is native to the Mediterranean region and is popular in Mediterranean cuisine. The buds are harvested by hand before they blossom into flowers, and they have been used in cooking for thousands of years.

Although capers may be small, they are packed with flavor. They have a tangy and salty taste that can add a burst of flavor to a variety of dishes. In addition to being flavorful, capers also offer some potential health benefits.

One of the main reasons capers are often considered healthy is their nutrient content. They are a good source of vitamins A, K, and C, as well as minerals like iron and calcium. Capers also contain antioxidants, which can help protect the body against damage from harmful free radicals. Additionally, they are low in calories and fat, making them a good choice for those watching their weight.

Good source of antioxidants

Good source of antioxidants

Capers are a good source of antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that help protect the body against damage caused by harmful free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress, leading to various chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and aging.

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, preventing or reducing the damage they can cause. Capers contain various antioxidants, including quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol. Quercetin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties. Rutin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, while kaempferol has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases.

Including capers in your diet can contribute to the overall antioxidant intake and help promote good health. However, it’s important to note that capers should be consumed as part of a balanced diet, as no single food can provide all the necessary antioxidants.

Antioxidant Benefits Sources
Quercetin Anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties Capers, apples, onions, and berries
Rutin Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects Capers, citrus fruits, and buckwheat
Kaempferol Reduced risk of chronic diseases Capers, kale, broccoli, and tea

By incorporating capers into your meals, you can enhance the antioxidant content of your diet and potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases. These flavorful little buds add a tangy and briny taste to various dishes, making them a versatile and healthy addition to your culinary repertoire.

Could support weight loss

Could support weight loss

Capers are a low-calorie food, making them a suitable addition to a weight loss diet. One tablespoon of capers contains only 4 calories.

In addition to their low calorie content, capers are also rich in fiber. Fiber is known to promote feelings of fullness and reduce appetite, which can be beneficial for weight loss. Including capers in your meals can help you feel more satisfied and prevent overeating.

Capers also contain compounds that may promote fat burning. One study found that a specific compound in capers called quercetin increased fat oxidation in rats, which could potentially aid in weight loss.

Moreover, capers can add flavor to dishes without the need for high-calorie ingredients like butter or oil. Using capers as a condiment or seasoning can help reduce the overall calorie content of a meal without sacrificing taste.

It’s important to note that while capers can support weight loss, it’s still essential to maintain a balanced diet and engage in regular physical activity for overall health and sustainable weight loss.

May have diabetes-fighting properties

Capers, with their unique combination of nutrients, may have potential diabetes-fighting properties. Studies have suggested that capers could help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, both of which are important factors in managing diabetes.

One study conducted on animals showed that caper extract could reduce blood sugar levels and increase insulin production. This indicates that capers may have the ability to enhance the body’s utilization of glucose and promote better glycemic control.

Capers are also rich in antioxidants, which play a crucial role in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are associated with diabetes. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of harmful free radicals and the body’s antioxidant defenses. By incorporating capers into your diet, you can benefit from their antioxidants and potentially reduce the risk of developing diabetes-related complications.

However, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential diabetes-fighting properties of capers. It is also crucial to maintain a balanced diet and engage in regular physical activity for optimal diabetes management.


Capers may possess diabetes-fighting properties due to their ability to regulate blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Their antioxidant content may also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress associated with diabetes. More research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.

Essential Diet & Nutrition Insights