If you have been out of town for the past few years – like say on Jupiter, you may have missed some of the excitement about the Mediterranean diet. Along with its cousin Paleo, the Mediterranean way has attracted a league of followers whose lives are reportedly changed for the better. Fruits and veggies, legumes, fish and whole grains with moderate amounts of wine, and meat are the staples of this classic fare. For Paleo practitioners, the order of the day is similar, – with grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds, and heart friendly oils being the preferred pyramid. Its a healthy lot to contemplate.

Its no surprise then, that a little thing like capers should be overlooked in the feverish pursuit of eating thin and living long, but its an oversight worth correcting, since capers, (which are native to the Mediterranean) with their many antioxidant properties vitamins and minerals – are known to prevent the formation of byproducts of digested meat linked to cancer and the risk of heart disease. This should be of particular interest to the Paleo crowd since meat features prominently in this newly rediscovered way of eating.

But that is just the beginning. In addition reducing the risk of heart disease and tasting like a Greek romance, capers – also known as Flinders rose, contain niacin and riboflavin and are rich in flavonoid compounds including rutin and quercetin, providing great antioxidant protection. Quercetin in particular is known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties. Even if capers did not contain copper, and calcium, I would still love them for the salty exotic twist they add to foods such as chicken nicoise and mainstays like this salmon.

In fact, just thinking about these small green buds makes me giddy with longing. Carefully handpicked in the early hours of the day, washed and allowed to wilt for a few hours in the sun before being put into jars and covered with salt, vinegar, brine or olive oil, one little tablespoon can transform “pasta” into “campanelle” or veggies, into veggies extraordinaire. That same tablespoon of flower buds contains around 31 percent of your daily-recommended intake of vitamin K (promotes healthy bones and reduces risk of osteoporosis.)

So while you are dreaming up your next meal, consider capers and the sundrenched land that inspired some of the best and healthiest food in the world. Add a few of the “Flinders Rose buds” – for the flavor and the romance. The healthy part will follow.

For lots of mouthwatering recipes see:

Huffington Post – capers recipes

Food Republic – cooking with capers

For more nutritional info:

Nutrition and you – Capers nutrition facts

Science Daily -Tiny Capers Pack Big Disease-fighting Punch

Natural Health 365. – Capers are a powerful anti-inflammatory

Capers for skin hair and health

Tom Casey
Amy Clark
Angelika Torres
Anthony Zolezzi
Chelsea Vurciaga
Dave Carter
Elizabeth Chatellier, MA, RDN
Linda Bonvie
Liz Latham
Sebrina Zerkus Smith
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