Vanilla is a tropical orchid that grows in places like Madagascar, Mexico, Tahiti, Papau New Guinea, and Indonesia. This widely-loved plant is the only orchid that produces a vital commercial fruit for its flavor and aroma. The vanilla extract is from the pod (beans) of the vanilla plant, and it's one of the most expensive spices on the plant to this day. Most people will have been introduced to vanilla through ice cream and cakes, but vanilla extract is also widely used to enhance foodstuffs, such as bread, waffles, drinks; and it's also used in medicinal and beauty products as well.
Given there are so many types of vanilla products sourced and produced around the world, it should be no surprise to learn that it's also a powerhouse of nutrition with many untold benefits that we're going to uncover in this post.
12 Proven Nutritional and Holistic Benefits of Vanilla
1. A natural antioxidant
An antioxidant is a substance that gets rid of potentially damaging agents in the body. The antioxidant properties in vanilla are from its calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium contents. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry research indicated that vanilla has an antioxidant potential for food preservatives and health products. In the same vein, a recent study suggested that enough vanilla could help people get the required dose of antioxidants in a day. In addition to this, it can also help boost the immune system; thereby, preventing harmful substances from attacking the body.
2. Antibacterial properties
As an antibacterial agent, vanilla could help in the prevention of infections. In 2015, researchers decided to determine the antibacterial and antifungal properties of vanilla that was taken from fresh vanilla plants. The result revealed secondary metabolites like tannin, flavonoid, carbohydrate, and glucoside that inhibit both bacterial and fungus growth.
3. It could help protect the heart
The principal property in vanilla, Vanillin, has proved to be effective in reducing cholesterol. With high cholesterol levels being a leading cause of heart-related diseases, having low cholesterol levels can help adults with Type 2 diabetes to prevent or reverse atherosclerosis and reduce fat.
4. Anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation is the body's reaction to harmful factors. Some of these reactions, like pain in joints, reddened, hot, or swollen body parts, can become uncomfortable and enlarged. Thankfully, Vanillin is a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient that is found in vanilla. According to a 2018 study, Vanillin was a key component in reducing nitric acids, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and other inflammatory substances. You can find the natural anti-inflammatory benefits in food, cream, and medicinal products that contain vanilla extract.
5. Healthier hair
Another great benefit of vanilla is that it can also help you to get increases healthier hair. Many hair product manufacturers and medicinal product companies understand this fact, so the producers include vanilla in their ingredients. Not only does it help to prevent damages to the hair follicles, but it is also said to help with the reparation of damaged cells. Thus, promoting healthier, more luscious locks.
6. Calming Effects
Have you ever wondered why the most popular scent used in candles, perfumes, and other aromatic items is vanilla?
This constant inclusion is due to the fact that the somewhat exotic scent of vanilla has been proven to have a soothing and relaxing effect. Research has shown that the vanilla extract odor reduces sleep apnea, a temporary suspension of breathing in both babies and adults alike. This is one of the most profound holistic benefits of vanilla and one that we could all benefit from having in our lives.
Sometimes, treating acne can be a colossal nightmare for those who struggle with it daily. Thankfully, vanilla extract has antibacterial ingredients that make it difficult for pimples and other related face infections to thrive. It also contains essential vitamins like Vitamin B6, Vitamin B6, and pantothenic acids to maintain healthy skin. The oil extract fights against the underlying conditions of acne; thereby, increasing the healing process. It can also clear out scars and brighten the complexion.
8. Treatment of Respiratory Conditions
If you pay attention, you would have noticed that many cough syrups have a vanilla-base to their flavor. Vanilla extract is put in many different types of medicines and syrups to cover up for the syrup's otherwise bitter taste, along with the fact that it is also known to help combat colds, cough, and other respiratory infections. Its anti-inflammatory properties help protect the throat when added to warm water, providing a relieving effect for a sore throat or a cough. Its antibacterial properties can also help to eliminate the underlying causes of the cough or sore throat.
9. Relief from Toothache
The Vanillin in vanilla is closely related to capsaicin in peppers and eugenols in spices such as cloves and nutmeg. Capsaicin is an effective pain reliever, while eugenols act as natural anesthetics. These properties have a positive effect on the nervous system, and they help fight toothache, helping you get to the root cause of the problem without suffering from the same magnitude of pain as you would normally.
10. It promotes better digestion
Vanilla has a long history of being used to cure many stomach conditions. In the book titled The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia, European Physicians popularly used vanilla to fight stomach infections in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The herbal tea from the vanilla leaves provides a calming and soothing effect for the stomach; thereby, helping to prevent diarrhea, cramping, and vomiting.
11. Weight Loss
Putting vanilla extract in your food is said to help with weight loss goals. The Vanilla aroma contributes to helping suppress the appetite and reduce cravings for food, according to Reader's Digest Canada. They called it The Christmas Syndrome (a situation that makes the person cooking less hungry because they have been smelling the odor all day). When any food cravings reduce, you eat less, and this can help reduce your overall consumption of food. Thus, to get the best out of the vanilla weight loss effect, immerse yourself into the scent through vanilla candles, patches, perfume, and more.
If you're looking to get some ideas for the best vanilla recipes, this article will give you some inspiration on how you can include more vanilla in your every cooking.
Companies use vanilla extract in cosmetic products for its fragrance and the ability for it to help with the healing of potential skin problems caused by free radicals. The antioxidant properties in vanilla, as mentioned earlier, fight against damaged cells and skin tissues in the body. Vanilla oil can reduce the growth of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. As a result, with regular use, it gives your skin a smoother, softer texture. Besides, the presence of retinol, niacinamide, or hyaluronic acid in vanilla makes it suitable to slow down aging signs, such as wrinkles that can gradually appear underneath the eyes.
The vanilla orchid is one of the most expensive flavoring agents in the world. Its harvest is highly time-sensitive, and it requires a lot of labor and energy to produce. Healthy and consistent consumption of vanilla may have a positive nutritional impact, as well as improving a person's general well-being. Apart from everyday vanilla recipes, such as homemade vanilla ice cream (as just one example), there are so many great recipes for desserts, vanilla-based beers, and more to take inspiration from.
Aside from the fact it tastes amazing, it's also incredibly good for your health and nutritionally speaking, it contains a host of essential minerals as well. Whether you buy whole vanilla beans to make your own homemade vanilla extract, or you buy vanilla paste or powder, the simple act of adding more vanilla into your life while nourishing you inside and out.
Seriously, why wouldn't you want to have more vanilla in your life?