You may think that the only use for vanilla extract is in baking and food, to give a sweet taste and aroma to your culinary creations. It is easy to find in grocery stores, and you can even make a vanilla extract substitute of your own at home. However, vanilla extract is so much more than what we think. In reality, it boasts a whole range of different benefits, from health benefits to uses you may not think of straight away.
Vanilla extract, in particular, has lots of benefits, however, it must be noted that these benefits are forfeited unless vanilla comes in its natural form. There are many synthetic vanilla extracts out there that are cheaper but lack the quality of the real stuff.
Health benefits of vanilla extract
Adding some vanilla extract to your baked goods and sweet treats can actually add more than just a pleasant taste and sweet aroma. It can provide some benefits to your health, too.
It is rich in antioxidants
Vanilla extract is, in fact, rich in antioxidants. These little chemicals are beneficial for your health as they help to protect your cells and body from free radicals, which are molecules that can damage our cells and are attributed to many health problems, including heart disease. So having vanilla extract in your diet can help your body fight against disease.
It is antibacterial
The vanilla plant and seed are naturally antibacterial, so they can help to avoid infection. It is particularly effective against some of the bacteria that can develop on food around the time of processing and packaging.
It can aid in weight loss
Vanilla doesn’t just taste great, it’s also a natural appetite suppressant. Using it as a flavouring agent in your diet can help you to not eat as much, and therefore aid weight loss or management.
It’s also low in calories, so vanilla makes the perfect flavouring agent to any food or drink.
It can be used as an antidepressant
We all know how good vanilla smells. It’s a staple flavour for baked goods and sweet treats, but also in fragrances and candles too. But you may not know that because it smells so good, it can actually help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, particularly in times of stress.
It contains magnesium and potassium
Vanilla naturally contains magnesium and potassium – two essential minerals that our bodies need to stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many reasons, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA. Most people don’t get the right amount of magnesium in their diets, so it’s important to incorporate magnesium into our diets wherever we can. Potassium is another crucial mineral in keeping our bodies healthy. We need it for proper kidney and heart function, as well as muscle contraction and nerve function too.
Overall, vanilla extract gives us a lot more than just a nice taste in our coffee, cake or ice cream – this magic plant extract helps to keep our bodies healthy too.