Articles on health and science matters that affect our daily lives

The Benefits of Vanilla

The Benefits of Vanilla

As one of the worlds most appreciated flavours, does it have a place in your custom formulation?

What is vanilla extract used for? Most people know it as one of the world’s best-loved dessert flavourings next to chocolate. You can find it in anything from cakes to pastries and, of course, ice cream—but have you ever considered the health benefits of vanilla?

If you were ever an adventurous kid who tried vanilla right out of the bottle, you might be thinking, “Isn’t pure vanilla bad for you?” While it might not taste great by itself and isn’t often used by itself, vanilla is a safe and healthy additive for many reasons!

  1. Rich in Antioxidants

Vanilla is a spice with very high levels of antioxidants, which help protect your body’s cells against free radicals and toxins. Free radicals are bad business: they promote the breakdown of your cells and tissues. They are a by-product of natural body processes, though they also show up when we’re exposed to radiation.

Antioxidants are the most significant benefit of vanilla because they help repair your body at the molecular level. They’ve also been linked to lesser risks of various diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. Plus they help reduce the effects of aging and promote more vibrant skin.

  1. Promotes Heart Health

How does vanilla help support a more healthy heart? One of the active ingredients in vanilla, vanillin, has been shown to lower bad cholesterol—and we all know how notorious cholesterol is as one of the primary causes of heart diseases.

This was the result of a 2013 study published by the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. In it, rats were exposed to controlled doses of vanilla. After 45 days, there was a significant reduction in the rats’ cholesterol profiles. While the cholesterol-reducing benefits of vanilla on humans are not fully understood yet, it is promising.

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Why is vanilla good for your skin? Typically, inflammation is a good thing. It is merely the body’s response to any outside threat like microbes. However, when it persists due to certain conditions, it can be uncomfortable and unpleasant.

Thanks to its antioxidant content, vanilla is a potent anti-inflammatory substance. This makes it a great addition to massage oils to help soothe inflamed or irritated skin. Eating anti-inflammatory foods may also help relieve pain for conditions such as arthritis.

  1. Lifts Your Spirits Up

We all know how great desserts are. When you’re unhappy, what do you do? Eat chocolate! Or when you’re extra depressed, a tub of vanilla ice cream all to yourself.

Well, it turns out there’s a scientific basis behind that. Vanilla, in particular, can be an effective anti-depressant. Another 2013 study on mice showed that exposure to vanillin reduced depression. The effect was significant and was comparable to an anti-depressant drug.

And while the anti-depressant benefits of vanilla might not work for everyone, its pleasant aroma might! Sometimes, that’s all it takes to lift your mood!

  1. It’s Great For Your Hair

There’s a reason some shampoos and hair products contain vanilla. It has a significant effect on your hair! Again, we have antioxidants to thank for that. Aside from helping repair cells, it also helps prevent damage to our hair follicles. This promotes healthy hair growth and delays hair loss.

One of the easiest ways to enjoy the benefits of vanilla is through making your own extract. Simply steep high-quality vanilla beans in alcohol (usually vodka) for a day or two, and voila! Your very own vanilla you can use to promote a healthier you.

What are Nutraceuticals?

What are Nutraceuticals?

Do you have nutraceuticals available in YOUR kitchen?

It seems as though every day we are introduced to a new health term. So, what are nutraceuticals?

Derived from the words “nutrition” and “pharmaceuticals,” the term “nutraceutical” was coined in 1989 by Dr. S. DeFelice. The term is used to describe any product that is derived from food sources that offer extra health benefits in addition to the nutritional value of the food.

Nutraceuticals are used to prevent and treat diseases by keeping the body healthy. The importance of nutrition is becoming clear to many people as scientists and nutritionists continue to study the correlation between many diseases and nutrition.

People are becoming more conscious of what they eat, as it becomes clear that poor nutritional habits can cause some of the serious diseases and health conditions out there.

Nutraceutical foods can either be functional foods or medicinal foods.

  • Functional food is food that is prepared in a scientific way, with or without the knowledge of why it is being used. This type of food provides the body with the required amounts of all types of nutrients. Examples include whole foods, fortified, and enriched foods. Functional foods are the most commonly used nutraceutical foods.
  • Medical food, on the other hand, is food that is made to be administered internally under supervision of a doctor. This is only done after the person has been evaluated, and certain nutritional requirements established.

nutraceutical foods

 

Let’s explore what nutraceuticals are in a bit more depth:

  • What is nutraceutical food? A nutraceutical food is any type of food that is believed to offer more than just nutritional value to a person.

 

  • What is an example of a nutraceutical?A nutraceutical can be a nutrient-rich food, medicinally active food, or a specific component of a particular food, according to medicine net. Examples include garlic, omega 3 (found in fish), soybeans, ginger, minerals, vitamins, dietary fibre, hydrolyzed proteins, fortified foods, enriched foods, and so much more.

 

  • What is the difference between nutraceuticals and dietary supplements? Dietary supplements are a category of nutraceuticals. This means that all dietary supplements are nutraceuticals but not all nutraceuticals are dietary supplements. Some nutraceuticals are foods, while others are components of food. A dietary supplement is not represented for use as a conventional food; rather it is meant to supplement the diet by increasing the total daily intake.

 

  • Are nutraceuticals regulated by the FDA? To further understand what nutraceuticals are, it is important to consider their regulation for use and sale. The FDA is responsible for regulating food, drugs, and additives; nutraceuticals do not fall under any of these categories. This means therefore that nutraceuticals are not directly regulated by the FDA.

For dietary supplements, the law states that the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that the supplements are not harmful before they are released to the masses.

If a supplement is harmful, the FDA takes action against the manufacturer of that supplement. Functional foods, on the other hand, cannot be sold with health claims on them.

Health claims are only allowed for medicinal products in most countries, which means therefore that they would require a medicine license. They are also not under the regulation of the FDA.

Nutraceuticals are revolutionizing the way people maintain health and keep diseases away. They are natural, and therefore highly preferred by many people.