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Vanilla is much more than one of the most popular and favorite flavors of all time. While for some it has a reputation for being simple or boring, now is the time to clarify something: Vanilla is a medicinal treasure and is packed with natural flavor. Its unique combination of floral and caramel notes is so pronounced that it consumes the senses with a simple touch, its flavor is versatile and combines perfectly with sweet, salty and savory foods. Today we know that limiting it to a simple “ice cream flavor” is a big mistake that it is time to put aside. The truth is that the advantages of vanilla go beyond the taste: it is also full of health benefits.
The first is the first What exactly is vanilla? Vanilla is a flowering plant that is part of the orchid family, it is native to Central and South America, it was first cultivated by the Aztecs. Originally, they combined it with cocoa and the result was a rich and energetic sweet drink. When Europeans discovered vanilla, it became a fashionable product, even more so than chocolate, and they began to use it in making ice cream and other sweets.
When obtained from an orchid, vanilla is not an easy product to obtain and that is why it is expensive, in fact it is the second most expensive spice in the world. Vanilla flowers are open for only 24 hours and if they are not pollinated by bees or hummingbirds during this time, they die, however when successfully pollinated, fruit-containing pods are formed, also known as vanilla beans. The vanilla beans are collected, soaked in water and left to dry in the sun. With this background it is worth mentioning that there is a noticeable difference between vanilla beans and vanilla extract, it is a much more accessible pantry product which is made by soaking ground vanilla beans in alcohol and water. The truth is that the best recommendation is to consume vanilla directly from its pods, the less processed it is, the more health benefits it will provide.
Based on the above, we set about compiling some of the most relevant therapeutic benefits associated with vanilla consumption. Take note and sweeten your days with this exceptional spice.
1. It positively affects the mood
Vanilla stands out for its unmatched aroma and even its scent is known to be beneficial. There is an interesting study in this regard, which showed that smelling vanilla can help reduce depression and anxiety The reason? Vanillin, a phenolic component of vanilla, has anxiolytic effects. There is also another study that supports it, by giving vanilla to a group of people of all ages and genders, it was shown that the most common feelings it evoked in the participants were happiness, followed by relaxation. In addition, vanilla is a magnificent natural stimulant, which not only benefits the mood, but also concentration and mental performance.
2. Vanilla is anti-inflammatory
Vanilla is composed of powerful antioxidants, which absolutely benefit the entire body. It is well known that they are substances that shine for their anti-inflammatory properties, they play an important role in fight free radicals that are associated with oxidative stress and the appearance of many chronic diseases. It is a great ally to combat obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart conditions. A great tip to start the day with the right foot and a lot of sweetness is toadd a touch of vanilla to your morning coffee, increases the amount of antioxidants in a deliciously easy way.
3. Of great antimicrobial power
Scientific research shows that vanilla is antimicrobial, which means that it helps kill and stop the growth of harmful bacteria. According to a recent scientific study, vanilla is a great ally to protect us against the growth of E. coli. This does not mean that you should add vanilla in everything, simply integrating it into the daily diet will provide protective benefits against various food poisonings. In fact, vanilla is very often used as natural food preservative.
4. Vanilla is good for the gut
There is some data to suggest that vanilla may play a role in supporting the gut. Such is the case of an animal study showed that vanillin, one of the components of vanilla, improved the gut microbiota of obese mice they were fed a high fat diet. Specifically, it was discovered that the consumption of vanilla increases the production of short chain fatty acids that are beneficial for the intestine. It also has the ability to reduce other bacteria associated with obesity and others known to be inflammatory. In addition, these benefits are related to great benefits to improve digestive and liver health, vanilla being anti-inflammatory is a great ally to combat bloating and abdominal distention.
5. Supports brain health
Vanilla is incredibly rich in antioxidants, which is not only good news for improving overall health: it is a great ally of brain function. Scientific studies show that vanilla is neuroprotective and helps reduce brain cell damage. Therefore it is a great addition to enhance cognitive functioning, memory and a good complement in the prevention of certain types of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.