I know I love vanilla flavor, and I bet you do too, but until last year, I didn’t know about all the health benefits of vanilla, and what such a simple, childhood favorite flavor could do for me nutrition-wise. First, let’s talk about exactly what vanilla is. Vanilla comes from one type of over 2,000 varieties of orchids that exist on the planet. It’s thought of as one of the most amazing, unique foods nature has created. And sure, while it makes for an amazing flavor to foods, which is my personal favorite even above chocolate, what most people don’t realize is just how incredible vanilla is for your mind and body. So, let’s take a look at just what health benefits of vanilla can take this everyday ingredient, and upgrade it to a superfood in your own kitchen.
1. Lower Blood Pressure
Just smelling vanilla can actually lower your blood pressure, but eating it can actually provide one of the biggest health benefits of vanilla of all. Vanilla has been found to lower blood pressure at measurable rates, and for this, is a great food to reduce stress.
2. Sugar Cravings
Vanilla comes from the the beans found within pods of the vanilla orchid plant, making it a fruit in its own right. It’s actually high in natural carbs, but fructose free. It’s also wonderful for reducing sugar cravings. Most people who eat food such as yogurt, oatmeal, or perhaps a green smoothie, with no added sugar, that has vanilla added, will no longer crave sugar. Vanilla has a natural sweet taste and is high in flavor, making it a natural way to reduce sugar cravings. Do be sure to choose raw vanilla beans, plain vanilla powder, or 100% vanilla flavoring without added sugars for the best benefit.
3. B Vitamins
Like cacao beans, vanilla beans are also high in B vitamins naturally. Chromium and Vitamin B6 are two of the highest B vitamin counts found in vanilla. These vitamins are essential for promoting calmness, blood sugar regulation, energy, and overall better metabolism.
Another similarity between cacao and vanilla is their incredible antioxidant count. Vanilla is rich in anti-aging properties, which can help illuminate skin, prevent free radical exposure, and also prevent stress that leads to wrinkles.
Vanilla contains properties that enhance the mood, and also lower stress. Both of these factors are essential to reducing anxiety that leads to poor digestion. When the body is relaxed, which happens almost instantly when you eat vanilla, digestion occurs much more smoothly. Vanilla powder and the beans are also rich in fiber, which can naturally enhance digestion as well.
Vanilla is also a wonderful food to immediately reduce opiates in the brain that lead to serotonin production. Serotonin is the happy hormone your body produces, that releases a host of beneficial hormones to your body. Foods that increase serotonin, like vanilla, are the best natural ways you can create a happier body and mind.
Vanilla is also a powerful food to enhance your focus if you’re interested in more than just mood boosting and metabolism boosting properties. Vanilla is a fantastic focus food since it triggers reactions in the brain that can create more acute mental performance.
As I said, it’s best to use raw vanilla beans, raw vanilla powder with no added ingredients, or organic alcohol-free vanilla extract. Vanilla stevia is also another option. Do you use vanilla?