Vanilla — the tastiest path to good health
It’s official… vanilla is the new superfood.
Vanilla has been highly prized in native communities for millennia and scientists are finally getting in on the action. Our variety of organic, free-trade vanilla doesn’t only delight your taste buds, it been proven to supercharge your health too. Research shows that vanilla packs a huge nutritional punch for its relatively small size.
The thousands of tiny seeds in each pod are brimming with all sorts of beneficial vitamins and compounds that will bring longevity and vitality to your life. Key amongst these are vanilla’s impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, which have positive ripple effects on our entire wellbeing.
Antioxidants are vital to our health. They scavenge free radicals, reducing the risk of almost all chronic inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Good thing vanilla is full of them.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are produced when your body processes food, sunlight and toxins like smoke, pollution and alcohol. These nasty little molecules can cause lasting damage to our cells and the genetic materials inside them. “Oxidative stress” is the technical term for this free radical damage. It leads to a variety of diseases and contributes to the formation of cancer.
Antioxidants stimulate and regulate the healthy growth and regeneration of all cells. They have the ability to destroy free radicals before they form or break down ones that have already leeched on to your cells.
If you smoke, drink or live in a city, then you need as many antioxidants as you can get your hands on. Of course, there are other foods with antioxidant properties, but none boast the wonderful taste of vanilla.
One of the major benefits of vanilla’s antioxidant property is that they are key to battling the formation of cancer cells. The antioxidants in Vanillin (the main flavonoid compound of vanilla) helps to stimulate the production of powerful antioxidants like glutathione, which inhibits the growth and invasiveness of cancer cells by aiding in the repair and replication of DNA.
Vanilla has been used as an anti-inflammatory in folk medicine for thousands of years. It was used by our ancestors to treat colds, coughs and respiratory infections, and more.
Luckily, science is catching up with studies like these 1, 2and 3that show how potent vanilla extract is at reducing inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of most diseases. Especially rheumatoid arthritis, gout and neuro-inflammatory diseases like Alzheimer’s.
To combat this, you not only need to remove inflammatory foods from your diet (like pasteurized dairy, and processed meats and food with high in sugar) but you also need to supplement with foods like vanilla that reduce inflammation.
Improved Mental Health
You know the feeling you get when you smell vanilla? It’s wonderful! No wonder real estate agents use it at every open house. Vanilla has a calming effect on the nervous system and is an effective treatment for anxiety and stress.
The aroma of vanilla stimulates the release of “feel good” hormones (oxytocin and dopamine) and other neurochemicals that induce feelings of pleasure, happiness, and love. Vanilla has also been known to reduce anxiety and depression in some patients. This reaction may be due in part to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation also seems to be the cause of some forms of mental instability. When the brain has chronic mental/emotional stress, it realizes “pro-inflammatory cytokines.” Your immune system releases cytokines in response to sickness or other factors. They use inflammation as their defense mechanism. This is a normal bodily function, but when too much pro-inflammatory cytokine is released, your body reacts both physically and psychologically with “sickness behavior.”
Research has shown that the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha is far higher in patients who have been diagnosed with depression. Therefore, due to its ability to lower inflammation, vanilla has been found to have antidepressant results. Subjects who used vanilla experienced reactions that were on par with those of fluoxetine, a common SSRI drug prescribed for depression. However unlike fluoxetine, vanilla exhibits no side-effects. This is great if you want to avoid the strange dreams, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, flu symptoms and impotence (among others) that are associated with the drug.
Vanilla has powerful antibacterial properties. The antimicrobial properties of vanilla can protect the body against bacteria, mold, and yeast. Many people use it as a natural treatment for cold sores, cuts, scapes, and acne.
Incorporating vanilla extract into food may be one of the helpful options for those struggling with high cholesterol. Preliminary studies have shown vanilla’s potential to lower cholesterol naturally and with impressive speed.
Is vanilla the missing ingredient to the fountain of youth? Some people think so. Incredible anti-aging properties are one the best side effects of its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. It is known to get rid of acne and produce wrinkle-free, younger-looking skin. It is also great at restoring a healthy luster to your hair.
Traditional cultures have used vanilla-infused herbal tea as a remedy to treat all sorts of symptoms of an upset stomach. Its healing properties are known to aid the digestive system as well as treat nausea, cramping, stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting.
Get your hands on Native Vanilla
There’s only one way to start enjoying these health benefits — eat more vanilla!
Vanilla works exceptionally well in smoothies, tea, and baked goods. It can even be added to your next soothing bath.
You can either use the whole pod or create your own vanilla extract by soaking our Native Vanilla pods in alcohol for a 60 to 90 days..
Head over to our product page to see what we have on offer.
Here’s to your health!