Is vanilla extract healthy for you? Here’s what the science says

Vanilla extract is a secret weapon we all have in our kitchens. It’s not just ordinary ingredients, it’s like a magician of flavors. When you’re baking, it’s like the star of the show, adding that rich, sweet quality to your cookies, cakes and pastries. That’s why your homemade dessert tastes great and is so convenient.

However, vanilla extract is not only used for desserts. No, it’s versatile! You can add them to savory dishes too, like sauces or marinades, giving them a slight touch of sweetness and plenty of depth. It’s like a chef’s special trick to make ordinary meals extraordinary.

And imagine what? It’s not just about the food, because this kitchen ingredient has a soothing aroma that can help you relax after a long day. It’s like your personal stress reliever in a little bottle. Additionally, it can freshen your home or add a lovely scent to your home skin care products.

Is vanilla extract healthy for you?

This kitchen ingredient is like a mixed bag of goodies for your health, but you have to use it sensibly.

On the bright side, this is what the extract can do for you:

Vanilla extract (Image via Getty Images)

Antioxidants: Vanilla contains these things called antioxidants, like vanillin. They’re like your body’s defenders, fending off those pesky free radicals that can make you sick. So, it’s a little health booster, like your personal superhero in the pantry.

Mood lifter: When it comes to the scent of vanilla, it’s like a mini vacation for your mind. You know those days when everything is too much? Inhale some vanilla scent, as if your fears are melting away. It’s like a cozy aromatherapy blanket in your kitchen.

Now, here’s the other side:

Vanilla extract (Image via Getty Images)

Calories and sugar: Yes, the extract contains a little sugar and some calories. But here’s the great part – you usually use it in small amounts so that your diet doesn’t get off track. It’s like the tiniest sprinkle of sweet magic in your recipes.

Alcohol: Many extracts contain a small amount of alcohol, such as ethanol. Don’t worry because it’s not enough to have you dancing on tables, it’s more like a drop in the ocean, but if you are very sensitive to alcohol or in recovery, you may want to monitor your consumption levels. It’s like a specific engine of flavours.

The key is to use it in moderation. In the recipes, you only use a drop or two, so the sugar and alcohol don’t add much. If you have health concerns or a specific diet, there are alcohol-free extracts you can explore.

How much vanilla extract should you consume to stay healthy?

Vanilla extract (Image via Getty Images)

When it comes to asking how much you can get, it’s pretty simple. Vanilla extract is a bit unique because it contains a touch of alcohol, usually around 35-40%.

Now, here’s the reassuring part – when you use vanilla extract in cooking or baking, you’re only adding a tiny bit, like a teaspoon or even less. It’s like adding a touch of magic to your recipe. This small amount means that the amount of alcohol you drink remains very low and nowhere near what you would get from a typical cocktail.

For most adults, using vanilla extract in your recipes is not a problem. It’s like there’s a secret ingredient that adds flavor without making you feel high. However, if you are someone who is very sensitive to alcohol or have specific dietary concerns, there are alcohol-free vanilla extracts available, so you have many options to explore!

Bottom line, vanilla extract is like your friend in the kitchen. It contains a little alcohol, but you only use a small amount when cooking or baking – like a bit of flavor magic. So, for most of us, it’s completely safe and delicious.

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