What Are the Health Benefits of Vanilla Extract?


When it comes to ice cream or pudding, vanilla maybe your favourite flavour, but the extract has so much more to offer. Vanilla has multiple health benefits. Ensure you receive the real deal rather than a less expensive and often inferior imitation extract.

Vanilla essence gives baked items and desserts a delightful aroma and flavour. Pure vanilla has an almost overpowering aroma. On the other hand, Vanilla cream flavours are far more than just a garnish for your sweet delicacies. Pure vanilla extract has several health benefits while being low in calories.

About Vanilla Extract

Vanilla is a tropical climbing orchid found in different places, including Mexico, Central and South America and Tahiti. The flavour comes from the plant’s pods, sometimes known as “beans.” It has been used to flavour meals and beverages for hundreds of years, dating back to the era of Montezuma.

Vanilla beans are cured and dried before being processed with alcohol to form the dark-coloured liquid that is vanilla extract. Don’t mistake 100% vanilla extract with commercially produced vanillin, which has none of the vanilla’s health advantages.

Vanilla includes between 250 and 500 flavour and aroma components, the most renowned and studied being vanillin. Vanilla is a costly natural spice, second only to saffron, which is why there are so many petrochemical-based synthetic vanilla products. These synthetic variations are around 20 times cheaper than the original.

Vanilla’s Antibacterial Properties

Vanilla’s health benefits include antibacterial qualities, which means it can help prevent infection. According to research, when vanilla essential oil was applied to medical devices, it reduced the growth of particular bacteria cells. Vanillin, ethyl vanillin and vanillic acid have also exhibited antibacterial activity against Cronobacter species. In newborns, the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems, these bacteria can cause severe and occasionally fatal illnesses. During food processing or preparation, the bacteria can taint various foods.

Antioxidants in Vanilla

Vanillin is a powerful scavenger of free radicals, according to research. Free radicals are formed naturally in the body, but they can become excessive when exposed to specific ingredients in foods and the environment. Too many free radicals cause cell damage and are suspected of playing a role in the development of cancer and other diseases.

Antidepressant Activity of Vanillin

Many individuals who enjoy vanilla’s aroma find it soothing and peaceful, so it’s no surprise that it has antidepressant properties. According to studies, a dose of 100 milligrams per kilogramme of body weight (or 45 milligrams per pound) of vanillin exhibits antidepressant effects comparable to fluoxetine, a standard antidepressant medicine.

Strange dreams, restlessness and changes in sex drive are all side effects of fluoxetine, sold under the brand name Prozac. Vanillin provides an alternative that is free of these bothersome side effects.

In patients having MRI for cancer screening, administration of a fragrance with a vanilla-like flavour reduced reported anxiety compared to humidified air alone. Because of its relaxing, sweet and appealing aroma, vanilla is widely used in perfumes and lotions. The scent of the vanilla extract stays on the skin for hours, allowing you to reap the advantages.

Magnesium and Potassium

Vanilla extract contains magnesium and potassium, essential nutrients for good health. Potassium is required for normal kidney and heart function, muscular contraction and neuron activity. The daily need for adults is between 2,600 and 3,400 milligrams. The 6 milligrams of vanilla extract in a tablespoon may seem small, yet every milligram contributes to your daily needs.

Magnesium is needed by adults, ranging from 320 to 410 mg per day. A tablespoon of vanilla extract contains only 1 milligram of this mineral, which helps regulate blood pressure and muscle and nerve function, among other things.

Alcohol in Vanilla Extract

Yes, there is alcohol in the vanilla extract. In fact, it contains content of 35 to 40%, which is comparable to Jägermeister, a highly potent substance. In the amounts commonly used in recipes, vanilla extract is safe. Because the Volstead Act of the Prohibition era exempted flavouring extracts from being considered regulated alcohol, you can buy it at grocery stores without a liquor licence.

Vanilla extract was thought to be tasted so bad that no one would drink it straight from the bottle in any significant quantity. Don’t be misled, though; drinking a whole bottle of vanilla extract can lead to intoxication and health problems. Drinking large amounts of vanilla extract won’t reap the health benefits.

Final Thoughts

Not just one, but there are multiple benefits of vanilla extract. Caramel flavours also carry a lot of advantages when consumed properly. Hopefully, these mentioned benefits will help you make use of the vanilla extract in the right manner.