Did you know that the likelihood of a vanilla flower being naturally pollinated is .001 per cent? One hundred per cent of the store-bought vanilla pods are hand-pollinated.
You may not think of adding vanilla to the superfood list, but it definitely provides plenty of health benefits (such as anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties) if used purposefully and correctly. The great news is that there are over 200 antioxidants in vanilla, making it a real powerhouse that can help you fight free radical activity in your body. When your body has high levels of free radicals, they get to work doing damage on a cellular level.
A natural antibacterial, vanilla benefits your skin. It turns out vanilla can help reduce skin problems and soothe burns, and may even help slow the signs of aging. Add a drop of vanilla to your favorite lotion to deliver powerful benefits straight to your skin, or ingest vanilla extract by adding it to smoothies and homemade healthy treats to experience the benefits from the inside out.
Vanilla is part of the vanilloid compound group. Interestingly, capasaicin–the chemical that creates a ‘burn’ when you eat hot peppers–is also a vanilloid. Studies have shown vanilloids like capasaicin are powerful anti-inflammatories and pain-relievers.
The best vanilla benefits come from pure extract. A 2007 study showed that pure vanilla extract actually offered more antioxidant activity than vanillin (the pulp part of the plant, used to make ‘imitation vanilla’ extract). So, grab a bottle of pure vanilla next time you grocery shop and add it to your smoothies for notable health benefits.
Even if you’re not a big vanilla fan, you have to admit that the mere scent of it can be so relaxing. To get the highest quality vanilla, look for responsibly harvested, 100% pure and organic products.