I always include a section in my recipe "variations" to show how you can customize a recipe to your liking and flavoring of choice. But did you know some flavors are healthy? Here are some natural flavor ingredients that are not only tasty but also packed full of nutritional benefits!
Cinnamon is a spice that’s retrieved from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees. It’s an aromatic condiment that’s used in a variety of dishes. This highly sought-after spice is produced mainly in Indonesia and China. Cinnamon has a slightly spicy flavor and unique smell that warms you up when you consume it without being too overpowering.
Cinnamon has plenty of health and nutritional benefits such as antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, it has antioxidants that help protect you from inflammations, reduces blood pressure, lowers blood sugar, and relieves any digestive discomfort.
Matcha originated in China but was popularized in Japan. It’s a type of green tea that’s been grounded by stone to make powdered green tea. Matcha has a smooth balance of flavor ranging from slightly bitter to nutty and sweet. That’s why matcha is a favorite in Asia and can be found in many different drinks and desserts.
Matcha's health benefits are already well known. The antioxidants can help prevent cancer, prevent heart disease, prevent type 2 diabetes, and lowers blood pressure. Furthermore, due to the healthy dose of caffeine in green tea it also aids you in weight loss, It’s an overall awesome ingredient that can satisfy you without guilt.
Dark chocolate is chocolate that contains solid cocoa and cocoa butter, without any milk or butter. Unlike their milky counterpart, dark chocolate is the healthier alternative with an earthier, slightly more bitter, and aromatic version.
This flavorful food ingredient has many health benefits such as it contains powerful antioxidants. The high antioxidant properties protect you from free radicals and in turn improves your blood flow, reduces bad cholesterol in your blood, reduces heart disease risks, keeps your skin looking young, and improves brain function.
Coffee, or as most of us call it “performance enhancer”, is grown worldwide. It was first consumed and discovered in the ancient Ethiopian plateau but spread across the globe due to its distinct bitter flavor and its potent energy-inducing effects. Rumour has it that it was discovered when several goats consumed the wonder beans which then turned them to be highly energetic for several hours. That’s why interest in the crop grew, as it was seen to be an ingredient that can boost energy levels.
Due to the powerful antioxidants in coffee, it’s able to help you to fight free radicals, lowers risks of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson’s disease, lowers the risk of type-2 diabetes. The caffeine in coffee can also give you a boost of energy levels, and help you burn more fat. So for those of you looking to lose some weight, coffee can help you achieve that.
Vanilla is a spice obtained from pods of a Mexican native plant. One of the most expensive spices there is, vanilla beans have a sweet, perfumed aroma and a woody, smoky flavor all packed in one bean.
Vanilla is known to have therapeutic effects, act as an aphrodisiac, and also provide stomach relief. It also helps you to cut down sugar intake due to its sweet aroma that helps keep you satiated - so it feels like you’re already consuming sugar when in truth you have not!
Cutting sugar intake could give you its own beneficial effects. Such as maintain a healthy weight, balanced your blood sugar level (so you won’t experience any sugar crash), and also lower your risks of getting type-2 diabetes.
Last but not least, we have lemons. Lemons were first thought to have been cultivated in Burma or China. And this citrus fruit is now dominating other food ingredients, because you can see them being added into all types of dish - both savory and sweet.
Nutritionally speaking, lemons are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. As we’ve mentioned before, antioxidants can help you lower stroke risks, lower blood pressure, prevent cancer, maintain skin health and overall wellbeing.
Moreover, vitamin C can actually help you maintain gum and bone health. It is essential for formation of collagen, which is a foundation of bone mineralization - and according to research, vitamin C also improves bone density.