When you hear “vanilla extract,” what do you think of? Your first answer is probably dessert, but what about antioxidant? Anti-inflammatory? Mental health booster?
Vanilla extract is great for all of those things and more! There’s a reason vanilla is one of the most popular flavors in the world when it comes to baking and sweets. Not only does it have an incredibly pleasant taste and aroma, but it contains a huge number of health benefits with a relatively low calorie impact.
This yummy dessert spice is different from the also incredible vanilla oil in that vanilla extract is made from percolating vanilla beans in alcohol, while the oil is created by a similar process in a carrier oil (like almond oil).
From the 1400s, when it was simply a local treasure found in a small part of Mexico, into this 21st century, vanilla has held a special place in the hungry hearts of many people. I know you do (or will) love it, too, and that’s a great thing, because vanilla extract benefits everything from the heart to the body to the mind.
Benefits of Vanilla Extract
1. It’s a Powerful Antioxidant
I know you hear about the antioxidant capability of various foods, but why exactly is that so important? Antioxidants in your diet are important because the free radicals that enter your body through exposure to chemicals, the sun and other factors have the potential to cause lasting damage. “Oxidative stress,” the term for this free radical damage, leads to a variety of diseases and contributes to the formation of cancer.
Vanillin has been a well-known antioxidant for some time. (1) Interestingly, though, vanillin shows lower antioxidant activity than vanilla extract, which has now gained interest as a useful product in “food preservation and in health supplements as nutraceuticals.” (2)
Vanilla products also exhibit antibacterial properties. (3) This may be part of why they’re included in a regimen to treat cold sores naturally. I recommend soaking a cotton ball with the extract, then applying it to your cold sore about four times per day until you see the sore disappear. You will probably notice a reduction in the inflammation of the cold sore fairly soon after applying for the first time.
3. Reduces Inflammation in the Body
Not only does vanilla have the potential to reduce inflammation on a cold sore, but it helps reduce the overall inflammation in your entire body. Inflammation is a serious danger because it’s at the root of most diseases. Fortunately, medical science has begun to recognize the massive impact of chronic inflammation, and it’s considered an emerging field in the health care research field.
In addition to removing inflammatory foods from your diet (foods high in sugar, pasteurized dairy and conventional meat are a few examples), you can also incorporate elements into your diet that actively reduce inflammation that may already be present.
One study tested on rats delving in to the anti-inflammatory properties of vanillin, in addition to its antioxidant activity, found that it was especially significant in helping prevent and reduce the damage of liver injury. (4)
4. Improves Mental Health
You see, inflammation doesn’t affect only your risk of disease. It also seems to be responsible for some forms of mental instability. When the brain is stressed in some way, whether it be from injury, chronic mental/emotional stress, infection or even nutritional deficiencies, it triggers the release of what are known as “pro-inflammatory cytokines.” Cytokines are released by your immune system in response to sickness or other factors, and they come in various forms, including pro-inflammatory.
Regular inflammation is a normal bodily function, as your well-created system attempts to rid you of infection or other harm. But when too much of any pro-inflammatory cytokine is released, your body begins to react physically and psychologically, known as “sickness behavior.”
This is seen in some research into depression, where researchers found the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha in much higher quantities in patients diagnosed with depression than those who were not. (6)
Therefore, it’s not surprising that vanillin was found to have antidepressant results, as it may be related to its ability to lower inflammation (although that was not mentioned specifically in this study). Not so shockingly, the reaction subjects experienced was on par with their positive reaction to fluoxetine, a common SSRI drug prescribed for depression. Unlike fluoxetine, which has “common” side effects, including strange dreams, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, flu symptoms and impotence — and about a dozen others — vanillin does not exhibit side effects in animal studies. (7)
I’m a firm believer in using food as medicine without resorting to options like dangerous psychotropic drugs. This is another example of how the plants placed on this planet for our benefit do truly benefit us, without having to endure the many terrifying side effects of unnatural chemicals.
5. May Naturally Reduce Fever
6. Lowers Cholesterol
In preliminary studies on rats, vanillin has been found to have a potential in lowering high cholesterol. (9) For those who need to lower cholesterol naturally and fast, incorporating vanilla extract into food may be one of the helpful options.
What Is Vanilla Extract?
Put simply, vanilla extract is a solution created with vanilla beans and alcohol. When submerged in alcohol, the vanilla beans (also known as pods) release vanillin, the major flavor compound found in vanilla. This dark brown liquid (also referred to as a vanilla tincture) can then be used to enhance the sweetness of desserts.
The answer is rarely that simple, however. It’s estimated that some 95 percent of vanilla extract for sale commercially is derived not from vanilla beans, but from lignin, a byproduct of paper waste products that can be used to create “synthetic” vanillin. (10) This synthetic imitation is made from the leftover sawdust in paper mills and similar industries. (11)
Obviously, vanilla extract made commercially in this way lacks any of the health benefits you can reap with homemade vanilla extract. The unfortunate synthetic production of vanilla extract was necessitated by an increasing demand that cannot easily be met by production due to the labor-intensive process of growing vanilla plants and extracting their flavor.
Don’t let that stop you from making your own extract. As a bonus, true vanilla extract (especially when made from Madagascar vanilla beans) has a richer flavor than that from synthetic vanillin. If you’re not sure you’re ready to make your own, look for Vanilla Co2 Total Extract, which should be the closest to natural and homemade you can purchase.
Vanilla Extract Nutrition Facts
The vanilla plant (of the genus Vanilla, most often of the species V. planifolia originating from Mexico) is a flowering vine that grows according to the structure supporting its height, reaching up to 300 feet in length. Vanilla “beans” are the dried orchids from the vine that contain the many compounds, including vanillin, that contribute to the delicious flavor.
One serving of vanilla extract (about one tablespoon or 13 grams) contains about: (12)
- 37 calories
- 1.6 grams carbohydrate
- 19.2 milligrams potassium (1 percent DV)
Keep in mind that these numbers are based on the quality of commercially produced vanilla extract, and the actual numbers for the homemade variety may vary. Officially, vanilla extract must contain a base of 35 percent alcohol.
How to Find and How to Make Vanilla Extract
So, are you ready to take the plunge? I promise, it’s completely painless.
To make your own homemade vanilla extract, you need:
- An 8-ounce glass bottle or jar
- 6–8 vanilla beans
- Liquor with about 35 percent alcohol (around 70 proof — you can try vodka, bourbon, rum or brandy)
First, slice each bean along the length of the entire pod. Depending on the size of the bottle, you can also cut the pods down into smaller sections to make it easier to get them inside your container.
Now, pour exactly one cup (no cheating!) of your chosen alcohol into your bottle. The beans should now all be submerged within the alcohol.
Finally, you get to… wait! Good vanilla extract takes about eight weeks to fully mature, so store the bottle in a room temperature area without direct sunlight exposure. For best results, gently shake the mixture once a week.
Once your extract is complete, you have the choice to remove or leave in the vanilla beans. If left in (and kept submerged), the flavor will continue to age, similar to wine.
Pure Vanilla Extract Recipes
Whatever the time of year and whatever the quality of your “sweet tooth,” I’ve got some incredible recipes for that homemade vanilla extract. For a sweet, fall dessert, I love to make this Coconut Peach Crumble, a delectable dessert that will impress without leaving you feeling icky.
For a different, unprocessed take on cake frosting, try using vanilla extract in this recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting, which is a welcome addition to a ton of great desserts and has no food additives you would find in store-bought frosting.
And what about using vanilla in your morning routine? One creative way might be to try this Orange Vanilla Bean Chia Pudding, an antioxidant-rich pudding that requires no added sugar.
Vanilla Extract History and Facts
Until the middle of the 19th century, Mexico was the primary exporter of vanilla. The Totonacs, a historic Mexican people located on the east coast of the country, seem to be the first producers of this incredible plant. Totonac legend tells us that Princess Xanat, an immortal, was forbidden by her father, the king, to marry a mortal. After running away with her lover, the two were beheaded upon capture. Fortunately for us, their blood fell to the ground and created the vanilla vine.
Aztecs invaded Totonac land in the 15th century, finding this “black flower” to be quite the favorite among their people. Their leader, Tenochtitlan, required the Totonac people to pay tribute to the Aztecs by delivering vanilla to him.
Vanilla then made its way to Spain when the Aztecs were conquered. For centuries, this flavoring was considered nothing more than an “add-on” to chocolate sweets, even for the Aztecs. This changed in the 1600s thanks to a creative apothecary named Hugh Morgan, who had the thought to create chocolate-free, vanilla-flavored sweetmeats. They were a hit with Queen Elizabeth I.
In another 100 years, vanilla was a common flavoring for ice cream in Europe. Thomas Jefferson, who lived in Paris in the 1780s, found this such a delightful treat that he copied down a recipe that’s now preserved in the Library of Congress.
It took another century to see vanilla or vanilla extract as a fixture in other common recipes, although it’s now one of the most popular spices in desserts today. In 1886, John Pemberton’s Coca-Cola went on sale for the first time, containing the essential ingredient of vanilla and touting itself as “esteemed Brain tonic and Intellectual Beverage.”
The production of vanilla is, as I said earlier, a labor-intensive and expensive process, which is why vanilla ranks second on the list of expensive spices, missing out on the top spot to saffron. It seems nothing short of a miracle that vanilla even exists, because its method of pollination in its home of Mexico consists of an incredibly short window of 24 hours per flower, in which the flower must be pollinated by Melipona bees and, occasionally, hummingbirds, lest it wilts, dies and falls away from the plant.
When a 12-year-old slave of the country Réunion (a French settlement in the Indian Ocean, near Madagascar) by the name of Edmond Albius found how to pollinate the orchids by hand, however, this mysterious plant began to flourish. Within about 60 years, in 1889, this country and neighboring Madagascar and the Comoros Islands had grown to produce about 80 percent of the world’s vanilla, 200 metric tons per year.
Today, vanilla is produced mainly in a combination of islands and countries in the Indian Ocean, South Pacific, West Indies and Central/South America. Although Mexico is where vanilla got its start, it’s a modest exporter these days, falling short of the major exporters of Bourbon Vanilla and Madagascar Vanilla.
Potential Side Effects of Vanilla Extract
Vanilla has no common side effects or medicinal interactions, although in some rare cases may cause very mild allergic reactions, such as skin irritation, headaches or sleep problems. If you experience any of these in connection with consuming vanilla, consult your physician and discontinue use.
Final Thoughts on Vanilla Extract
- Vanilla extract is not the same as vanilla oil. They’re created with similar processes, but the extract is created by percolating vanilla beans in alcohol, whereas vanilla oil comes from soaking the beans in a carrier oil.
- Vanilla extract contains a relatively low number of calories for its incredible flavor profile.
- Much of the “vanilla” products on the market commercially are not actually from vanilla beans, but synthesized from a sawdust byproduct known as lignin.
- Madagascar vanilla beans are known as the most flavor-packed species of vanilla beans.
- Making your own homemade vanilla extract is not very labor-intensive, but it does take about eight weeks.
- Vanilla extract has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that have significant impact on various body systems.
- The production of vanilla began in Mexico in the 15th century and spread to Europe and the rest of the world throughout the subsequent centuries.
- Vanilla extract is extremely safe and has no known side effects, so you can use it to your heart’s content in a ton of your healthy desserts — and get the benefits of improved heart and mental health, among others.
A quick note from our founder-
20 Million Americans Have A Thyroid Condition
...And 60% Of Them Don't Even Know It.
AND... Women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
Scary, right? Unfortunately, a long-term, untreated thyroid condition can lead to:
+ Fatigue + Brain fog + Weight gain + Diabetes + Heart disease
+ High cholesterol + Depression + Goiter + Infertility
The good news is that once you recognize the signs and symptoms you can take the necessary steps to save yourself...
Help us create more awareness! Please SHARE this article...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
P.S. Make sure you check out the next page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life!
To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
However I promise what you'll discover today will be completely worth it.
Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
...suffocating tissue, restricting blood flow, damaging joints and infecting your healthy cells.
Shockingly, that nightmare is a reality for most:
64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
It's choking their organs, assaulting their metabolism and sucking their energy dry.
But here's the worst part:
For most, this bodyfat has become "calorie-resistant":
It's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
This zombie fat is essentially... "dead tissue".
That's important for those who have 10, 25 or 50 or more pounds to lose...
AND for those who aren't technically overweight, but have what's called "pocket obesity"...
...unsightly patches of fat that cling to specific places, like:
just above your hips, lower belly, where your butt and legs meet... and even arms, neck and face.
However, there's good news:
Obesity researchers have now discovered a "metabolic jumper cable":
It jolts dead bodyfat back to life.
This allows your metabolism to burn it as calories and re-energize your entire body.
First though, here's the #1 reason why bodyfat becomes calorie-resistant:
It lacks blood flow. This has 3 effects:
- Not enough oxygen or nutrients reach fat cells, so they become unresponsive..
- Released fat can't be sent to other tissues to be burned, so fat cells suck it back in...
- 3) Metabolic hormones carrying the "burn calories" message don't reach the fat cell...
All this means one thing:
Your body can't transform into energy, the 135,000+ of calories the average person stores as fat!
You become a metabolic zombie: NO energy to think. NO energy to move. NO energy to motivate.
Update: calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
The discovery of this "metabolic jumper cable" can now reverse this process:
- It wakes up un-responsive bodyfat with a powerful calorie-burning hormonal jolt....
- It pops open fat cells, sucks out the fat, sending it off before its yanked back in...
- It shuttles fat to your brain, heart, lungs, kidneys - even your bones - to be burned as energy.
Not only do those layers of "zombie fat" start coming off, but your entire body just works better.
Plus, as your whole body burns more calories, those patches of pocket obesity whittle away.
This "metabolic jumper cable" isn't any exercise, machine or pill.
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive.
It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know.
And on this next page, you'll find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
PS - Studies show that not only can healthy levels of this powerful calorie-burning hormone devour bodyfat and fortify soft muscle, but it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
If you haven't heard of Claude Davis yet do yourself a huge favor and watch this video. He's going to be the talk of 2016.
One of the smartest guys I ever had the pleasure of meeting, Claude set-up a unique system that changed his life forever.
I already tried it myself and let me tell... you I was completely blown away... His surprising tactics could make your life easier and give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Don't just take my word for it... watch his short video and decide for yourself.
Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
Secret #1: Enjoy real food. Don’t fall for the lie that you have to deprive yourself to lose weight.
Secret #2: stop eating out. You will automatically eat less without even noticing.
Then start detoxing your body with tasty, nourishing smoothies that are just as easy on your wallet as they are easy to make.
Because a single day of enjoying Liz’ smoothies demonstrated the radical power of her superfood-packed red smoothies to make me feel incredibly good.
Now prepare yourself for one of the biggest weight loss secrets there is. A secret that, when you use it properly, can transform your body and your health.
You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
So that’s why I’m losing weight without going hungry.
Watch Liz’ free presentation. It’s packed with revolutionary weight loss information—information that works. Because it’s based on how nature.
Click the button only if you want to wear smaller clothes, breathe easier, move more freely and just plain feel better.
- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
- The “low-fat” foods that can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.
- And the superfoods that rescue your body from this assault by detoxing you…
Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
Because until now, the Red Smoothie Detox Factor has been available only to Liz’ private clients. But now that she’s perfected it to work for almost everyone, almost every time, Liz is sharing it with rest of us so we can feel better and look better.
Get Red Smoothie Detox Factor before the price goes back up.
Because Liz offers a ridiculously good guarantee. You have 60 days to decide you love the Red Smoothie Detox Factor. If you don’t love it—for any reason, or even no reason at all —Liz will refund your money. 100%. No questions asked.
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.