Nutrients and Health Benefits of Real Vanilla

Most people don’t know that natural vanilla is an everyday 'superfood' used for centuries to enhance brain function and improve mood. Its excellent health benefits come from the rich nutrients that vanilla beans contain.

Magnesium: Regulates the nervous system and balances out enzyme action to relax and reenergize the body. It enhances neurotransmitter function for optimal production of the 'feel good hormones'—serotonin and dopamine.

Potassium: A tablespoon of pure Bourbon Vanilla contains over 100 milligrams of potassium, a mineral that assists in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, proper heart contraction, and stress reduction.

Calcium: Calcium improves bone health and reduces the concentration of cortisol, the 'stress hormone' known to cause anxiety, depression, moodiness, and even weight gain.

Manganese: Found in superfoods like cocoa, goji berries, and chia seeds, Manganese is well known for its fantastic healing properties. It helps regulate metabolism, optimize nervous system, and enhance mood.

Antioxidants: Pure vanilla contains niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, and vanillic acid. These are all powerful antioxidants that help protect liver, lower cholesterol, boost immunity, and reduce inflammation.

Aphrodisiac: Real vanilla doesn’t only boost your libido, but also enhances the secretion of oxytocin and dopamine, hormones that make you feel happy and in love with your life.

 

Real Vs Fake Vanilla—What's the Difference?

Although it may say "Natural" on the label, the cheap white vanilla extract has nothing to do with vanilla orchids. It contains synthetically manufactured vanillin, which is extracted from sources such as clove oil, pine sap, wood pulp, and even substances as gross as a beaver's excrements. Castoreum is an FDA approved additive that is extracted from beavers' rectums and used in perfumes and foods.

 

Health Risks of Fake Vanilla

Even more hazardous is the type of fake vanillin derived from Tonka beans, which contains a banned toxic blood-thinning substance called Coumarin. Imitation vanillin can sometimes come from ethyl vanillin found in coal tar. Even the genuine natural vanilla extract is manufactured by mixing vanilla bean powder in alcohol, in concentrations as low as 100 grams per liter.

 

How Real Bourbon Vanilla Powder is Produced

The vanilla orchid is a ephemeral flower that can only grow between 10 and 20 degrees on either side of the equator. This makes pure vanilla a rare and exclusive product.

In Madagascar, the vanilla beans (or pods) are picked when they are still not ripe. They are boiled in hot water and laid out to dry in natural sunlight for anywhere between two and six months. Every evening, the farmers carefully wrap the beans in cloth and store them indoors, to be laid out again the next morning. When the pods are fully dry, the seeds are scraped away and ground to produce the pure and natural Bourbon Vanilla.

The tedious production process and the rarity of cultivation make natural vanilla the second most expensive spice in the world, after saffron.

 

Is Bourbon Vanilla Really Expensive?

Imitation vanilla is much cheaper than the 'real thing'. But then, it's just fake vanilla, with none of the amazing qualities of natural, pure vanilla. Fake vanilla extract comes nowhere close to Bourbon Vanilla in flavor and health benefits. You can use Bourbon vanilla bean powder in much smaller quantities (usually half or less) and still get a rich, rainbow flavor that reminds you of the wild orchids of Madagascar!