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The Plain Truth About Vanilla

The truth? There is nothing plain about the incredible, complex superfood goodness that this aromatic and delicious bean imparts to every one who eats it. And with vanilla being the second most asked for flavor choice after chocolate, that’s a lot of people.

The Mayans valued vanilla as a flavoring, an ingredient with health benefits, and a powerful aphrodisiac. Maybe it was for all these reasons that the bean was brought to Europe from Mexico in the mid-sixteenth century, where it became a cooking sensation.

Vanilla beans are actually the pods of the only fruited orchid, the tropical South American climbing V. Planifolia., which opens its flowers for just one day in order to be pollinated by the Melapona bees and hummingbirds. The unripe, light yellow colored beans 5–8 inches long are quickly blanched and then sun-dried for 2–3 weeks until they become shriveled and turn a dark-brown. Only then are they ready for market as whole beans, powder, or as an extract suspended in alcohol. Properly processed beans can remain potent for as long as 4 years.

The health benefits from vanilla are awesome. Vanilla extract and vanillic acid are powerful antioxidants that protect the liver and can curb inflammation. They have small amounts of potassium, magnesium copper, riboflavin (Vit B2), niacin ( Vit B3), and calcium — all necessary elements for a balanced metabolism and healthy physiology.

But the most important role vanilla may play in humans is the promotion of optimal serotonin and dopamine levels through its magnesium content, which can enhance brain function and support healthy mood balance. Serotonin is the “feed and breed” hormone. Remember why the Mayans liked vanilla so much?

Our Vanilla MUD chilled mousse dessert uses vanilla beans from Madagascar, where the best vanilla beans grow. Cool beans.


The above information is for educational purposes only, and gathered from a variety of different sources. It should not be construed as medical advice, or as an endorsement of any particular product. Your healthcare provider is your best source for medical and nutritional direction, and should be consulted on any health decision you make.

©2016 The Paleo Factory

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