Healthy Condiments: Eat Well Live Well


Sometimes, it seems like eating healthy means foregoing flavor and chowing down on nothing but steamed veggies and plain grilled chicken. Boring! We’re fans of making meals that are wholesome and delicious. One of the best ways to add some flavor while keeping calories and fat content in check is to stock up on lighter condiments, sauces, marinades, and dressings that make any meal more exciting for the taste buds. 

Making our food taste great helps us maintain healthy eating habits

Let’s look at some of the healthy condiments.

Mustard

Mustard is made from the seed of the mustard plant. Mustard not only stimulates the appetite (increasing the production of saliva by up to 8 times), it also promotes digestion. Mustard is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant with slight laxative agent. Small quantities of mustard can neutralize toxins and helps with indigestion. Mustard can be considered a nutritional superstar.

One teaspoon of white mustard seed contains 84.2mg of omega-6 fatty acids, 87.1mg of omega-3 fatty acids, 22.2mg of potassium, 9.7mg of magnesium, 27.3mg of phosphorous, and 16.9 mg of calcium.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

True extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is extracted from olives using only pressure, a process known as cold pressing. Extra-virgin olive oil has just 1% acid. It’s the oil that comes from the first pressing of the olives, and is considered the finest, having the freshest, fruitiest flavour. Extra virgin olive oil is fairly nutritious. It contains modest amounts of vitamins E and K with plenty of beneficial fatty acids. Besides that, it is also full of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage. Certain polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Vitamin C is necessary for healthy skin, teeth and bones and even helps stave off scurvy

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce, also known as chili sauce or pepper sauce refers to any spicy sauce condiment made from chili peppers and other ingredients. There are thousands of types of hot peppers, and they tend to offer similar nutritional benefits. Take green chili peppers. One serving (half a cup) is low in calories, sugars and carbohydrates. It also contains little fat and no cholesterol. Nutrients include a whopping dose of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is connected to fast metabolism, the development of connective tissue, biosynthesis of neurotransmitters, immune function, healing wounds and iron absorption. It’s also an antioxidant, which means it destroys free radicals that can enter and damage cells.

Balsamic Vinegar

Originated from Italy, this condiment is an aromatic, thick, dark, syrup-like aged type of vinegar, prepared by the reduction of cooked grapes. It ages in wooden barrels for years, sometimes decades. The longer it ferments, the more intense the flavor becomes and the thicker it gets. Balsamic vinegar health benefits comprise reduced risks of heart diseases, cancer and other infectious diseases. Moreover, balsamic vinegar decelerates the aging process, controls diabetes, assists in digestion, etc.

Dukkah

Dukkah originates from Egypt, and contains a dry mix of roasted nuts, seeds and spices finely blended together. Traditionally dukkah is eaten by dipping fresh bread first into olive oil and then into the nut mixture, but it also serves as a versatile seasoning in cooking.  You can sprinkle it through your salad, season your cooking or use it to crust vegetable, fish or meat. Nuts are full of healthy fats and proteins, essential for our body & brain’s daily functioning. Because they are so rich with nutrients, you only need a few each day to benefit from its goodness. Spices are also a good source of different medicinal compounds.  Most people just think of spices as being good for flavour, without realising the amazing health benefits!  So basically dukkah is a great way of adding essential fats, proteins and other nutritional & medicinal properties to your food.

Conclusion

Making our food taste great helps us maintain healthy eating habits. And using tasty condiments appropriately can provide a wonderful treat to the palate.

In addition, ensuring that our condiments are nutrient-rich will help us meet our health and fitness goals.

Remember always to keep portion sizes in mind, and to check the labels to make sure condiments are made from mostly real food, with minimal added sugars and sodium. And if the condiment is a source of fat, ensure it’s a healthy fat like extra virgin olive oil, expeller pressed canola oil, or avocado.


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