Few sandwiches aren’t complete without a dollop of mayo smeared generously over them. Mayonnaise is a beloved condiment, that’s used to make everything from salads to dips tastier. It also gets a very bad rep most of the time for not being the healthiest ingredient in the grocery aisle.. Mayonnaise at its most basic is eggs emulsified with a vegetable oil. In other words, it’s almost pure fat. Because of this, many people stay away from mayonnaise completely or choose ones with a ‘fat-free’ label. If you just can’t drag yourself away from mayo’s creamy embrace, you might worry about how this will affect your health. Luckily though, mayo might not actually be as bad for you as was previously believed.
The Possible Health Benefits Of Mayonnaise
A lot of the flak mayonnaise received was for its high fat content. Until recently, all fat was thought to be bad for you and thus, was to be avoided like the plague. However as we know now, only trans fats are truly bad for you. Unsaturated and even saturated fats do have health benefits to offer, granted they’re consumed in the right quantities. Mayonnaise is made from whole eggs and vegetable oil, so it’s entirely composed of saturated fats. Because of this, it could actually have a few health benefits.
1. It Improves Nutrient Absorption
You can eat as many nutrient-dense meals as you want, but if your body can’t absorb these nutrients, then it’s of no use to you. Saturated fats are essential for your body to absorb and utilize nutrients in food. Starving yourself of fat can actually make you malnourished. So a small bit of mayo in your salad dressings might actually help your body process the food more effectively.
2. It’s A Rich Source Of Omega-3
Eggs are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in their yolks. Most of us are guilty of throwing away the yolks because we believe they’re unhealthy, so we also lose the omega-3 content within them. Mayonnaise wouldn’t exist without yolks, so it’s naturally very rich in this healthy fat. Omega-3 is essential for healthy skin and nails, shiny hair and even better brain functioning. Omega-3 strengthens our brain’s ability to send and receive messages, which keeps our neural abilities sharp.
3. Reduces Your Risk For Heart Disease
This might sound counter-intuitive to everything you know, but saturated fats could actually lower your chances of heart disease. LDL cholesterol is one of the main causes of heart disease because it can clog your arteries with plaque. Saturated fats astonishingly, can actually lower your blood cholesterol levels. They also prevent inflammation and lower your insulin levels, all of which are very important for your health.
The Flip Side
Despite all these amazing health benefits, mayonnaise is far from a perfect health food. Saturated fats like the ones found in mayo are important, but only in small quantities. Too much of it can be harmful for you and can seriously damage your health. That’s bad news if you were looking forward to slathering your food in mayo. But as long as you keep your servings small, there’s really no reason why you should feel guilty about dipping into the mayo jar every once in awhile.
Store-Bought Vs. Homemade
These health benefits that mayonnaise has to offer might not be the same across all kinds of mayo. Store-bought mayo differs from homemade mayo in several critical aspects. The most obvious difference, is the oil used as an emulsifier. Commercial mayo usually includes soybean oil because it’s cheap and easily available. However, most soybean oil is made from GMO soybeans which can have a very harmful effect on our body. It can disrupt our hormone cycle and even increase our risk for cancer.
Store-bought mayo is also higher in sodium because it includes flavorings, additives and preservatives. When you make your own mayo, you have greater control over what goes into it. This is why, sodium is noticeably lower in homemade mayonnaise.
Easy Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe
Most of us stick to buying mayonnaise because we’re so daunted by the prospect of having to make our own. Making mayo sounds very tricky and there’s the ever-present danger of it splitting. However, it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. This almost fool-proof recipe for mayonnaise is quick, natural and healthier than your usual brand. Once you taste homemade mayo, there’s really no going back to commercial ones. This recipe is enough for a small jar of mayonnaise (which is usually recommended when you’re still getting the hang of it). When you master it, you can increase the ingredients proportionally to make larger batches.
1 whole egg
1 tbsp lemon juice/white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup canola oil
1. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. If they’re all not at the same temperature, you have a greater chance of them splitting.
2. Combine all ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Blend until fully incorporated.
3. With your food processor on a low speed, slowly add the oil, making sure just a few drops of it are added at a time.
4. After a quarter of the oil has been added, your mixture will start to thicken up. Once it begins to look like mayo, you can add your oil a little faster (but do not pour it in all at once).
5. Taste the mayo to see if it needs more acidity or salt. Once it tastes fine to you, keep it in an airtight jar and store in the fridge.