When it comes to flavoring foods, do you often find yourself resorting to artificial flavors, extracts, and chemicals? While it may be okay to use these ingredients once a while, it isn’t that healthy if used too frequently. For example, bromides added to bread to make them fluffy are carcinogens. The color red used in cooking comes from an insect pigment. Extracts of flavors are often obtained by soaking them in alcohol. For anyone who is on a strict diet, these are cultural and health pain points.
Thankfully, there are ways to flavor foods without using artificial elements. Here are some of the easiest and healthy options.
Natural Flavor Additives For Your Dishes
1. Herbs Such As Basil And Thyme
A list of natural flavoring agents cannot be complete without herbs. Herbs such as basil find a prominent place in pesto sauces. Indeed, the strong flavor of basil features prominently in Italian cooking. Other herbs like oregano, sage, thyme, and cilantro add their own distinct flavor to dishes.
With herbs, you don’t just get a dash of flavor but also many health benefits, such as reduced hypertension and a rich dose of antioxidants. These reasons are enough to make herbs your flavor of choice!1
2. Spices Such As Turmeric And Saffron
Spices are not far from being considered as super foods. They provide excellent, strong, distinct flavor and also boost your health. For example, turmeric adds color, flavor, and also acts as an anticancer agent. Cinnamon is a must in pies and is anti-hypertensive.2 Cloves are known to have pain-relieving effects and saffron is a part of several recipes for beauty and skin care.
3. Liquids Such As Lemon Juice And Apple Cider Vinegar
Lemon juice is perhaps one of the most versatile flavoring agents and an amazing health food. Due to the high vitamin C content, lemons are excellent for building immunity in children and adults alike.
Other flavoring agents such as apple cider vinegar find a place in the making of pickles and fermented products. They help to preserve ingredients for a longer duration. Also, vinegar is said to have benefits ranging from removing warts to fighting diabetes,3 so including it in your diet is a good idea.
4. All Types Of Cheese
Cheese is one of the healthiest foods you can add for flavoring. It is rich in calcium and helps in bone growth and development. Being a fermented product, cheese can help maintain the balance of gut flora in the intestines.4
There is no salad or pasta in the world that cannot do better with a dash of cheese grated on top. Just add feta crumbs to salads and parmesan to pasta recipes to give them an instant facelift.
5. Hummus And Tahini
For foods that keep well for longer and are very healthy, look no further than hummus and tahini. Hummus is a chickpea dip with garlic and healthy olive oil added in for good measure. It can add flavor to bread and also provide a protein boost.5
Tahini is dip made of roasted sesame seeds that adds immense flavor to foods. Not just that, sesame seeds have immense benefits for postmenopausal women in terms of maintaining health and hormonal balance.6
With so many natural flavoring options, why would you want to try anything else? Have you used any of these or a different flavoring in your dishes? Let us know how it worked out for you.
|↑1||Craig, Winston J. “Health-promoting properties of common herbs.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70, no. 3 (1999): 491s-499s.|
|↑2||Preuss, Harry G., Bobby Echard, Marilyn M. Polansky, and Richard Anderson. “Whole cinnamon and aqueous extracts ameliorate sucrose-induced blood pressure elevations in spontaneously hypertensive rats.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 25, no. 2 (2006): 144-150.|
|↑3||Johnston, Carol S., Cindy M. Kim, and Amanda J. Buller. “Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care 27, no. 1 (2004): 281-282.|
|↑4||Succi, M., P. Tremonte, A. Reale, E. Sorrentino, L. Grazia, S. Pacifico, and R. Coppola. “Bile salt and acid tolerance of Lactobacillus rhamnosus strains isolated from Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.” FEMS microbiology letters 244, no. 1 (2005): 129-137.|
|↑5||Christoff, H,E. I Want To Cook That. Friesen Press, 2013.|
|↑6||Wu, Wen-Huey, Yu-Ping Kang, Nai-Hung Wang, Hei-Jen Jou, and Tzong-An Wang. “Sesame ingestion affects sex hormones, antioxidant status, and blood lipids in postmenopausal women.” The Journal of nutrition 136, no. 5 (2006): 1270-1275.|