Vanilla is an essential ingredient in low-carb baking. It truly stands out in desserts like cakes, ice creams and custards. It also makes an ideal flavor enhancer for coffee, smoothies and yogurt.
You might be wondering, what’s the difference between vanilla beans, vanilla extract, and vanilla essence? Find out which variety should you buy and which should you avoid. Keep reading to also learn how to brew your own homemade vanilla.
What’s more, vanilla is known to promote respiratory, digestive, and heart health. Its healing properties are also great for your skin and hair. You can even make your own natural vanilla-scented deodorant, for which you’ll find DIY instructions later in this article.
So, get ready to liven up your senses and discover how the mighty vanilla bean can enhance both your recipes and your health.
Is Vanilla Keto Friendly?
Due to its potent, aromatic flavor, you don’t need to use much vanilla to flavor yogurt, smoothies or recipes. For this reason, both natural vanilla beans and extracts can fit into the Keto diet.
You only need about a teaspoon of vanilla to flavor an entire recipe or a drop of two to flavor yogurts and smoothies. This amount is very low in carbs and won’t throw your body out of ketosis.
How Many Carbs are in Vanilla?
Fresh Vanilla Bean: One vanilla bean pod contains 0.1 grams of carbs. Vanilla beans are very low in carbs because they do not contain the alcohol that extracts contain, but they have a lot more flavor. Simply mash or puree the innards of the vanilla bean to create a vanilla paste that you can use in recipes.
Vanilla Extract: One tablespoon of vanilla extract contains 1.6 grams of carbs. Some commercial brands of vanilla extract may contain have sugar or corn syrup added. Always check the ingredients label to select a pure vanilla extract that is sugar-free.
How Many Calories are in Vanilla?
Fresh Vanilla Bean: There are only 1.4 calories in 1 vanilla bean pod. Soaking the pods in vodka will create a vanilla extract, which will increase the calories slightly. (Later in this article, you’ll find instructions to make your own homemade vanilla).
Vanilla Extract: One tablespoon of vanilla extract contains 38 calories. Because vanilla is so potent in flavor, you don’t need to use much. Usually, one tablespoon is enough to flavor an entire recipe. If you’re making a smoothie, you may wish to use only a teaspoon instead.
|Amount: 1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract (13 grams)|
|Total Fat 0 grams||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 grams||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 grams|
|Cholesterol 0 milligrams||0%|
|Sodium 1.2 milligrams||0%|
|Potassium 19.2 milligrams||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1.6 grams||0%|
|Dietary fiber 0 grams||0%|
|Sugar 1.6 grams|
|Protein 0 grams||0%|
Studies show that vanilla can reduce cholesterol levels, which can be useful for those who are at risk of heart attacks and strokes. Lowering LDL cholesterol levels promotes heart health by preventing inflammation of the arteries and blood clots.
The antioxidants naturally occurring in the vanilla bean can help prevent the breakdown of cells and stimulate the natural regrowth of tissues in the body. Vanilla’s antibacterial properties can boost your immune system and also assist in recovery from illness.
The fragrant aroma of vanilla is known to soothe the nerves and relieve stress and can be used as an aromatherapy treatment to induce a sense of calmness.
Promotes Healthy Digestion
Consuming vanilla-infused teas is a natural remedy that instantly soothes inflammation in the gut, improves indigestion and treats diarrhea.
Improves Respiratory Conditions
Vanilla extract and hot water can be used to treat coughs, colds, and respiratory infections. Vanilla and water help to coat the throat and provides a natural anesthetic effect. The antibacterial properties in vanilla soothe irritation in the throat and reduce inflammation from the respiratory tract.
Vanilla is generally safe when consumed in amounts commonly found in foods. However, there are some side effects. Skin contact can cause irritation and swelling (inflammation). It might also cause headaches and sleep problems (insomnia) in some individuals.
Homemade Vanilla Recipe
- 5 vanilla beans
- 8 ounces vodka (Half a pint. *Vodka has a more neutral flavor, however, bourbon, brandy, or rum may also be used.)
- Slice the length of each vanilla bean in half.
- Place the vanilla beans in a clean jar or bottle and cover them with vodka or alcohol of choice until they are completely submerged. Cover the jar or bottle tightly and shake well.
- Store the jar or bottle of vanilla beans in a cool, dark place for at least one month to infuse, shaking once a week. Taste the extract to see if it’s ready or if you wish to infuse it longer.
- If you wish to strain the vanilla to remove the pods you can do so. The pods look decorative and enhance the flavor, so you may choose to leave them in the extract.
How to Make Your Own Natural Deodorant (Vanilla Scented)
Commercial deodorants contain unhealthy ingredients, particularly aluminum, which can cause health problems over time with long-term use. Create your own DIY deodorant using all-natural ingredients. This deodorant gives off a soft vanilla scent and the best part is, it’s good for you!
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- A few drops of tea tree oil
- In a small container or bowl add in coconut oil (Make sure it is in liquid form so that you’ll be able to stir in the other ingredients. If your coconut oil is cold and in solid form, you will need to melt it down first.)
- In a small container, stir in baking soda, vanilla extract and tea tree oil until well-combined.
- Refrigerate container of deodorant until it hardens into a solid. You may wish to store it in the refrigerator to prevent it from melting.
- Apply to freshly-showered underarms with fingers to keep you dry and smelling fresh all day. If this DIY deodorant causes irritation or an allergic reaction, discontinue use.
Is Vanilla Good for Weight Loss?
Yes, vanilla can aid weight loss due to its natural appetite-suppressing qualities. What\s more, the extract of the vanilla bean can also help lower cholesterol and improve your metabolism, so that your body is more efficient at burning energy (calories).
Is Vanilla Safe to Consume During Pregnancy?
As a source of flavoring in food, vanilla extract is safe during pregnancy, just be careful not to consume more vanilla than what you would as part of a recipe. Vanilla extract contains approximately 35% alcohol, but the cooking or baking process burns the alcohol off, which makes it safe for pregnant women to consume.
Be sure to avoid artificial vanilla extracts from Mexico made with coumarin, which can be toxic. While the product looks, tastes and smells like vanilla, it can cause blood thinning, which is potentially dangerous during pregnancy. It can also interact with blood-thinning medications. These Mexican extracts as they are banned in the United States.
What is the Difference between Vanilla Beans, Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Essence?
Vanilla beans come from the pods of an orchid. When you use vanilla seeds scraped right from the vanilla bean pods, you’re getting real vanilla.
Vanilla extract is made by soaking real vanilla beans in alcohol; however, it is important to note that artificial vanilla extract (essence) uses flavor supplements. Real vanilla extract contains oils, aromas and flavor compounds that are organically found in real vanilla beans.
Vanilla essence is a manufactured product that uses simulated ingredients often derived from pine bark or cloves. These synthetic versions contain crude oils and the liquid is typically thinner, lighter in color and has a weaker flavor. Vanilla essence tastes only slightly like real vanilla but doesn’t contain any real vanilla.
Is Vanilla Good for the Skin and Hair?
If you suffer from split-ends or hair loss, vanilla used as an essential oil can help improve your hair woes. Vanilla is known to strengthen the hair shaft and induce blood flow to the scalp, which can help promote the regrowth of hair.
What’s more, vanilla can also help brighten the complexion and prevent acne. Vanilla’s antibacterial properties help to prevent pimples and breakouts. It can even reduce the appearance of scars.