A meal can often feel incomplete without a great tasting condiment to go with it. Condiments are typically stored in our pantry, refrigerator, office drawers, and bag packs for daily use multiple times. And of course, restaurants and fast-food chains are always ready to provide condiments as well.
How much do you know about all these tasty toppings for your meal? Some condiments not only add flavor to our food but also hold nutritious ingredients and compounds that fight against diseases, allergies and keep our body healthy.
Does that mean all condiments are healthy? No, of course not. So, you have to look for condiments that don’t have artificial flavors, sugars, sodium, and other preservatives, especially those condiments that you use regularly. And, of course, be mindful of calories. Adding a heaping helping of mayo to your sandwich can cause those calories to add up quickly. Keep in mind if your Condiments contain healthy fats and are organically made with olive oil and not vegetable oils.
Although most people consider mayo a fattening product, the underlying fact is that it can be very healthy if made with olive oil. Most of the mayonnaise available in the market is made up of soybean oil which isn’t good for your body and makes mayonnaise a less healthy condiment. You do need to be mindful of calorie and fat intake with Mayo.
Mustard is one of the most beneficial condiments. In old times, mustard seed and paste were used to cure kidney, lungs, and digestive ailments. From a health point of view, natural mustard with no preservatives is the best option.
Mustard is low in calories; you will get only six calories in 2 teaspoons of yellow mustard. Moreover, most mustard contains turmeric, which has curcumin in it. Curcumin has shown anti-inflammatory benefits as per several studies.
Mustard is more than just a condiment on your burgers. You can also brush this condiment on chicken or salmon before broiling for a flavorsome crust.
Ketchup does have some positive, healthy qualities. It contains the healthy ingredient lycopene, which helps prevent cardiovascular diseases and helps in slowing the process of atherosclerosis. Research also says that organic ketchup contains the highest amount of lycopene and Vitamins such as A, C, and E.
A healthy combination of herbs, vinegar, salt, and citrus extract, Salsa is rich in vitamins and antioxidants that are essentials for a healthy mind and body. There isn’t any harm in tossing it with some extra salsa into your meal to add flavor without too many additional calories and fat.
Moreover, it is a great condiment to add to your diet as it is low in calories. Two tablespoons of salsa have only ten calories. You can also use salsa to spice up food, like scrambled eggs, fajitas, tacos, or it can be a healthy alternative to high-calorie salad dressings.
5. Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Salad dressings are enriched with canola, grapeseed, and olive oil that keep your heart healthy and help you dissolve the fats and oils in your body easily. Of course, be mindful of calories and what else might be added into the dressing for flavor. If you aren’t up for a store salad dressing, try making one at home with 100% natural and organic ingredients.
6. Hot Sauce
Hot sauce contains capsaicin which helps increase your GLP1 which is an appetite-suppressing hormone, reducing ghrelin that causes hunger. Capsaicin also helps in pain relief and serves as an antioxidant. Plus, it can spice up a meal.
7. Black Pepper
Daily intake of black pepper helps improve digestion and can give relief for stomach gas. Piperine in black pepper has anti-cancer properties. Black pepper is also an antioxidant when mixed with honey, is greatly effective for colds, coughs, and infections.
8. Barbeque Sauce (BBQ Sauce)
If you love BBQ it means you love Barbeque sauce – no doubt. And great barbeque sauces come in a wide variety of flavors and spiciness. You have to watch out for what’s in your favorite sauce. It might have a lot of salt and sugars added. Then again if you’re out for great barbeque it may well be worth not worrying about.
Honey itself is full of benefits condiments. It possesses antioxidant properties and helps prevent heart diseases and cancer. It also contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds. Compared to commercial honey, locally produced and raw honey may have more antioxidant and antibacterial properties, making it a healthier choice.
Daily intake of honey also helps your body fend off seasonal allergies. Make sure you check out what additives have been put in your honey. Opt for raw and organic honey if possible. You can use honey to sweeten fruit dishes, yogurt, and tea. However, be mindful while enjoying this condiment; take it in moderation as any added sugar can cause health problems.
10. Olive Oil
While not traditionally thought of like a condiment, olive oil can be used for pieces of bread, pasta, and more to add flavor and can be combined with pepper and vinegar. Olive Oil can also be an essential and healthy ingredient to most of your recipes such as salads, sauces, dip, and meals. Oleic acid which is an omega-9 fatty acid helps in digestion and reduces the risk of heart diseases, blood pressure, and cholesterol abnormalities. Regular use of olive oil also keeps your brain cells healthy, resulting in improved long-term memory
11. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a powerhouse of proteins and antioxidants. It contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that keep your cholesterol level low and is low in sugar. Additionally, peanut butter is rich in dietary fiber, potassium, and magnesium that are essential nutrients to build muscle in your body. Watch out for the calories though, they can add up quickly.
Of course, Jelly is naturally thought of to go with Peanut Butter in sandwiches. Jelly though can be used as a condiment on different dishes and can be used in cooking. There are a wide range and types of Jelly made from different fruits and some organic and some full of sugar and additives. Carefully look at what is included in your favorite jelly to help ensure it is the best option for you.
13. Tartar Sauce
Tartar sauce is a perfect combination of mayonnaise, chopped onions, gherkins, and capers. If you like your fish fried in crumbs and eggs, tartar sauce is a must-have dip. Tartar sauce can help in digestion, regulate blood pressure, and also fights UTIs.
Hummus, made up of chickpeas and olive oil, is a great source of fiber, healthy fats, and anti-inflammatories. Since it has a low glycemic index, it helps in controlling blood sugar levels as well. Hummus is a substantial source of plant-based protein as well as fiber.
Fiber is a nutrient that promotes healthy digestion and a feeling of fullness. Sixty-two grams (1/4 cup) of hummus contains over 3 grams of fiber. Moreover, chickpeas are also an excellent source of folate and magnesium. You can enjoy this condiment by mixing it into salads, spreading it onto pitas, or as a veggie dip.
Hummus can also be used as a healthier alternative to mayonnaise.
Cinnamon is a great healthy condiment for diabetic patients. Research has proven that the use of cinnamon daily (from half to a full teaspoon) improves insulin sensitivity and stabilizes blood sugar levels which means diabetic patients need to take less insulin before every food. It also adds great flavor to any food.
Relish is simply chopped fruits and vegetables tossed in salt and vinegar. Relish is an excellent source of minerals. Regular use of relish can help with gastric and digestive problems, gives relief in joint and arthritis pain, and also help prevent ulcers.
This Japanese hot sauce made with cabbage, horseradish, mustard, broccoli, and cauliflower gives your seafood not only an exclusive taste but also a great payback to your body. Wasabi possesses anti-cancer properties and can fight against diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and high cholesterol.
Vinegar can be a great option with some pepper and olive, for example. It can be great for dipping pieces of bread and other uses. Vinegar controls blood sugar levels, fights diabetes, helps in reducing weight, belly fat, and most importantly, improves the overall health of your heart.
Tahini is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame. It is rich in minerals, calcium, and vitamins. It is easy to digest, helps in liver detoxification, and improves cell growth. Additionally, tahini also gives healthy, beautiful skin and toned muscles if used regularly.
Tahini is rich in plant-based proteins; Two tablespoons of tahini provide over 5 grams of plant-based protein or 8% of the RDI to a 175-pound adult. In addition, you can use it as a spread on toast with a pinch of cinnamon in homemade salad dressings or for dipping veggies.
Aioli cannot be missed because its main ingredient is garlic, which possesses many health benefits. Its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties help fight cancer cells, all kinds of allergens and bacteria in the body, and lower cholesterol levels in the body.
Good and healthy food is the key to a long and fulfilling life. But good food doesn’t mean it has to be bland or you have to compromise on health and nutrients for better taste. Condiments can enhance a meal, and if done properly, they don’t’ have to up the calories and fat significantly. Make your most effort to buy organic and natural condiments and be aware of preservatives and artificial flavors. If you don’t find natural condiments, look out for some easy homemade recipes that will stay fresh in your pantry for quite a while.