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Boost the nutritional value of your meal simply by adding these healthy condiments and spices
Nutrient-dense, flavourful condiments and anti-oxidant-rich herbs and spices are the best way to dazzle your taste buds while being kind to your waistline.
Here’s where to find some of the healthiest condiments and spices in Vancouver for you to drizzle, shake and mix into your meals.
Whether you drizzle roasted cauliflower with tahini or make a spicy almond satay sauce for grilled chicken, adding nut or seed butters to your meals is a delicious way to add extra nutrients and rich flavours.
Tahini, made from pureed sesame seeds, is a good source of anti-inflammatory copper, nerve function-enhancing manganese and bone-building calcium, while almonds are packed with skin-beautifying Vitamin E and digestion-boosting fibre.
Local hookup: Sweet Cherubim, 1105 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Fermentation is the nutrition buzzword of 2014. Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, miso, tempeh, yogurt and kefir, are not only rich in gut-healthy bacteria, but have increased nutrient bioavailability thanks to the fermentation process.
“Recent studies have shown that fermentation magnifies the benefits of plants and herbal blends and in some cases produces unique bioactive phytochemicals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that did not exist prior to fermentation,” says author and naturopathic doctor Alan Logan.
Local hookup: Ethical Kitchen, 1600 Mackay Road, North Vancouver
Capsaicin, the compound that makes hot peppers spicy, not only adds an extra kick of flavour to food, it actually suppresses appetite. Hot peppers also contain Vitamin C, which aids in tissue repair and iron absorption, and Vitamin A, which is important for eye health and immunity.
Local hookup: Gourmet Warehouse, 1340 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Vanilla is a low-calorie sweetener that’s rich in antioxidants as well as mood-boosting, appetite-curbing aromatherapy benefits. Forgo the sugar on your porridge and mix in a splash of vanilla instead, and add it to homemade protein bars for a tasty, satisfying afternoon snack.
Local hookup: Pemberton Distillery, 1954 Venture Pl, Pemberton
Acetic acid, a key component in vinegar, helps regulate blood sugar levels and may boost satiety – meaning you’re less likely to reach for more calories in the form of a second helping. Delicious drizzled on fruit or shaken into salad dressings, vinegar also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Local hookup: Edible Canada, Granville Island, 212-1551, Johnston Street, Vancouver
Herbs and spices don’t just add flavour to food, they’re antioxidant powerhouses! “USDA researchers estimate that you can derive great benefits from consuming 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC [Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity] units of antioxidants a day,” says author, geriatric neurologist and dementia specialist, and director of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Dr Marwan Sabbagh, who shares this list of staggeringly high antioxidant-rich herbs and spices:
*There are roughly 2 to 4 grams per tsp
Local hookup: South China Seas Trading Co., Granville Island, 125–1689 Johnston Street, Vancouver
Editor’s note: Information regarding antioxidant units has been updated since this article’s original published date.