Chefs, cooks, foodies, food historians, and other people passionate about food will tell you - condiments give life to food.
It isn’t unusual for health professionals to pay significantly more attention to the foods represented in national food guidelines (i.e. It is not unusual for health professionals to pay more attention to foods that are included in national food guidelines (i.e. fruits, vegetables and grains), than to condiments which provide most of the flavor.
Condiments don’t exactly have a good reputation. The most popular condiments in western culture are ketchup and mayonnaise. They also include sauces like BBQ sauce and syrups.
When you or your clients are new to plant-based diets, learning to make healthier choices, or simply want to spice up their meals, it is important to remember that there is a world of nutrient-dense and flavorful condiments that can help make eating healthy delicious.
To add flavour, texture, and nutritional value to the meals of your clients, here is a list eight high-nutrition condiments.
Mustard is a condiment that is made by cracking, grinding, or bruising brown, yellow, or black mustard seeds and mixing them with water, vinegar, lemon juice, wine, or other liquids. You can add salt and other flavors and spices. It can be a light or bright brown color.
You can find a variety of mustards, including yellow mustard and honey mustard.
Mustard seeds are oilseeds, so they are rich in omega-3 oils and the endosperm (the hard part on the outside of the seed) provides fiber. Mustard oil is very rich in Vitamin A, and some researchers have even proposed its use as part of public health strategies to combat vitamin A deficiency.
Additionally, mustard seeds are exceptionally high in amino acids like phenylalanine, tyrosine, methionine, cysteine, leucine, valine, and lysine, making mustard a good complement to plant-based diets.
The characteristic mustard flavor is due to the presence of isothiocyanates which have potent anticarcinogenic properties. When cooked vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, collard greens and kale are added, these isothiocyanates become more bioavailable.
Interesting fact - the bitter and acidic flavor characteristic of mustard seeds is not perceived by the senses until the seeds are mixed with a liquid.
Nutritional yeast is the same species of yeast used to bake bread and brew beer, but it is grown under different conditions to be used as a food product where the yeast consumed is not alive. It is a wonderful condiment that has a distinct cheesy or savory flavor.
The majority of plant-based diets can be balanced and meet all your nutritional needs by eating a range of different foods. B vitamins is one of the nutrients missing from plant-based diets.
Many nutrients are found in nutritional yeast, including B vitamins and over a dozen vitamins. Among these nutrients are chromium and selenium; the former is important for maintaining normal blood glucose and the latter is vital to proper immune system function.
You can either fortify or unfortify nutritional yeast. Fortified nutritional yeast contains synthetic vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to increase its nutrient value. Fortified nutritional yeast provides a good source of vitamin B12 that is crucial for numerous metabolic processes.
Note that if you are interested in using nutritional yeast as a condiment, make sure to buy the type labeled as nutritional yeast, not baker’s yeast. Consuming baker’s yeast in large quantities can actually deplete nutrients in the body.
Coconut aminos are a savory condiment made from fermented coconut tree sap and salt. Although it is made from coconut sap and salt, it doesn't taste exactly like coconut. Coconut aminos is similar to soya sauce in consistency and color, and can be used as a substitute for it.
This sauce isn’t particularly high in nutrients, but the fermentation process makes coconut aminos a great probiotic-rich condiment that can help to support gut health. However, coconut aminos tend to be lower in sodium than other soy sauces.
The ingredients of coconut aminos are not made with wheat. This makes them an ideal condiment for people who have celiac disease or other gluten allergies.
Gomasio (gomashio), also known as Japanese sesame salt, is made from toasted, ground sesame seeds and sea salt.
This condiment is simple and nutrient-rich, yet it is versatile.
Many minerals are essential for bone and immune health such as calcium, magnesium and manganese. B vitamins, B vitamins and B vitamin niacin are all found in these seeds.
Sesame seeds from gomasio also contain lignans and gamma–tocopherol which are antioxidants. These help to fight inflammation due to oxidative stress.
You should also be aware that some sesame seed antinutrients such as phytates and oxalates may hinder the absorption of certain nutrients. Toasting the seeds thoroughly will reduce their impact and enhance the taste.
If you like spice with your food (and your digestive system can handle it!), then don’t hold back on the hot sauce.
The majority of hot sauces consist of hot chili peppers from different types, salt, vinegar and salt. With over 4000 chili varieties worldwide, there is a wide range of flavor options and spice levels. The compound capsaicin is the most important component of chili peppers' vitamin C.
Consider this: Hot sauces tend to be high in sodium. You should avoid high-sodium sauces and chili powders if your blood pressure is high or at high risk.
Tomato paste is a pantry staple in many homes. Tomato-based sauces can be used in many ways.
In western diets, tomatoes are the main dietary source of lycopene, an antioxidant that is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and inflammation. Even more lycopene is found in tomato paste than it is in tomatoes.
Tomato paste can be used as a base in many soups and sauces. Most tomato pastes also have long shelf lives.
Tahini is a paste made from toasted ground sesame seeds. While it's most commonly used as a component in hummus (it can also be used in many other Mediterranean and Asian recipes), Tahini Tahini is a paste made from toasted ground sesame seeds.
Tahini has over 10% of the vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese content in just one teaspoon.
The paste is also rich in lignans, an antioxidant that may help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease through reducing oxidative stress and ameliorating inflammation.
As a condiment, tahini can also be spread on bread or used in salad dressings. You can use it in soups, stews and sauces.
Horseradish is a root part of the cruciferous vegetable family that has a pungent aroma and taste. This condiment has been around for centuries, and it has also been known to be used in medicine.
This root-based condiment is rich in glucosinolates, which is a compound that breaks down into isothiocyanate. Because of its anti-cancer and antimicrobial properties, isothiocyanate was studied.
It is also beneficial for clearing your throat and nose. Some symptoms of the common cold can be managed by horseradish’s sinus-clearing abilities. However, sinus infections can be treated with horseradish.
Condiments have a bad reputation as the food industry has pushed forward condiments that are high in added sugar and salt. But condiments are a great way to enhance your meal and provide nutrients.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Discover how you can make healthy eating enjoyable by using spices, condiments, herbs and other flavorings.