When you dissolve the beans of vanilla in alcohol, you get vanilla extract. The extract is a liquid that is dark in color and has the strong scent of real vanilla.
It is true that all vanilla extracts you can find are high in alcohol, but there is no reason to be worried about this. If you expose the liquid to high heat, the alcohol will easily evaporate.
So when you add vanilla extract as you bake a cake, it no longer contains alcohol.
Remember that even though artificial vanilla flavor and vanilla extract smell almost similar, they are not the same.
Vanilla extract as mentioned is simply dissolved beans, while the artificial flavor comes from a chemical extracted from wood and coal tar. When it comes to taste, the extract is definitely richer and even has benefits for your health:
- Anti-Aging: Vanilla contains high amounts of antioxidants, which are known to stop the ill effects of free radicals. Consuming it or the extract can help slow down wrinkles, age spots, fine lines, and other signs of aging. This is why you can see many cosmetic products with vanilla as one of the ingredients.
- Healthier Skin: Aside from the anti-aging, vanilla and its extract also promote healthy skin. Natural vanilla contains B vitamins, including B6 pantothenic acid, niacin, and thiamin, which all contribute to younger and healthy-looking skin. Plus, the antioxidants help protect your skin against damage caused by toxins and pollution.
- Hair Growth: If you have been losing hair or your hair is thinning, use vanilla extract or the essential oil, along with carrier oils, such as coconut oil.
- Anti-Depression: There are neurological studies that show vanilla extract does have a positive effect on our moods. This can benefit people with depression and anxiety disorder. The scent can calm the senses, so those with such problem are recommended to add vanilla extract to their water or milk.
- Weight Loss: Supplement your weight loss plan by adding vanilla extract to your drinks or snacks.
- Nausea Relief: Vanilla extract can help calm the tummy if you’re feeling nauseous. Just add two to three drops of the extract to water and drink it slowly.
Vanilla and vanilla extract have many other benefits, including its use in coughs, dental problems, and digestive disorders. In some places, it is even used as an aphrodisiac. This just shows that vanilla’s use extends far beyond your kitchen.