Food Medicine: 10 Botanical Ingredients for Good Mood Food

Eating well helps reduce big health issues down the road. And that’s reason enough to care.

We’ve spoken about the rise in organic ingredients and how important clean eating trends have become to consumers as they choose what to put in their bodies day after day. After all, getting it wrong could up your risk for health disease, diabetes and depression to name a few.In March of 2019, the Natural Products Expo West uncovered the level of consumer interest in mood-improving food products. “Good Mood Food,” if you will. Everything from fresh fruits to vegetables to grains can help lift energy levels along with moods when eaten consistently and within a well-balanced diet.

But when we consider the importance of food and its potential for healing, we often must (quite literally) get back to our roots.Yes, your health and your diet share a special relationship that takes a whole new level when flavor is introduced. It’s why your bartender is experimenting with adding hibiscus flowers to your margarita and chamomile to your gin fizz.It’s a trend born out of not just beauty but also enhanced flavor when botanicals and spices are added to food and drinks. Consumers aren’t just chasing taste; they want the health benefits as well.

As experts in the realm of all-natural food ingredients, Nikken Foods takes the “all-natural” side of things pretty seriously and, to that end, often uses botanical extracts and medicinal herbs to deliver intended flavors and health benefits with our recipes and products. Most plant-based extracts come from flowers, berries, seeds and herbs. Once the potent properties of that plant are captured, the extract is processed into a powder and can be used as a concentrated, chemical-free ingredient.

Top 10 Edible Botanical Extracts and Health Benefits:

Chamomile – This flower, known mostly for its calming effect in tea, has anti-inflammatory properties that combat irritations and dry skin. Its antioxidants deter free radicals, and its antifungal content helps treat infections.

Mint – This popular herb has found its way into almost food product known. Besides enhancing flavors of your favorite drink or food, it’s very effective at reducing inflammation and redness.

Ginger – This root is often paired with Asian foods and carbonated drinks, but it plays a big role in reducing nausea for those who ingest it, specifically pregnant women or chemotherapy patients.

Elderflower – This tasty flower plays an active botanical ingredient on the cocktail list of most trendy bars and even found its way onto Meghan Markle’s wedding cake. It can be very useful for constipation and swollen sinuses, and its antibacterial properties help alleviate allergies.

Mallow – Nicknamed the cheese plant due its round nature and cheese-like wedges, Mallow is an edible plant that helps tackle mouth irritations, coughs and bronchitis. It’s most commonly found in salad greens where even its seeds are edible.

Jasmine – Jasmine is often ingested in tea or rice form, but this fragrant plant has flowers that boast many health benefits, including boosting energy, relieving stress, improving immune systems and helping in weight loss.

Ginseng – Another well-known root, ginseng is considered a cure-all. A mood-enhancer by nature, it is often used as a tonic (and even as an aphrodisiac) though it can’t be paired with just any medicine and can even be harmful for diabetics.

Milk Thistle – This flowering medicinal herb is most closely associated with treating and preventing liver conditions and reducing cancer cells. The leaves and flowers of milk thistle can be mixed into salads or served as a substitute for spinach. The seeds are even used in coffee.

Garlic – While it may not ward off vampires, it certainly plays a large part in keeping high cholesterol and blood pressure away. Garlic cloves can be found in a variety of cuisine due to its fragrant, distinct taste. Researchers are even investigating its effect on preventing cancer.

Aloe Vera – Not necessarily for regular consumption, this last plant is famous as a topical skin treatment, but has found its way into Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines such as salads and juices due to its refreshing taste. The botanical ingredient is popular for its anti-aging benefits.

There are so many natural, organic and botanical ingredients available to design healthy, delicious foods. Get in touch with Nikken Foods’ in-house food scientists and order the perfect ingredients to fit your needs.