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Wellness 3 minutes 30 July 2018

Make Your Drink Healthier with These Condiments

If you haven’t thought about adding these ingredients to your beverages, it's time to get onboard.

beverage ingredients wellness

In case you’re looking for an extra touch of flavor—and nutrition—in your beverages, we have gathered some trendy ideas. Here's what to try, and expect the unexpected.

Nutritional Yeast

Yeast (pictured above)—discovered five millennia back in ancient Egypt when people then used it for making bread—may be the earliest known superfood ever, with lots of vitamin B, wheat germ, wheat germ oil and other various minerals.

Besides that, it’s believed that in every two teaspoons of yeast there are nine grams of protein and no cholesterol, fat or gluten, which makes it an ideal substitute for milk. The folate, zinc and selenium in yeast improve our immune and reproductive systems and help our heart and brain run better. Studies show that marathon runners who consumed yeast (read: carbs) before a race suffered less from fatigue and stress and recovered more quickly.

You can add this to any drink—it works especially well with post-workout protein shake for additional protein and minerals. How does it taste? Since nutritional yeast is non-active, it doesn’t have any bitterness but rather a unique yogurt-like flavor.

Hemp Seed and Chia Seed

The seed power is still going strong; chia seed continues to make appearances in different healthy drink recipes. But if you wish to double the impact, hemp seed is the way to go. While it’s less fibrous than chia seed, hemp seed has higher amounts of fatty acid and protein.

The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the most beneficial to our heart. The tiny hemp seed has even more to offer, helping lower blood pressure and cholesterol, facilitate the circulatory system and metabolism, and combatting inflammation. Not only revered by Western doctors, the skin-healing effects of hemp seeds are also noted in classic Chinese medicinal literature. The two seeds have similar sizes and are both flavorless—together they form a formidable team.

Put these in any milkshake, smoothie or juice. Pro tip: the seeds aren’t suitable for hot drinks.

Maca

Those who have tried maca coffee will remember its distinctive taste; it's spicy in the beginning, followed by bitter notes and ends with mild sweetness. Grown on the hostile conditions of the South American highlands, its nutritional value truly reflects the plant’s resilience. Maca carries the moniker of “the South American ginseng” for good reason, as it relieves fatigue caused by exercise and boosts the endurance of our muscles and our immune system. The root vegetable is also an anti-stress solution for Peruvians who use it to improve insomnia problems. On the other hand, thyroid illness patients and pregnant or breastfeeding women should consume maca with caution. The same goes to the people who react strongly towards natural stimulants like coffee, as they are more susceptible to conditions such as insomnia, palpitation and stomachache.

Maca works with both cold and hot drinks. As it has a pretty overwhelming taste, a small amount should suffice.

Botanical Flavors

Adding flower into beverages is an exhilarating aromatic experience, with elderflower and hibiscus being popular go-to options. The former has long been employed by Europeans to fight the flu, while the latter has been proven to be useful in decreasing blood pressure and improving our urinal system.

When adding to beverages, as little as a petal could enrich the flavor of the beverage.

Cardamom

Cardamom isn’t called the queen of spices for nothing. Sometimes mistaken for nutmeg, cardamom smells both subtle and graceful, its spiciness intertwined with hints of lemon, citrus and mint. It’s vastly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines to enhance the fragrance of various dishes and drinks, one of them being the reputed Indian milk tea.

Cardamom is related to ginger and has a similar warming property, and according to Ayurveda, it aids indigestion. The medical faculty of King Saud University further proves the spice’s ability to reduce risks of heart and blood vessel diseases. The only group of people who should avoid cardamom is those with gallstones, as it is a source of biliary colic.

Add less than a teaspoon of cardamom powder to hot drinks to reap the benefits.

Matcha

Once reserved exclusively for tea ceremonies, matcha has has risen in popularity over the years. Seen often in ice cream and cakes, the commercial potential doesn’t hurt its exquisite persona. The tea powder is still closely connected to its tradition, ground by natural stone equipment to release all its fragrance. Apart from its refreshing taste, nutrients are another element that draws people into matcha, containing some 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea. Such content helps fight the free radicals in our body, achieving the effects of anti-inflammation and anti-aging.

Put matcha powder into cold beverages or protein shakes.

Gelatin

Tasteless gelatin—widely found in gummy candy, pudding and jelly—is a superfood that isn’t vegetarian, as it’s produced using the bones and skin of pigs and cows. The theory that it reinforces our joints and keeps us from inflammation and pain sounds similar to the saying of Traditional Chinese Medicine that the animal organs we eat benefits the corresponding organs in our body. But it’s also backed by empirical research. The Australian Institute of Sport indicates that drinking 15 grams of gelatin before exercise could double the effect of collagen synthesis, restoring the wear to our tendons and ligaments. Moreover, gelatin protects our gastrointestinal mucosa. But before you dive into it, make sure the product you buy is free of growth hormones and heavy metal substances such as lead.

General gelatin powder dissolves only in hot water, except for hydrolyzed gelatin powder which can be used in either hot or cold drinks.

Note: As your body might not be used to these condiments, begin with a smaller amount in the first time.

This story was originally written by Derek Cheong and translated by Vincent Leung. Click here to read the original version of this story.

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