10 Best Condiments And 7 Worst You Must Avoid

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Best Condiments

Life is spiced up with variety. You can enhance the flavor of necessary, healthy foods by adding specific best condiments to your meals, making them more palatable, flavorful, and delightful.

However, not all condiments belong in your pantry or refrigerator. Many are high in sodium, sugar, calories, and artificial substances.

Some popular condiments are far better options than others when you look at their nutritional composition. What you need to know about the finest and worst condiments to have on hand is provided here.

Condiments: What Are They?

A condiment is something that “improves the flavor of food,” according to the dictionary. Condiments come in various flavors, from vinegar to herbs, spices, and seasonings. 

The Latin term condimentum (or condire), which means “to season,” is where the word condiment derives from.

Here are the most popular condiments, those deemed “healthy” and those considered not to be.

Ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, and salad dressings are a few common condiments.

The quantity of salt, sugar, artificial additives, and preservatives used in the production of a particular condiment can make it a better choice than another.

Some of the best condiments offer nutritional benefits in probiotics, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

It is ideal if all of the condiments you eat fall into the following range:

  • Low carbs and no added sugar (less than five grams per tablespoon)
  • common salt (less than 70 milligrams per tablespoon)
  • No hydrogenated oils or trans fats
  • Devoid of artificial sweeteners
  • very minimal or none at all preservatives
  • no additional colors
  • Most condiments, except for oils, have relatively modest calorie counts.
  • Look for those with 30-60 calories per tablespoon or fewer unless you use salad dressing or extra virgin olive oil.

Related: Margarine vs. Butter: Which Is the Healthier Option?

The Top 10 Best Condiments for Your Kitchen

What types of seasonings and sauces may you include in your diet? The list of nutrient-dense herbs and spices free of dangerous ingredients is provided below.

Most of the foods listed below are also exceptionally low in carbohydrates, which makes them ideal for the Paleo diet or a low-carb keto diet food list.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Many health-conscious cooks love using apple cider vinegar as an ingredient. Probiotics are present, and it is fermented. Acetic acid is a unique substance found in ACV that has antibacterial capabilities.

It can aid in the treatment of digestive problems and acid reflux. ACV also helps with diabetes, blood pressure control, and weight loss.

One of the oldest condiments is vinegar. More than 10,000 years ago, it was found! It’s advantageous for balancing the body’s pH level and improving digestive health because it delivers a solid acidity.

When you consider all the uses for apple cider vinegar, you can smuggle some into your everyday routine. Try using a little in marinades, sauces, smoothies, salad dressing, and cleansing tonic beverages.

2. Mustards

For a good season, mustard is one of the most consumed condiments worldwide. With very few calories, mustard seeds are a great source of taste and several phytonutrients.

Mustard seeds were regarded by the ancient Chinese as a natural aphrodisiac. Since then, mustard has been demonstrated to defend against the development of tumors and DNA or cell mutation.

Whatever variety you prefer—Dijon, gritty, or brown—mustard is widely available. It can be utilized in various ways to give homemade meals a strong “punch” of flavor and spice.

Consider adding some to salad dressing, using it as a marinate on proteins before cooking, or serving it with sweet potato fries.

Sweet honey mustards are one thing to avoid. More sugar (or high fructose corn syrup) may be used when making them than mustard seeds.

3. Hot Sauce

Nothing beats a decently spicy sauce if you enjoy a slight spiciness with your meat, beans, or eggs. Given that they include the chemical capsaicin, foods with spicy flavors like peppers and other fat-burning foods are known to improve the body’s capacity to burn fat.

The heat-producing element in hot peppers comes from this colorless plant component. It can be used to ease intestinal discomfort and reduce pain.

Capsaicin is concentrated in the pepper’s interior tissue containing the seeds. It is associated with advantages such as lowering cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and weight gain.

Choose a high-quality brand that doesn’t include artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

4. Raw Honey

A fantastic natural sweetener is raw honey. Why? Raw honey has some astounding health advantages.

These include lowering allergies, enhancing acne, easing cold and flu symptoms, enhancing digestion, and lowering viruses or infections.

In addition to tasting delicious, it is renowned for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Use only a spoonful or less of raw honey per day in moderation. Try it in homemade sweets, marinades, sauces, or drizzled-on fruit.

5. Olive Oil

Unsaturated fats aid in adequately absorbing nutrients from salads and nutritious dishes that are fat-soluble, such as vitamins A, E, and K.

They also give you a fuller feeling. By using olive oil to make your full-fat marinade, dressing, etc., you avoid many artificial preservatives, sodium, and sugar hidden in packaged salad dressings.

6. Horseradish

Do you want a quick trick to make mashed potatoes, soups, dips, or sauces taste better? Consider including a tiny bit of horseradish. An excellent indicator of its nutritional content is its potent spiciness.

The spicy flavor of this root vegetable is due to the glucosinolate chemicals, which also impact the battle against cancer.

It works well as a natural sinus infection treatment. A little goes a long way when adding flavor to all dishes because each tablespoon has fewer than 10 calories and most brands have no added sugar.

7. Sauerkraut

Real, chilled sauerkraut is a fermented food dish that provides beneficial microorganisms for the digestive system.

Live active cultures are produced by probiotic foods, such as cultured vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi, which aid in boosting the number of beneficial bacteria in the stomach.

A few advantages of good bacteria are appetite regulation, improved digestion, boosted immune system, and enhanced brain and hormonal function.

For instance, fermented veggies can be used to treat candidiasis. The probiotics in canned sauerkraut aren’t “alive,” so look for a refrigerated variety that says it hasn’t been processed.

8. Salsa

Although making fresh salsas from scratch is an excellent way to reduce sodium and preservatives, many store-bought varieties contain vital, high-quality ingredients.

These healthy nutrients include spices, tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos. For various flavors and even more spice, try putting tomato-based salsa on top of eggs, salads, tacos, or fish.

9. Tamari

Tamari is a gluten-free substitute for soy sauce. It is liquid. Like soy sauce, this condiment is renowned for its smooth flavor and adaptability.

Tamari differs from other sauces of a similar nature in more ways than only the absence of wheat. Additionally, it has a higher protein content, is simpler to prepare, and is less likely to have additives.

Tamari is made by fermenting soybeans; however, unlike traditional soy sauce, very little wheat is added to the process.

Tamari may give meals a salty, rich flavor by adding a dash to dishes. It performs amazingly well in stir-fries, dips, sauces, and salads. Be careful not to use too much because it contains a lot of salt.

10. Gochujang

You might not be familiar with this sauce, but if you like Korean and spicy food, you’ll adore it. Korean food regularly uses the fermented condiment gochujang, also known as red chili paste.

It is renowned for having a unique flavor. It has equal amounts of sweetness, savory, and heat.

Gochugaru (red chili powder), glutinous rice, salt, mejutgaru (fermented soybean powder), and yeotgireum are typical components used to prepare this red chili paste (barley malt powder).

The benefits of gochujang’s constituents include promoting fat loss, assisting in the prevention of heart disease, raising metabolism, lowering blood sugar, and combating inflammation, thanks to the abundance of antioxidants.

 

Condiments To Avoid

Sadly, many condiments you may buy in stores are made with processed oils, sugar, and sodium. The following is a list of some of the worst condiment components to stay away from:

  • Fructose-rich corn syrup
  • Cane sugar, fructose, barley malt, corn syrup, rice, other syrups, dextrose, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, glucose solids, and many more forms of added sugar (which go by many various names) are all examples of added sugar.
  • refined vegetable oils, such as maize, safflower, and sunflower oil
  • Artificial sweeteners for shortening
  • Benzoates of sodium and potassium
  • Butylated anisole of hydroxyl (BHA)
  • Nitrate or nitrate of sodium
  • White wheat flour, corn flour, etc., depending on your diet

    Types of condiments you should discard or leave on the shop shelf include:

1. Most Soy Sauces

You might be surprised to find soy sauce on a list of foods that are healthful but that you should never consume. It’s true that soy sauce doesn’t contain a lot of sugar or calories.

But it also contains a lot of sodium and, of course, soy! One of the most often genetically modified foods is soy, particularly soy produced in the United States.

Many people may ingest soy sauce in modest amounts, but it can affect hormones and cause gastrointestinal problems when consumed excessively.

Great alternatives include tamari and coconut aminos or liquid aminos. Additionally, search for low-sodium, organic soy sauce.

For adding Asian, soy-like flavors to foods without any soy risks or hidden gluten, use soy sauce instead of soy sauce.

 

2. Store-Bought Ketchup

There are only about 20 calories in one tablespoon of ketchup. The main issue is that it’s frequently made with artificial ingredients and a lot of sugar.

Use only one tablespoon of low-sugar organic ketchup as a better alternative.

Make your homemade ketchup from scratch instead! Fresh tomatoes and simple spices can be used to make ketchup easily. Additionally, it provides a small amount of tomato-derived antioxidant lycopene to your meals.

3. Agave Nectar

Agave nectar, a sweet syrup prepared from the agave tequiliana plant, is produced in Mexico. This may give the impression that agave is a natural, healthier alternative to cane sugar; however, much of agave’s marketing hype is currently being questioned.

We now know that agave is no healthier than other processed sweeteners and isn’t any lower in sugar. It was initially explicitly pushed as a healthy choice for diabetics because it’s supposedly lower on the glycemic index.

The naturally occurring agave liquids and almost all nutritional content are removed during the highly processed process of making agave. Furthermore, it has a higher fructose content than high-fructose corn syrup.

It is, therefore, exceedingly risky, especially for anyone with blood sugar issues! In general, HFCS and excessive amounts of added sugar are regarded as foods that cause discomfort because they might worsen inflammation.

Excess sugar raises your risk of health issues like obesity and diabetes by giving you a lot of empty calories, providing no nutritional benefit, and spiking your blood sugar.

4. Store-Bought BBQ Sauce

Agave nectar, a sweet syrup prepared from the agave tequiliana plant, is produced in Mexico. This may give the impression that agave is a natural, healthier alternative to cane sugar; however, much of agave’s marketing hype is currently being questioned.

We now know that agave is no healthier than other processed sweeteners and isn’t any lower in sugar. It was initially explicitly pushed as a healthy choice for diabetics because it’s supposedly lower on the glycemic index.

The naturally occurring agave liquids and almost all nutritional content are removed during the highly processed process of making agave. Furthermore, it has a higher fructose content than high-fructose corn syrup.

It is, therefore, exceedingly risky, especially for anyone with blood sugar issues! In general, HFCS and excessive amounts of added sugar are foods that cause discomfort because they might worsen inflammation.

Excess sugar raises your risk of health issues like obesity and diabetes by giving you a lot of empty calories, providing no nutritional benefit, and spiking your blood sugar.

5. Sweet Relish

You might be startled to see artificial coloring, several preservatives, and a lot of sugar on the ingredients label of most store-bought sweet relishes.

A simple condiment that contains healthy cucumber, onion, vinegar, and a small amount of sweetness generally contains more than ten processed components. Instead, make your own or get an organic, low-sugar brand.

6. Mayonnaise

Although mayonnaise may seem intuitive, it takes some explanation. The problem is not so much the mayonnaise’s fat content (that comes from egg yolks and oil). It’s the kind of oil that’s utilized in the majority of mayos from the store.

Sunflower, safflower, or canola oil are some of the refined and processed vegetable oils used in the majority of mayonnaise available in grocery shops.

Try creating mayo with organic, cage-free egg yolks and extra virgin olive oil. Using a blender, this may be completed in a matter of minutes.

7. “Light” Salad Dressings

To improve the flavor and texture, something else must be added to replace the removed fat, such as sugar, sodium, or artificial additives.

Since they reduce calories and fat from oil, light salad dressings may seem like a decent choice.

However, adding natural, high-quality oils to your salads, such as extra virgin olive oil, is entirely safe and adds essential nutrients.

How to Use and Where to Find The Best Condiments

Condiments can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Enhancing the taste of bland or plain foods (such as vegetables or whole grains).
  • The more flavorful your diet is, the less bored you will become with healthy, basic ingredients.
  • Adding healthy fat to your meals will make you feel fuller and more satisfied for a more extended period.
  • Adding a bit of sweetness, spice, or tartness to your food.
  • When making dips or spreads, creaminess can be added.
  • Adding flavor boosters to sandwiches, burgers, etc.
  • Creating dipping sauces for raw vegetables.
  • Making marinades for proteins.
  • Stir-frying veggies and protein in a sauce.

Look for healthy condiments at your local farmer’s market, online, or in health food stores (such as Amazon or Thrive Market, which stock difficult-to-find brands). Read ingredient labels thoroughly before you buy anything at larger supermarket stores.

The more well-known brands frequently use inexpensive, heavily processed components. Find small businesses that are ideally local, organic, and free of GMOs.

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Risks and Negative Impacts

Keep in mind that condiments increase flavor. That implies that they shouldn’t be consumed frequently or as a mainstay of your diet.

While some condiments are regarded as nutritious and add nutrients to your diet, using them sparingly is still advised.

For instance, even healthy condiments still contain a lot of sodium, mainly if you use them. Watch what you’re serving.

For burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc., use no more than two teaspoons, and for marinades and sauces, use no more than one to two tablespoons.

When buying condiments, be cautious if you have a gluten, dairy, or soy allergy. Because many condiments have additives, no one could expect them.

Conclusion

  • The purpose of condiments is to enhance the taste of foods by adding variety, spice, sweetness, heat, and other flavors.
  • In addition to making bland/plain foods (such as vegetables or whole grains) taste better, condiments are used to improve the texture of recipes, add some healthy fat, and make foods taste tastier, sweeter, or spicier.
  • To be considered healthy, condiments should be low in sugar, salt, and sodium and free of refined oils, GMOs, additives, colors, and preservatives.
  • What are some examples of condiments? Apple cider vinegar, mustards, tamari, salsa, hot sauce, raw honey, spices, hummus, olive oil, sauerkraut, and others are healthy condiments.
  • In contrast, here are some condiments to avoid: ketchup, soy sauces, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, light salad dressings, agave nectar, and sweet relish.