Healthy Condiments for Grilling

Articles
May 23, 2013

Healthy Condiments for Grilling

Memorial Day is just days away, find out what the top five condiments are for grilling and their health benefits.

Sweet or savory, hot or mild, relish is nothing more than some chopped and preserved fruits and vegetables, depending on the variety; and therefore contains all of the health benefits of the produce it contains. In the US, the most common relishes are made from pickled cucumbers (pickle relishes). Hamburger relish is pickle relish in a ketchup type base, and hotdog relish is pickle relish in a mustard type base. Choosing relishes can get tricky and you definitely need to read labels as many relishes contain added sugars.

Ketchup is one of those flavors most Americans are familiar with; it’s sweet-and-tangy, typically made from tomatoes, vinegar, a sweetener, and various spices (e.g. onions, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, and celery). Ketchup is a source of the famous antioxidant, lycopene, which may help prevent some cancers. Lycopene is found in cooked tomato products and a few other fruits and vegetables. Ketchup’s health benefits, may be offset by the salt and sugar content – so SupermarketGuru advises you to read labels! Do note that many brands have switched their sweeteners.

Pickles are just cucumbers pickled in brine and are a wonderful source of good bacteria for the digestive system (if purchased in the refrigerated section). Cucumbers provide fabulous phytonutrients including cucurbitacins, lignans, and flavonoids - providing valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and some studies have even demonstrated anti-cancer benefits. Some commercially available do not possess the probiotics other pickles do – head to the refrigerated section and read labels to be sure.

Mustard is one of those condiments that people either love or hate. If you love it, you’re in luck because recent studies on a specific compound in mustard seeds found it can have anti-cancer effects particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. Mustard seeds are also an excellent source of anti-inflammatory selenium, as well as magnesium, which has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and possibly even help with sleep. 

Sauerkraut is another tangy condiment that was introduced to the United States by German settlers; it has played a role for all of us whether it be on a hot dog or consumed for its beneficial effect on the digestive system. Cabbage, a cruciferous vegetable, is the main ingredient in sauerkraut and is high in vitamins A and C as well as other phytonutrient antioxidants. Studies have demonstrated cruciferous vegetables can help lower cholesterol levels.

Get grilling and be healthy and safe!