Beans aren’t normally Paleo, so what’s the deal with vanilla beans?
Beans vs. Legumes
When we say beans aren’t Paleo, we’re usually referring to legumes, but vanilla beans aren’t legumes. They’re the beans that develop after a flower on the vanilla plant has been pollinated. Most people are familiar with using vanilla extract in their baking, but you can also buy vanilla beans still intact in their pods. Adding vanilla bean to your Paleo baked goods, or even a smoothie, can add significant flavor and may even have some health benefits.
The Health Benefits
Because vanillin (the compound used to make vanilla extract) is most often used, studies tend to focus on it’s effects. It has been shown in some studies to have possible effects against cancer and heart disease, but usually only in extremely high doses. At the very least, it’s not harmful, and using natural means to make your food more delicious is always a good thing.
Mark Sisson advocates using vanilla as part of a healthy diet.