Is Adobo Healthy?
Is Adobo good for you? Keep reading to see a nutritionist's take on Adobo.
By Mariu Cabral NTP | @mariucabral
Is Adobo good for you, or is it something that we should consume in moderation? Keep reading to see a nutritionist's take on Adobo.
What is Adobo?
Adobo is a mix of herbs and spices that varies from region to region. In Latin American cuisine, Adobo typically consists of sea salt, garlic, oregano, black pepper, and turmeric for more flavor and color. To "adobar" simply means "to season," and Latinos found the perfect mix of herbs that give food excellent sabor, so our ancestors called it ADOBO.
Is Adobo really healthy?
The current controversy around Adobo and other seasonings is generally because of their salt content. It is true that high sodium consumption can raise blood pressure, and salt is a major contributor of dietary sodium. However, most of the salt/sodium consumed in the American diet does not come from the salt we use in our homemade foods. Instead, the major contributor to sodium comes from ultra-processed packaged products such as frozen meals, candy, or packaged snacks. Additionally, many spice blends that are widely available contain artificial dyes and fillers, such as tricalcium phosphate. The addition of other filler ingredients like tricalcium phosphate that add no nutritional value to our sazones allows companies to use fewer natural ingredients and reduce their production costs.
When salt is good for you
You don't have anything to worry about when you have Loisa's Adobo. Their Organic Adobo is made with unrefined sea salt, which supplies healthy amounts of sodium and other important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These other trace minerals act synergistically with sodium to create balance and avoid major sodium retention. For those who still need to monitor their salt intake, you can try Salt-Free Adobo or make your own at home.
What are the benefits of Adobo?
The benefits are in the ingredients. Let's break them down:
Salt is an essential nutrient. Most of us know that too much salt is associated with harmful health outcomes, but not enough salt is as well! When you consume sea salt, which is made by evaporating seawater, you're also consuming electrolyte minerals that contribute to our overall health, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and many other trace minerals. Sea salt is key for healthy muscles, heart, and kidney function. To reap the benefits of salt, avoid products made with regular table salt and swap them for products made with sea salt.
The benefits of turmeric are well-documented and for a reason! This powerful herb contains a substance called curcumin, which is the star of the show in terms of health benefits. The curcumin found in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and therefore aids with inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Turmeric also helps digestion, allergies, and even respiratory infections.
Garlic is such a staple in Latin cuisine. It gives foods an attractive smell and an even better taste and is packed with antioxidants. What you probably didn't know is that garlic contains antibacterial properties that help fight acute bacterial infections in our digestive tract. Researchers are starting to find more amazing health benefits of garlic, such as lowering bad cholesterol and having a role in preventing gastrointestinal cancer.
Black pepper is a humble spice that doesn't get enough recognition, but it is so important for our overall health! Black pepper is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals, making our cells healthier and helping our skin look youthful. Piperine, the main compound of black pepper, is known to aid cognition. Maybe the coolest thing about black pepper in Adobo is that it helps enhance the bioavailability (absorbability) of other compounds, such as curcumin in turmeric. Because Loisa's Adobo contains both turmeric and black pepper, the absorbability of turmeric increases by 2000%! Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb, and knowing that your body is absorbing it well by cooking delicious food is the ultimate form of self-care.
In addition to having potent phytonutrients and antioxidants, oregano is also well-known for its antibacterial properties, making our bodies resilient to acute bacterial infections that may affect the skin and gut. It is also antiviral, providing a significant boost to our immune system.
What can you cook with Adobo?
Absolutely everything! I add it to my beans, eggs, meats, and fried rice. The possibilities are endless! Adobo is super versatile, and because of all the health benefits, try experimenting with it and see where it takes you.
In short, this Latin cuisine staple is full of vitamins, electrolytes, antioxidants, and other remarkable properties that make adobo a must for those who want to keep the Latin flavors we all know and love while on their health and wellness journeys. By sticking to whole foods, the way our abuelas know best, and swapping products made with refined salt for products made with sea salt, the health benefits are unparalleled.
For ways to add more adobo to your life, check out the following recipes:
Mariu Cabral is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) specializing in gut health. She has an extensive background in helping women struggling with IBS, IBD, Reflux, and other gastrointestinal disorders using foundational support. As an immigrant from Venezuela, Mariu brings her cultural background and nutrition knowledge to empower other immigrants to enjoy their cultural foods without shame or guilt, recognizing the importance of culture and community for overall well-being.
Mariu is also the creator of 'The No Bloat Code,' a practical online course that teaches the ins and outs of gut health to support conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, and SIBO naturally."