What do you think of when you hear the words "essential oil?" For many, essential oils are synonymous with aromatherapy, but they can also be delicious flavor enhancers for food and drink.
Below, we'll explore safety advice for consuming essential oils as a senior. We'll also share some mouth-watering ideas for jazzing up everyday recipes with essential oils the next time you're cooking up a storm in your assisted living suite in Grand Villa, Grand Junction.
Most essential oils are unsuitable for consumption, but certain oils are safe to eat and drink in very small amounts. The FDA's list of food-safe essential oils can help you check whether it's safe to add a couple of drops of that delicious-smelling basil or lemon oil to your herbal tea or salad dressing.
However, there are several caveats to the FDA's recommendations. First, it's important to remember that essential oils can affect older adults and people with certain health conditions differently. For example, the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) warns that anise essential oil can prevent antidepressants from working effectively. Some people also experience adverse reactions to specific oils.
So, how can you ensure you're using essential oils safely? It's always wise to consult a professional, as this blog post is for general informational purposes only and can't offer medical advice. The Grand Villa health care team in Grand Junction can advise whether it's safe to add essential oils to your food and drink based on your age, health status and medications. Alternatively, you can consult your family doctor for guidance.
Understanding a few safety fundamentals can help seniors enjoy the benefits of using essential oils in food and drink without risking their health. First, purchasing your essential oils from a reputable store or online seller is vital. You should only use food-grade essential oils in cooking and beverages.
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy offers several essential oil safety tips:
Once you've got the OK from your health care provider, it's time to get creative in the kitchen. One of the simplest ways to enjoy the flavors of essential oils is to create an extract by dissolving a few drops in a mild-flavored edible oil such as olive oil. This no-cook trick is a straightforward way to add some extra punch to salad recipes, or you could try drizzling the extract over cooked fish or grilled veggies.
Many edible essential oils have intense flavors and aromas that can easily overpower a dish. Therefore, it's best to use them sparingly at first and add an extra drop or two until you get the balance you want.
The ACHS offers plenty of handy ideas for cooking with essential oils. The following options are readily available and a great way to get started with essential oils in food and drink.
Basil is a common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, but it's not always easy to find fresh, flavorful basil in Grand Junction during the colder months. However, you can still add some zing to any pasta or tomato-based recipe with a drizzle of basil-infused olive oil.
You can easily make your own basil oil by adding around 1 milliliter of the essential oil to a liter of olive oil. Alternatively, you can often find premade basil oil in large grocery stores or global food outlets.
Chamomile has a delicate, soothing flavor, and many people find it helps them sleep and improves digestion. Generally, it's safe to use in food in small quantities. Adding a few drops of chamomile essential oil to a cup of hot water and honey is a delicious alternative to regular chamomile tea bags.
Alternatively, you could consider adding chamomile essential oil to soft drinks during your evening meal to reduce the risk of indigestion. It can also make a tasty addition to desserts, such as yogurt and ice cream.
If you love warm flavors that remind you of the holidays, adding clove oil to recipes could be a good option. Clove oil works well in spiced foods and has natural antiseptic and preservative qualities. As with most essential oils, you should avoid consuming large quantities of clove oil at one sitting.
Clove oil can add a delicious depth of flavor to sweet foods, such as cakes and apple pie fillings. You can also combine it with cardamom oil and add it to milky tea to make comforting chai tea.
Ginger essential oil is a well-known digestive aid that can enhance the flavor of multiple savory or sweet recipes. It's a good option for flavoring Christmas cookies, cakes and bread, and you can also use it to pep up salad dressings and stir-fry sauces.