We all know that a dollop of sauce (or three) can make all the difference to your food. And while you might think they’re unhealthy treats, the latest findings show that some condiments are good for your body. Here’s why…

1.    Guacamole

The avocados in guacamole have many benefits, despite their ‘fatty’ reputation (a myth, FYI – the fat is unsaturated and healthy). “They are high in potassium, which prevents water retention, and lutein, which benefits the eyes,” says women’s health expert Dr. Marilyn Glenville. “Avocados also lower cholesterol, due to a substance called beta-sitosterol.”

Description: Guacamole

2.    Ketchup

“Cooked tomatoes contain more of the antioxidant lycopene than raw ones,” says Dr. Glenville. “Research shows that a high level of lycopene in the bloodstream can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancers, including ovarian.” (Ketchup is high in added sugar, so look for reduced-sugar brands.)

3.    Pesto

“Olive oil and pine nuts make pesto a good source of healthy, unsaturated fat,” says Dr. Carina Norris, author of You Are What You Eat. “The basil provides rosmarinic acid – an antioxidant plant compound that protects your body’s cells from oxidative damage, a know cause of type 2 diabetes.”

Description: Pesto

4.    Tabasco

“The chilli peppers contain capsaicin – a chemical that boosts your metabolism and has a pain-killing effect,” says Dr. Norris.

Description: Tabasco

5.    Worcestershire sauce

“1 tbsp has fewer than 20 calories and give around 1.5mg of iron (depending on the brand) – about 10% of your recommended daily allowance,” says Dr. Norris. It is pretty high in salt, but fine if you have a fairly low-salt diet (don’t go over 6g per day).

Description: Worcestershire sauce

6.    asabi

“Wasabi is basically a root vegetable ground into a paste, so it contains the same plant compounds you find in leafy vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli. The compounds – called isothiocyanates – have anti-cancer benefits because they stop carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) from being activated, and help remove them from the body,” says Dr. Glenville.

Description: Wasabi

And 3 to go easy on

Caesar dressing

“This is usually made from Parmesan (which is high in fat), salt-rich anchovies, and may contain egg yolks and mayo, which up the fat content,” says dietician Azmina Govindji.

Sweet chilli sauce

“In order to make this sweet, a high amount of sugar is added. There’s not enough chilli in it to provide significant health benefits, so go for a non-sweet hot sauce instead,” says Dr. Norris.

Cheese sauce

“This sauce tends to be high in saturated fat, salt and calories,” says Govindji. “Make a healthier version using unsaturated spread, skimmed milk and a little grated extra-mature cheddar – you’ll get a strong flavour with less cheese (so less fat).”

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