Aioli is a condiment that is generally used in north-west Mediterranean cuisine. It’s a creamy, garlicky dip similar to but better than mayonnaise. The tanginess of the garlic offsets the flavoru of fried and spicy foods better than mayo.
The word ‘aioli’ means garlic and oil; ‘ail’ means garlic in French, and ‘oli’ means oil in Italian. Traditionally, the condiment was made by emulsifying garlic, salt and olive oil together. Modern day recipes include other ingredients like eggs, lemon juice, mustard, etc.
Generally consumed as a dip with boiled vegetables, eggs, sandwiches, batter-fried fish, tempura and French fries, it’s considered an unhealthy condiment if consumed frequently and in large amounts.
Aioli: Nutritional Facts
A 100 gram serving of the condiment has the following nutritional profile (as provided by the USDA):
Calories: 769 kcal
Total fat: 84.6 grams
Cholesterol: 77 mg
Protein: 0 gram
Carbohydrates: 0 gram
Fibre: 0 gram
Iron: 0 gram
Calcium: 0 gram.
From the above mentioned nutritional profile, we can see that the condiment is not particularly rich in proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It has a significant amount of fat, which although healthy, may be detrimental if not consumed in moderation.
Is Aioli Healthy?
Aioli is usually considered unhealthy, as it’s extremely high in fat, cholesterol and calories. It has no other macro nutrients and has very few vitamins and minerals. However, its health quotient can be enhanced by adding nutrient-dense ingredients like basil, lemon juice, dill, jalapenos, etc.
The health quotient of the condiment is also dependent on the volume of consumption. It would be unwise to include large amounts of it in every meal, but you may have it with certain healthy foods, like salads, grilled fish or chicken, whole grain sandwiches and othersm to elevate the flavour profile of the dish.
Here we shall discuss some health benefits of this yummy condiment:
1) Good for Immune System
Aioli generally contains garlic, which is rich in sulphur and a compound called allicin. Allicin is a bioactive molecule that fights against infections and supports the body’s natural defences.
Egg yolks are also used in the condiment. They contain compounds called sulphated glycopeptides that can boost the production of immune cells that protect against infections. It also contains small amounts of vitamin A, E and zinc, which are natural immunity boosters.
2) Rich in Healthy Fats
If aioli is prepared with healthy oils like olive oil, it can be a source of good fats, including monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
Research has shown that these healthy fats can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke, lower harmful cholesterol levels, prevent hypertension and more.
3) May Improve Eyesight
The constituents in aioli contain a host of nutrients that can improve eye health. For example, egg yolks contain lutein, zinc and zeaxanthin, which are known to prevent age-related macular degeneration.
Garlic contains sulphur and quercetin, nutrients that help prevent cataracts. Extra virgin olive oil is also a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that especially boosts eye health.
4) Improves Brain Health
Egg yolks in aioli include a substance called choline, which is crucial for promoting brain function. It helps the body create a neurotransmitter, which plays a key part in regulating mood, memory and cognitive power.
Choline is also crucial for the development of cell membranes and controlling muscular activities. Thus, aioli may play a role in improving brain health too.
5) Reverses Skin Ageing
Research suggests that olive oil contains healthy lipids that are beneficial for enhancing skin.
It’s no secret that garlic possesses anti-fungal, anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory qualities, which provide skin-smoothening benefits. The retinol found in egg yolks is beneficial for receptor cells in skin.
How to Include Aioli In Your Diet?
Traditional aioli is made by mashing garlic and slowly emulsifying it with egg yolks and olive oil. Once a creamy, frothy consistency is reached, you can add other flavour enhancers like salt, pepper, mixed herbs, lemon juice, dijon mustard, etc. The possibilities are endless, and you can explore the flavour profile by trying and testing various combinations.
The condiment should be refrigerated immediately after preparation and consumed within seven days, as it contains raw eggs. Ensure that it’s stored in the refrigerator. If it’s left at room temperature for more than four to six hours, it must be discarded.
Pair the condiment with raw, crunchy vegetables like cucumber, carrot, radish or celery. You may serve it with blanched green vegetables, like beans or asparagus, or plate it with boiled eggs, spicy sausage or sliced ham. It’s often used as a replacement for mayonnaise in burgers and sandwiches.
As aioli is high in calories and cholesterol, it cannot be considered a healthy condiment. Furthermore, it lacks sufficient nutrients and minerals. However, there is potential for experimentation by adding nutritional components that can boost its nutritional value.
The one benefit aioli offers is that it is customisable according to your choice, as the recipe is simple and calls for common items. Preparing aioli at home is a healthier and tastier option compared to commercially available alternatives.
Poll : Do you like aioli?