Is Chamoy Bad for You?

Is Chamoy Bad for You?
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Chamoy may be the condiment of your life if you like tang taste. It goes well with everything, from meat to fresh fruits. It’s a fine addition to cocktails and confections to bring off the sour aftertaste. You can be tempted to use it every day. But the question is: Is chamoy bad for you?

Chamoy is a tolerable flavoring if you use it moderately. It certainly has synthetic ingredients, which can cause health issues if you eat it uncontrollably. But also, if homemade, it can become micronutrient rich. 

Chamoy is a sought-after, commonly used dressing. It binds the unique flavors of Latin America to form irreplaceable addition to almost every meal. If you wish to know more about its unusual ingredient combination, nutrition, and possible health threats, scroll down to discover.

Is Chamoy Good for You?

Store-bought chamoy is not satisfactory for you at all. It’s rich in additives but poor in nutrients. On the other note, if you make chamoy at home, it doesn’t have to have any unhealthy ingredients.

It won’t cause you any danger if portioned, but neither will it provide you outstanding benefits. As it pairs well with fresh fruit, it can be a great psychological trick to eat more of it. Adding a tangy taste to it will elevate consuming fruit to another level, even if you don’t fancy it.

What Is Chamoy Made Of?

Chamoy has an atypical list of ingredients. You can change it, modify it to your own taste, and play with its flavor to find the winner blend. These are the base components of the sauce:

  • Dried fruits
  • Sugar
  • Chili peppers
  • Hibiscus flowers
  • Vinegar
  • Lime 

When making chamoy at home, the first step is to soak dried fruits in brine or/and vinegar. Brine is a solution of high concentrations of salt in water. The saline solution will extract both sugars and acids from fruits.

Cooks add vinegar to fruit to make them sour. Also, acetic acid from the vinegar will keep pickled fruits preserved. And on a more important note, acid kills bacteria which can cause botulism. [1]

Adding lime will give that zesty flavor to the chamoy. Lime is a citric acid used for preserving, such as vinegar.

You won’t actually use fruits but their juices, extracted by acids. If you like a denser structure of chamoy, you can blend some fruits in.

Chili peppers give the heat this sauce needs. You can add any chilis you like, whether you prefer fiery or just a tad piquant. Mexican Chile de árbol peppers are among the favorites for spicing things up.

Dried apricots and plums are inevitable as they give a signature taste to chamoy. Sweet and sour at the same time, dried apricots are the best base for this sauce. Raisins, dried mangos, or even apples are also good choices. Try a few combinations, and find your favorite one.

Another intriguing ingredient is the hibiscus flower. Actually, you don’t need a flower but a calyx. Choose calyces that are succulent and scarlet, rosehips alike. You’ll need them dried, too.


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What Are Chamoy’s Nutritional Facts?

One tablespoon of chamoy (about 20 grams) has 7,2 calories. [2] There are little to no fats and proteins whatsoever. Those few calories come from carbs.

1,2 grams of the total amount of carbs (1,7 grams) are sugars. Those sugars come from dried fruit or plain sugar if added. Be aware that there are always added sugars in store-bought chamoy.

Chamoy has 419 milligrams of sodium per spoon. It’s about 1/5 of the sodium you need per whole day of eating. That’s a lot, as AHA recommends 2,300 milligrams of sodium as the maximum a healthy person should take. [3]

Chamoy has small amounts of vitamins A and C. It won’t boost your immunity for sure, but it’s a good choice for adding a little edge to everyday food. If you can, always choose homemade chamoy with high-quality ingredients and no artificial additives. You will lift the dose of micronutrients as you can add more real fruit to it. 

Dried fruits are, in fact, very nutritional. [4] They contain a good deal of fiber and micronutrients. 3-5 pieces of dried apricots or prunes have more than 20% of daily needs for iron, copper, potassium, and manganese. [5]

Furthermore, dried fruits contain more than 20% of the daily needs for folate, as well. Your body needs folate for DNA reproduction, growing cells, and protein production. [6] It’s an essential vitamin to add to your diet, as its deficiency causes anemia.

What Does Chamoy Do to Your Body?

Chamoy is a condiment, so you won’t eat it much in the first place. One or two tablespoons are great for adding a little bit of spiciness. That is an inappreciable amount, but let’s see what can happen if you eat it too much or too often.

Do you know those bright and fresh color-looking dried apricots on the shelves? That color doesn’t come naturally, no matter how ripe the apricots were. It actually comes from sulfites.

Sulfur dioxide is the chemical in question used for preservation. It can provoke asthma, abdominal convulsions, and skin rashes. [7] Unfortunately, it is highly present in the food industry so try to avoid it as much as you can. 

Rather buy not-so-appealing brownish-colored dried apricots. They don’t have the vibrant orange color you link with garden-fresh apricots, but that’s natural.

Pro tip: If you’re using sulfate-treated apricots, soak them in water before preparing them. It won’t extract all chemicals, though, but a part. If you’re looking for a more efficient solution, add lemon juice to the water. Citric acid will push out Sulfur dioxide. Yes, it can change the flavor of the fruit, but you’ll add lime to chamoy anyway.

Store-bought chamoy contains RED 40. [8] It is synthetic red color used for making products more eye-catching. FAO and WHO concur that it isn’t harmful, but it isn’t healthy either.

Some research showed that it causes allergic reactions and migraines. [9] Plus, experiments on mice showed possible immune system tumor development. Those are enough reasons to avoid using it in food, aren’t they? 

How Spicy Is Chamoy?

Chamoy is a taste rhapsody in a bottle. It is everything: sugary, sour, briny, and bitter. It can elevate any taste you want, whether the sweetness of melon or rich meat marinade.

The good thing is you can adapt the condiment as you wish. Just add chili peppers as spicy as you like them. You can choose from the hottest to mildest ones. Tip: Avoid using smokey-taste chilies as they threaten to take over the taste.

You can also skip adding vinegar and only use lime. If you want something more tender, add orange juice instead. It’s still citric acid but less tart.

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