The Ingredients

Inside a Sola Bar are ingredients that support a healthy diet and lifestyle, besides being so flavorfully savory and satisfying. Nature’s bounty is also a medicine chest containing powerful protective and healing properties in the form of nutritional foods. While there is no evidence that the ingredients perform these specific functions in our bar, we wanted to share some fun facts and legends about the goodness you’ll find in a Sola Bar.


Peanuts, rich in essential nutrients like Vitamins B and E, and dietary fiber are high in protein and fatty acids. Those fatty acids are the same as those found in olive oil, which we’ve come to discover contribute so much to a healthy heart.


A delivery system for high levels of dietary fiber, minerals, iron, and zinc, to name a few, sunflower seeds are also high in protein. Its seeds contain phytosterols, which are believed to contribute toward lowering blood cholesterol.


Flaxseeds have a reputation for three health benefits: Omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans, and fiber. Those grocery egg cartons that say “Omega-3 enriched” contain eggs with flax seed added to their chicken feed. Flaxseed has many times more lignans than any other plant food. Researchers believe that lignans, also found in sesame seeds, help to lower cholesterol and prevent high blood pressure. These unique fibers can also protect the liver from oxidative damage—the slow accumulation of damage to the body that contributes to the aging process.


Like flaxseed, sesame seed is a good source of lignans. They are also good sources of minerals like copper and magnesium that help prevent oxidative damage and improve respiratory health. Sesame seeds also contain phytosterols.


A sweet, aromatic licorice taste, anise seed is high in iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc, and potassium and copper—minerals essential in turning food into energy. The seeds contain compounds known for their antioxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties. B-complex vitamins in the anise seed are needed for overall health. Its high levels of riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin and thiamin are good for the brain, helping to normalize their neuro-chemicals. If that isn’t enough, anise seed also improves digestion.


Garlic is assigned elite status as the potential cure-all for any ailment, no matter how minor or significant. It’s rich in a powerful sulfur compound called allicin. It can protect the heart by lowering blood triglycerides and total cholesterol. And aside from being an excellent source of many vitamins, compounds present in garlic are credited with being effective anti-inflammatory, antibacterial agents, and cancer prevention aids.


Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known to man. Its tree bark has been used in traditional medicine all over the world for a long time. Several studies link cinnamon with improved blood sugar levels apparently because of its unique ability to mimic insulin in the body. Cinnamon is an excellent source of fiber and manganese, and a good source of calcium. But that’s not all. This slightly sweet, aromatic spice is believed to have anti-clotting properties that may prevent unwanted blood clumping and gives some relief from the flu.


The spicy heat from the jalapeno pepper is irresistible. The heat not only gives this little curved green Mexican staple its character, but its potential health-promoting abilities. The compound capsaicin in jalapeno may help with digestion by increasing digestive fluids in the stomach and is believed to have anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, and pain-relieving properties. As an antioxidant, capsaicin protects the body from free radicals—molecules in the body responsible for stress and disease.


Chipotle peppers are the dried and smoked version of the jalapeno pepper. All the health and nutritional benefits of its non-dried, non-smoked brother, the jalapeno, can also be attributed to the chipotle.


Onions are a wonderful food, especially in savory products like the Sola Bar, where they add flavor without adding salt and sugar. They’re low in calories and sodium, have no fat or cholesterol, contain fiber, and are an excellent source of vitamin C. Their high levels of antioxidants and flavonoids are good for the heart, also helping to reduce inflammation, cancer risk. Egyptians worshiped them, Roman gladiators firmed up their muscles with onion rubdowns, and people in the Middle Ages revered the onion so much they paid rent with them and gave them as gifts.


The musky and peppery herb sage makes the perfect addition to a savory bar. It’s an essential ingredient in European cuisine for use in casseroles, soups, and stuffing. It’s considered an essential herb along with rosemary and thyme (Does the tune Scarborough Fair come to mind?). Its history is just as much culinary as medicinal. It’s been used as a natural antiseptic, a preservative, and even as a killer of bacteria in meat. Sage is often distilled down to make an essential oil, where rubbed into the skin, relieves muscle aches and rheumatism, and even to enhance mental clarity.


This “dew of the sea” is another herb indigenous to the Mediterranean. The needlelike rosemary leaves are a reminder of Christmas, which makes sense because it’s a pine tree. It has a sharp flavor, is very aromatic, and smells—of course— like pine. Rosemary is used a lot in tomato sauces, sprinkled on breads, pizzas, and to spice up lamb and pork. Rosemary is another herb believed to have many medicinal qualities. It’s a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. Possible health benefits are related to improved digestion, increased circulation, and stimulation of the immune system. It is also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.


Cilantro is such a fresh-smelling, pungent, and flavorful herb. It’s often used as a garnish, but it’s so versatile in many foods. A favorite in the making of guacamole, cilantro is also useful in sauces, Mexican and other Latin American foods, and in Southeast Asian, Chinese and Indian cuisine. It makes a great companion to chiles, garlic, onions and other herbs and spices. Cilantro is a good source of minerals: potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It can help regulate the heart rate and blood pressure and contains iron, which is essential for red blood cell production. The dried leaves of cilantro, called coriander, and the stem tips are also rich in numerous antioxidant polyphenolic flavonoids.


Thyme is a flavor enhancer and has a fragrant aroma. It’s often used as a stock for soups and stews, it’s great for pasta sauces, to top off fish, and to season beans. And it’s an excellent source of vitamin C and A, iron, manganese, copper and fiber. Thyme has been used for centuries to ease respiratory problems like coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. The oils in thyme are considered important essential oils that have antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Egyptians used it as an embalming agent and in ancient Greece it was burned as incense in temples.


It’s the root of this flowering plant that’s used in food dishes. It’s a fibrous root that’s hot and spicy. Asians and East Indians use ginger widely in cooking. It perks up any dish. You can’t miss its strong taste. It’s also delicious as a refreshing drink, sliced up and pickled for use as a topping on sushi, sweetened, and dried as a snack. In Western countries, it’s been traditionally used mainly in beverages (Ginger Ale), cookies (gingerbread and ginger snaps). Some potential health benefits associated with ginger include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, pain relief from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and alleviation of nausea or gastrointestinal distress.


The warm, spicy, sweet flavor of nutmeg makes it a festive holiday spice. Ground up and sprinkled on top of a glass of egg nog … yum. In most cultures, it’s used in powdered form. In Indonesia it’s mainly in soups. In the Middle East you’ll find it in savory dishes. In India, it’s used in both sweet and savory dishes. Europeans like to use it in potato dishes, soups, sauces, baked goods and rice pudding. and the Italians in tortellini and meatloaf. Nutmeg is a seed from the tropical fruit of an evergreen tree indigenous to the appropriately named Spice Islands. In folk medicine, nutmeg has been used to treat gastric ailments and rheumatism, as a hypnotic (sleep inducer), and aphrodisiac.


A healthy gluten-free sugar alternative used lightly in the Sola Bar, tapioca syrup comes from the natural fermentation of the cassava tuber, also known as a yucca root. This process is what creates its sweet syrup. The light, sweet, golden tapioca syrup has a neutral flavor that doesn’t affect the other luscious flavors that make up the Sola Bar. Tapioca was originally used in Brazil by the natives when the Portuguese arrived there. It’s a staple in the diets of South Americans and Africans.


Black pepper is the cooked and dried unripe fruit that’s grown on a vine. Its fruit, after processing, is the little dried ball known as the peppercorn. It’s native to south India, but currently Vietnam holds the title for being the largest producer and exporter of pepper. Dried and ground, pepper has been used for flavoring and as a traditional medicine since the early days of man. Black pepper is produced from the green “fruit” or berries of the pepper plant, called “drupes.” The drupes are lightly cooked in hot water and then dried. The drupes darken and shrink around the seeds into wrinkled black layers. When they’re dried they are officially “black peppercorns.” Black pepper is known for improving digestion. Other benefits come from the oil extracted from it, which is used in many medicinal and beauty products. Black pepper oil is also used as a massage oil in holistic Indian healing, called ayurvedic medicine.


The difference between sea salt and iodized table salt is that sea salt is obtained naturally from the sea. It’s not processed, so many of the essential trace minerals your body needs are retained. That’s the argument of some for using sea salt over iodized salt. If you’re watching your sodium intake, one gram of sea salt contains about as much sodium as table salt, so enjoy it for its unique flavors. The somewhat stronger taste of sea salt may keep you from loading up on more of it.


Made from the seeds of the mustard plant, the taste of mustard ranges from sweet to spicy. It can be used whole, ground, cracked, mixed with other flavorings and spices, and ranges from bright yellow to dark brown. We all have our preferences (or none at all) on what color and texture we want on our sandwiches. Mustard is naturally paired with meats and cheeses, used in dressings and marinades. It’s one of the condiments of choice in India and is probably considered to be one of the most popular condiments in the world. Mustard was first used as a medicinal plant. In ancient Greece, Pythagoras used mustard to ease the pain of scorpion stings. Hippocrates used it in various medicines and poultices. Old remedies for tooth pain would call for mustard plasters.


Smoked paprika has a flavor that’s rich and complex. In the La Vera region of Spain, chilies are harvested and dried over wood fires for a deep, woodsy flavor that’s often found in paella dishes, Spain’s famous rice dish. In America it’s used in barbequed pork, kebobs. When you really want to surprise family or guests, sprinkle it on deviled eggs—it’s a big departure from the typical almost tasteless paprika found in grocery stores. Smoked paprika is also said to be rich in antioxidants.


The dried buds of a tree native to Indonesia, cloves add an exotic spiciness and aroma to many dishes, particularly those prepared throughout Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Flavor meats, curries, marinades and fruits with cloves, and add them to flavor hot beverages. This herb is an important element of spice blends used in baking—pumpkin pies an example of an American favorite. Just about every part of the plant that produces cloves can be used. The dried bud stems and leaves are used to make medicine and its oils also have well-known medicinal properties. Cloves are said to be good for calming an upset stomach, coughs, toothaches, mouth sores, and to freshen breath. There’s evidence that cloves date back to as early as the 1720s BCE. They became an important part of sea trade in the Middle Ages among sailors and merchants, Sinbad the Sailor is said to be among them.


Turmeric’s interior is outrageously bright orange. An ingredient found in soups, stews, cheeses, butters, Indian-style curries and so many more dishes served around the world, Turmeric isn’t just a versatile culinary spice, it’s a powerful medicinal herb found in pain and inflammation medications. Turmeric comes from the Curcuma Longa plant, native to India and Southeast Asia. The dried root is ground into a fine powder. It’s the powder that contains the active chemical compound curcumin, found in many health preparations. Turmeric’s healing properties are used to ease many ailments, including heartburn, arthritis, headaches, joint and stomach pain, bronchitis, and to fight the common cold.