It takes special effort on your part to eat right. Make sure you are doing the best that you can to put the best foods on the table for you to eat. Some people crave salty foods, and others crave sweets. Here is some good news! You can sweeten your foods naturally. You can stay healthy by using the best sweeteners.
Here are some naturally sweet alternatives to add some sweetness to your life.
The Best Natural Alternatives
Medjool dates are full of healthy nutrients like potassium. Potassium can help lower your blood pressure and lower the (lousy) LDL cholesterol in your body.
Berries may be the most natural way to bring sweetness to your life. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries all would make a great addition to your morning bowl of cereal. They are full of antioxidants as well.
Ripe bananas are sweetness at its peak! Fresh, dried, and just plain bananas are all a great substitute for refined sugars. They are full of nutritious potassium, and vitamin A. They are rich in fiber and not that high in calories.
Yacon syrup is extracted from the yacon plant. Scientifically known as Smallanthus sonchifolius. This unique sweetener is harvested from the root of the yacon plant, a native plant from the Andes mountains of South America.
It is processed into a thick syrup like molasses. It may be helpful in combating constipation, as well. Use it with moderation, as it can cause digestive problems if used in high doses.
One study found that yacon syrup can make you feel full so you will want to eat less. Research also shows it reduces glycemic index, body weight, and the risk of colon cancer.
Stay Healthy by Using the Best Sweeteners
Stevia is a herb that grows in South America. For centuries it has been used as a sweet treat and health remedy. Two compounds in stevia, stevioside, and rebaudioside, are both hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, ounce for ounce.
Stevia is very sweet but has no calories. One study shows that having stevia before a meal reduced blood glucose and insulin levels. So why not try some in a cup of tea before you eat?
I rate it as a great alternative to sugar in your life.
Erythritol is also another low-calorie sugar alcohol sweetener, having six percent of the calories of an equal amount of sugar, and seventy percent of its sweetness. It does not spike blood sugar levels. It tastes very much like sugar except for causing digestive issues if you consume too much at one sitting. Nevertheless, it does not harm the body.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol tasting similar to sugar. It appears to have some benefits for dental health, by reducing the risk of dental decay. It doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. As with other sugar alcohols it can cause digestive side effects at high doses. It is highly toxic to dogs, so dog owners, keep it out of your dog’s reach. Xylitol improved bone density in a study on rats.
Both erythritol and xylitol pass right through the body and are not harmful.
Maple syrup is a thick, sugary liquid made by cooking down the sap of maple trees.
Researchers found that maple syrup is full of pretty healthy nutrients. It contains minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and manganese. Actually, 100 grams of pure maple syrup has 165% RDV for manganese.
Maple syrup is high in antioxidants as well. It contains more antioxidants than honey! The darker the color of maple syrup the more antioxidants it has.
Eighty-five percent of the annual production of maple syrup comes from Canada.
In spite of its benefits, maple syrup is still high in sugar, Use it in moderation.
Monk Fruit Sweetener
People extract monk fruit sweetener from monk fruit. This small round fruit grows in Southeast Asia. It has zero calories and is 100-250 times sweeter than sugar.
When it comes to sweetening your food naturally, honey may be the first one that comes to your mind. Bees produce the thick golden liquid called honey. It contains trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and an abundance of beneficial antioxidants.
While honey has many health benefits, it is still sugar and you want to consume it with moderation.
Coconut sugar is extracted from the sap of the coconut palm and contains the same number of calories as sugar. Consume coconut sugar in moderation.
Molasses is a sweet, brown syrup made from boiling down sugar cane or sugar beet juice. It is high in iron, potassium, and calcium content, which may have some benefit on the body. It is still a form of sugar and should be limited in its consumption.
These sweeteners all contain smaller amounts of fructose and a small amount of nutrients, but to your liver there will not be much difference. Healthy people can eat the above in small quantities without harm.
Remember they are still empty calories that may cause tooth decay.
Sugar Alternatives to Avoid
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup, made from corn syrup, is commonly used in making processed foods and soft drinks. It is very high in fructose. This can increase your risk of weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases like cancer.
One study found it supported tumor growth in mice. Another study suggested it could accelerate the progress of breast cancer.
Many times sauces, salad dressings, and condiments contain high fructose corn syrup. It can be harmful to the body and should be avoided.
Agave nectar comes from the agave plant. Sold as a healthy alternative to sugar, it consists of eighty-five percent fructose. This is much higher than regular sugar. High amounts of fructose are strongly associated with obesity and other diseases.
It is probably one of the unhealthiest sweeteners you can buy today. Agave nectar is not a healthy alternative to sugar and should be avoided.
Stay healthy by using the best sweeteners. Eating too much sugar has been linked to obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Of the processed sweeteners, stevia is probably the healthiest option, as well as xylitol, erythritol, and yacon syrup.
Natural sugars like maple syrup, molasses, and honey are less harmful than regular sugar. They do have some health benefits. Remember to use them sparingly. Moderation is the key.
Avoid high fructose corn syrup and agave nectar.
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I would love to hear from you. What experience do you have with healthy natural sweeteners?
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a
physician or other healthcare professional. No content on this site should be substituted for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner. The information contained here is for informational purposes only. It is from my research and personal experience.