Everybody likes a little sugar in their diet. While it makes any food taste better, the American Heart Association’s guidelines recommend no more than 100-150 calories taken from sugar per day.
The reason for the recommendation is that every organ in your body is affected in some way by sugar, whether positively or negatively. In the worst cases, excess amounts of sugar can lead to the development of diseases such as obesity, heart disease, tooth decay and even cancer in the most extreme scenarios.
Instead of consuming refined sugar, you could opt for natural sweeteners instead. There are many, healthier options that will both satisfy your need for sweet foods and maintain your health at the same time.
Therefore, here are 3 healthy, natural alternatives to refined sugar.
Gur, more commonly known as jaggery, is one of the best options that you can choose instead of refined sugar. It is made by processing the sugar cane, and is traditional to India.
First of all, jaggery maintains the temperature of the body. Another thing that it does is to activate the enzymes, aiding the digestion process and preventing constipation as a result. It also enhances your immune system, treating and preventing the flu and common cold. It regulates the blood pressure, cleanses the liver and the blood and ameliorates headaches.
People suffering from anemia symptoms will benefit from consuming jaggery because it is rich in iron.
- Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar, popularly known as coco sugar, coconut blossom sugar, and coconut palm sugar, is produced by cutting the flowers from the coconut palm. It has been used as a natural alternative to sugar in Asia for generations.
Coconut sugar will satiate your need for sweet foods due to its sweet, caramel taste. It contains fructose, glucose, and sucrose, and has a measly 16 calories for every teaspoon consumed.
Coconut sugar is also a good source of Vitamin C and potassium. Other essential substances that you can find in this natural sugar substitute are phosphorus, calcium, zinc, and iron.
It can be consumed in liquid, blocks or granule form. Use it with precaution, though, since it contains sugar as well. Still, it is a much healthier alternative as compared to refined sugar.
- Yacon sugar
The yacon plant, native to the Andes in South America, is another healthy alternative to refined sugar. It is produced out of the root of the yacon plants. The juices are removed from the roots, then put through a manufacturing process that consists of filtering and evaporating said juices.
Due to its prebiotic qualities, yacon enhances the rate at which the body absorbs essential vitamins and calcium, aiding the digestion process at the same time.
It can be used in a variety of recipes, such as desserts, sauces, dressings and pastry goods.
As you can see, excess sugar can have many negative effects on your body. Fortunately, there are many natural sugar substitutes that you can use to avoid the side effects of refined sugar.