You have a ton of house projects piling up at home. You’re overwhelmed at work. Your calendar is packed with tasks that need to be done by yesterday. So, naturally, to make room for all of these things, you stop going to the gym, skip your healthy lunch and put your social life on hold. Usually, when we’re stressed, self-care and the proper nutrition are the first things to go. However, that only makes things worse.
Chocolate and sugary foods are the first things that most of us reach for when we are stressed. However, do you know that refined sugar is one of the worst things to consume when it comes to your overall health? Even if you аvoid such guilty pleasures and try to eat what’s considered ‘healthy’, you should probably double-check your choices. Foods and snacks like fruit yogurts, cereals, nut butter, smoothies, dried fruit, and granola bars, are packed with big amounts of refined sugar.
Furthermore, there is sugar in foods that are not even sweet – you consume sugar when eating canned soup, tomato sauce, salad dressings, and even white refined bread. This makes it hard to make healthy choices even when you really want to. The food industry offers lots of processed foods filled with refined sugars that come under different names such as maltose, glucose, fructose corn syrup. But when you see words on the labels that end in – ‘ose’, know that they all mean refined sugar and you should avoid them if you want to limit your sugar intake.
White refined sugar has been gaining some bad reputation for a long time now. Practically, everyone says that it’s bad for your health. From your mum lecturing you about it, your doctor and your dentist to all the newspapers and Internet articles that you read. Basically, everything comes down to one thing, avoid or entirely eliminate white sugar from your diet.
One of the main drawbacks of regular sugar is that it doesn’t contain any nutrients but it’s just high in fructose which can disrupt the normal function of the liver. Sugar has a notorious reputation and it’s known for accelerating the skin’s aging process, adding to your waistline and has been linked with acne and breakouts. What’s more, it’s the main contributor to poor oral health and weight gain – both of which can lead to more serious health problems.
However, there are many sweeteners that are a healthy alternative to white refined sugar. Thanks to them, you don’t have to give up the sweet taste of your coffee, tea or your favourite sweets. One such sweetener is coconut palm sugar.
Coconut palm sugar is a tasty, unrefined type of sugar made from sap – the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant. It is not manufactured in laboratories like other sugar substitutes – it is harvested naturally from the coconut tree. A cut is made on the flower of the coconut palm and the liquid sap is collected into containers that are placed under heat until most of the water has evaporated. Due to this basic collection and the production process, this sugar retains a large number of nutrients among which potassium, zinc, magnesium, copper, calcium, specialized fiber, polyphenolic compounds, antioxidants, and vitamin C.
Coconut sugar is a popular alternative simply because it has a similar taste to sugar (it tastes more like brown sugar than coconut) as we know it and can therefore serve as a great substitute to cane sugar in different recipes, be that cakes, sweets or pies. It has a brown colour and almost an earthy flavour which is a wonderful thing whether you’re making things with chocolate or warm spices like cinnamon. You can use it in many baking recepies, sprinkle it on top of waffles or pancakes or even use it to brighten up savory dishes like tomato soup fish or chicken curry.
The main advantage of coconut sugar is its low glycemic index – a measure of how rapidly foods raise blood sugar levels. While refined sugar can make your blood sugar quickly increase, you won’t have this issue with this organic and delicious coconut sugar. It contains a lot less fructose and won’t put a lot of strain on your liver (as a comparison, table sugar has 50% fructose, while its coconut alternative contains only between 3 to 9% fructose and glucose). What this means is that when compared to other sugars, coconut palm sugar contributes to less fat deposition and less weight gain.
Other health benefits include the ability to manage diabetes, reinforce bones, boost immunity, lower the blood pressure and aid in weight loss. Another great thing about consuming this naturally sweet product is that it helps restore the good bacteria in your gut.
But be careful as due to its rising popularity and people starting to notice the benefits of using it, today more and more brands are starting to produce coconut palm sugar. There are many online suppliers and brick-and-mortar healthy stores where you can buy natural, healthy sugars and sugar substitutes as well. But before making the final buying decision, don’t forget to read what kind of ingredients the product contains. It’s important to mention that some brands may contain traces of refined sugar or other ingredients, so you want to avoid those. Read the label and make sure that the brand of your choice provides 100% organic coconut sugar.