Cutting down your refined sugar intake is tough, but seeing how harmful it is, the effort is worth it. It also puts people on edge about reducing artificial sweeteners in their food. What about the flavor? Will food be bland for the goodness of our health?
The Most Healthy Natural Sweeteners for your Health
Good thing, that there are healthy natural sweeteners, low in calories and fructose, and they taste very sweet. These are better than refined sugar as they contain vitamins, minerals, and enzymes but should still be taken in moderation.
Here are the most healthy natural sweeteners for your health.
Raw honey is one of the oldest natural sweeteners and is sweeter than sugar. Depending on the plant source, it can have different flavors, ranging from dark and strong to light and mild.
Raw honey contains enzymes, minerals, and vitamins, so make sure to look for “raw” on the label as the pasteurization process kills most of the good properties in the honey.
Local honey is also if you are looking to build your immunity to allergens as you are introducing your body to bee pollen and local bees.
Coconut sugar is also known as coconut palm sugar, coco sap sugar, or coconut crystals. It is made from sweet nectar taken from the flower buds of the coconut palm. The coconut nectar is boiled until all the water evaporates. What is left is caramelized nectar which is then dried and ground into fine granules.
Aside from being one of the most healthy natural sweeteners, coconut sugar is a source of potassium, iron, and vitamins. It also has a lower glycemic index and provides stable glucose in the blood.
Blackstrap molasses is derived from sugar cane or sugar beet and is made by blending the extracted juices, creating one of the most nutritious natural sweeteners. The longer it is left to boil, the less sweet and healthier it is.
It is an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Note that it has a very distinct taste, so it is best to use it when a recipe calls for it.
Stevia can be found in South America and is a natural sweetener used for hundreds of years. It promotes healthy blood sugar levels and prompts weight loss.
Stevioside can be found in the leaves and makes it 200 times sweeter than sugar. It comes in liquid drops, packets, dissolvable tablets, and baking blends. It contains no calories and carbohydrates.
Stevia is also included in the list of recommended sugar substitutes for diabetics by the American Diabetes Association. Before purchasing, read labels since some stevia products contain erythritol, which can trigger indigestion.
Maple Syrup is native to North America and comes in grades A and B. The maple syrup process is time-consuming even though it’s only 4 steps. To make maple syrup, you need to drill a hole in the tree, use a bucket to catch the sap, boil to evaporate the water, and filter any sediment.
It is one of the best natural sugar substitutes as it is an excellent source of manganese, calcium, potassium, and zinc. It is also rich in antioxidants and helps neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage.
Darker, grade B maple serums are healthier with more beneficial antioxidants.
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is brown rice fermented with enzymes to break down its starch and heated until it reaches a syrup consistency. The result is a thick, amber-colored, sweet syrup that can easily replace other unhealthy sweeteners.
The sugar is broken down into easily digestible properties during the fermentation process. This is an important pass of making brown rice syrup as some are fermented with barley enzymes that contain gluten.
When buying, check the label and make sure it is gluten-free.