By this point, everyone is aware of the dangers of eating refined sugar such as diabetes, liver damage and even mood imbalances. But you can still satisfy your sweet tooth without derailing your anti-inflammatory diet, weight loss goals and general health. Unlike white sugar, there are sweet alternatives from nature that won’t cause inflammation in your body, increase your chance of so many diseases or rack up your empty calorie quota.
These sweeteners are unrefined, simple and pure. Feed your body with these sweet alternatives to sugar and experience an even healthier sugar high.
This heavenly nectar from the maple tree is one of nature’s sweetest treats. An all-natural sweetener with a low Glycemic index, maple syrup won’t give you a nasty sugar crash. Taste isn’t only where maple syrup shines, it also has an impressive array of minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium and contains as much as 65 different antioxidants.
Although maple syrup and pancakes are a classic combination, sweeten up other recipes with this its antioxidant rich goodness such as roasted sweet potatoes, hot chocolate, energy balls, and even meats such as maple bacon and sausages.
While honey is arguably the most widely used alternative to sugar, its raw form truly makes it a sweet and healthy food. Raw honey is a potent healing food, being antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and an antihistamine. All of honey’s healing properties make it both a natural medicine cabinet and pantry staple with the added benefit of being full of youth preserving antioxidants.
Incorporate honey’s nourishing and healing versatility into your natural lifestyle and healthy eating habits. Use it as a mask for a clearer complexion, in a warming tonic to ease sicknesses, a sweet topping for any pastry, and a marinade for grilled foods.
Maple comes from trees and honey comes from bees, nature makes finding sweet alternatives to sugar in a variety of places. Agave, pronounced ‘ah-ga-ve, for instance is a cactus that gives an all-natural sweetener called agave syrup. This syrup or nectar is rich in calcium and low in calories. Although high in fructose and not as low in the Glycemic index as other alternative sweeteners, you don’t need to use too much agave in as it is naturally very sweet and a little goes a long way.
Drizzle agave anywhere you need a sweet kick such as your morning oatmeal, coffee, and cold drinks like ice tea and cocktails.
Molasses is a thick, dark, and viscous sweetener that’s a by-product from sugar production. A low fat source of energy, and unlike sugar, molasses contains an impressive amount of fiber, B Vitamins, and even contains mood boosting magnesium and bone building calcium. Like honey and maple syrup, molasses contains plenty of antioxidants as well.
Natural molasses can be found in muscovado sugar, an unrefined cane sugar that contains. It has a rich brown color, moist texture and toffee-like flavor you'll notice at first taste.
Incorporate these natural sweeteners into both sweet and savory dishes thanks to its quality of sweetness that has smoky caramel undertones. Try it in slow cooked bean stews, pies, and puddings.
Stevia may be intensely sweet in all the right ways, but believe it or not, this is not only an alternative to sugar, but a sweetener that can aid in weight loss, promote oral health, and give diabetics a healthy option to enjoy sweet treats thanks to its unique property of not affecting blood sugar levels.
Use Stevia anywhere you would sugar, just make sure to adjust accordingly as Stevia is much sweeter than sugar. For approximately every cup of sugar, you can replace it with 1 teaspoon of Stevia.
The ever versatile coconut tree gives us yet another coconut must-have ingredient: coconut sugar. Having one of the lowest Glycemic indexes you can find in a natural sweetener, coconut sugar is an easy switch from sugar, especially brown sugar, as it is similar in looks, taste, and consistency with the added benefit of having trace amounts of Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.
Use coconut sugar as you would with sugar. Unlike other coconut products, coconut sugar does not have a strong coconut taste and goes well with anything that needs a touch of sweetness such as coffee and baked goods.
With so many all-natural sweeteners and organic sugars available, refined white sugar doesn’t have much place in your healthy pantry. Choose any or all of these sweeteners to have on hand and know that while you have your sweet indulgences, your good health doesn’t have to take a back seat.
All-natural sugars and sweeteners are available at select Healthy Options stores.
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