I'm asked all the time what sweeteners I recommend. There are lots of sweeteners on the market but most of them are terrible for the body. Here are my personal top 5 picks for best natural healthy sweeteners.
Stevia - Stevia is my sweetener of choice because it does not cause the pancreas to create insulin. And there is no other sweetener on the market that does not create an insulin reaction in the body. Stevia has been used for thousands of years and it's extremely safe. And I know people who have been using Stevia for over 40 years and they are super healthy. And new stevia's on the market are really nice... without the bitterness that old stevia had many years ago. Stevia has virtually no calories, no carbs, and does not add anything to the body other than sweetness... Great. And it takes very little stevia to sweeten anything especially coffee and tea. And stevia also helps to balance the body and creates equilibrium in all the organs of the body. Every supermarket carries stevia now... and you can also find organic stevia on Amazon and eBay.
Mesquite Powder - I love mesquite powder for cooking and baking... wonderful. Mesquite Pods are roasted and ground into a fine powder that is sweet and a great substitute for sugar. Native Americans used mesquite pods as a very important food source. The Apache, Cahuilla, Pima, Yuma, Maricopa, Hopi, and Mohave tribes who lived near desert areas all used mesquite for food. Mesquite powder has a nice nutty flavor and works well as a substitute for brown sugar. If a recipe calls for 1cup of brown sugar just add one cup of mesquite powder instead and it works great.
Mesquite powder has little to no true fat and cholesterol. Mesquite powder contains fatty acids – omega 3 oils that help with cardiovascular health, strokes, and cancer. Mesquite powder also contains Zinc for boosting your immune system, lysine which is a great protein not found in other plant sources... and Mesquite contains up to 30 percent protein. Also contains calcium for strong bones, potassium for water regulation and lowering blood pressure, magnesium for enzyme production, and copper and iron for anemia. Normally adding other types of flour to mesquite flour to make nutty flavored cakes, cookies, crackers, pie crusts, bread, and pancakes. Mesquite products can also be used to make jams, jellies, and wine... and the powder also works well in smoothies, yogurt, and in energy bars. Mesquite powder also works great in coffee, tea, and other sweet beverages. You can find mesquite powder on Amazon and eBay and other places on-line.
Palm Sugar - Palm sugar would be my next choice. There are particular palm trees that grow in Asia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and other tropical places that produce palm trees that flower. And those flowers stems are opened allowing the sap to flow... similar to tapping maple syrup trees.
Then the sap is boiled down and made into Palm Sugar.... which has many advantages over our refined cane sugar... with a taste like brown sugar with a little more caramel flavor. In India, they call Palm Sugar "Jaggery", and it's sold in small mounds of dark brown looking sugar.
Palm Sugar comes from many different palm trees including sago trees, palmyra palm, ceylon sugar palm, aren palm, wild date palm, nypa palm, and even coconut trees. Most of Palm Sugar comes from other types of palm trees... even though they market much of much of it as coconut sugar.
Palm Sugar has a very low glycemic index (under 30 compared to over 67 with regular cane sugar). That means Palm Sugar is converted into glucose very slowly by the liver... making it great for anyone suffering from high glucose.
Palm Sugar contains lots of nutrients such as iron for anemia, magnesium for detoxing and heart health, Vitamin C for boosting your immune system and for preventing colds and flues, B – Vitamins for boosting your immune system and for vitality, Arginine which is important for blood sugar regulation, good wound healing and fat metabolism, potassium for boosting cardiovascular health and water regulation, phosphorus for strong bones, zinc for preventing infections, and choline for cardiovascular health and cancer prevention.
Palm Sugar contains12 amino acids, glucose, and a small amount of fructose, and Palm Sugar are not refined... it's sugar in its basic raw natural form.
Also, this palm tree can be made into other products such as vinegar, alcohol, rope, wood flooring, barrels, and more. And the roots of the palm have been boiled to treat toothaches, kidney stones, and even keeping away insects. Palm Sugar tree roots go very deep into the ground... preventing erosion, and these trees are renewable... thus they are good for the environment and provide income for developing countries. Some say Palm Sugar is great for asthma, anemia, and for promoting growth in children, and for treating fevers. In India Palm Sugar is said to reduce pita or heat within the body, lowering heat in the pancreas, build strong bones and teeth, and creating good cardiovascular health.
Palm Sugar works well in baking and cooking, and most people can't taste any difference between brown sugar and Palm Sugar. You can bake cookies, cakes, just about anything sweet using Palm Sugar and gain lots of health benefits too! Palm Sugar is not cheap but has many health benefits that might be important.
You can find organic Palm Sugar or Coconut Sugar as it's sometimes called at your local health food store... or you can order it on-line, and they have it on Amazon and eBay.
Yacon Syrup - My next sweetener that I like is yacon syrup... has a molasses-like flavor with a very low glycemic index. Yacon Syrup has a glycemic index of 1 which is just about as low as you can get. The lower the Glycemic Index the slower it breaks down into sugars and the lower the number the better the sweetener for diabetics. Yacon Syrup has a much lower glycemic index than Agave Nectar.
Tastes a little bit like molasses, but the carbs cannot be absorbed so you get the flavor with little or no calories. Yacon Syrup contains FOS which is important for colon health and helps with digestion. Yacon Syrup is very low in calories and because of that is great for diet-minded people. Yacon contains inulin sugar which we can't break down.
Yacon Syrup contains simple sugars or FOS that are important for supporting your probiotic bacteria. Thus building up the good bacteria in your colon and boosting your immune system which prevents disease.
Yacon Syrup contains high levels of antioxidants that prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes, and cancer... and can help prevent colds and flues and slow the aging process. In the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a study was found showing that Yacon Syrup helped people to lose weight, increase body mass (more muscle), and their waistline decreased... and Yacon Syrup suppresses appetite. Yacon Syrup lowers cholesterol thus lower the incidence of heart attacks and strokes. Yacon Syrup promotes probiotic growth and boosts your immune system... thus keeping you healthy. Studies show that taking milk thistle with Yacon Syrup can help detox the liver, lower cholesterol, and prevent fatty liver disease. Yacon Syrup has antibacterial qualities that stave off colds and flues.
Studies show that people who used Yacon Syrup have a much lower blood insulin level. Also, improves insulin sensitivity which is important for those suffering from insulin resistance. Yacon Syrup also has anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce redness, inflammation, and pain. Yacon Syrup helps calcium and magnesium to be absorbed and thus helps to build bone density.
Yacon Syrup works well for preventing yeast infections. Studies show that Yacon Syrup can also lower LDL or bad cholesterol. You can buy organic Yacon Syrup on-line or ask for it at your local health food store and you can also find it on Amazon and eBay.
Agave Nectar - My last choice is agave nectar which is a nice sweetener. And agave nectar has healing qualities including having a very low glycemic index making it great for diabetics. The glycemic index of agave nectar is 27 while honey is 83, and sugar is 92, glucose is 137, and maltodextrin is 150 so agave nectar has a much lower glycemic index. Agave nectar also is a good antibacterial agent and even works well for skin wounds by killing the bacteria that create infections. Raw agave nectar contains lots of antioxidants. Agave nectar also creates inulin in the gut to help feed probiotic bacteria thus boosting up our immune system. It also contains lots of fructose so agave nectar should be used in small amounts so that is why it's low on my list. Organic agave nectar can be found at your local health food store and on Amazon and eBay.
And there are lots of other sweeteners including honey. But honey contains sucrose and will make a person's pancreas create insulin so it's not my first choice for a sweetener. But honey does have lots of good qualities such as being a great antibiotic.
So there you have it... my top five healthy natural sweeteners.
Dr. Paul Haider - Master Herbalist
Feel Free to Share - This information is meant to get you started so you can do more research on your own... dig a little deeper and find what works for you. This article is for educational purposes only, I strongly recommend that you seek advice from your own GP, private doctor, or medical specialist for any ailment, illness, or medical condition.. this article not meant to be a scientific analysis in any way, shape, or form.
Dr. Paul Haider – Master Herbalist and Spiritual Teacher for over 25 years, helping people to recover and feel healthy. You can also find Dr. Haider on FB under Dr. Paul Haider, Healing Herbs, and at www.paulhaider.com – feel free to connect with him anytime.
Here is a short video bio - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK6Eg-xlX3U
Check out my website at www.paulhaider.com