Why Coconut Sugar and Stevia are our favourite natural sweeteners

Why Coconut Sugar and Stevia are our favourite natural sweeteners 1280 853 Nava Wholefoods

Let’s face it, we all love a little sweetness in our lives, but it doesn’t have to be the nasty processed stuff! Fortunately, we have access to healthier natural alternatives that not only taste delicious, but offer great nutritional value and plenty benefits too.

Coconut sugar

If you haven’t by now, open the pantry and throw out the refined sugar and any products laden with it (yes it’s hiding in that cereal and stir-fry sauce too!). Refined sugar is made from raw sugar that has undergone a refining process to remove the molasses. It is known to weaken your immune system, increase inflammation, contribute to weight gain and obesity, and because it is broken down by our bodies so quickly, it causes insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Any one familiar with that energy slump after sweet treats? It’s no fun! With plenty of research done, we could rattle on and on about the list of negative effects, however, it’s not all doom and gloom. You can still get your sweet-tooth fix with plenty of fresh fruit and great natural sweetener alternatives such as our two favourites: coconut sugar and stevia.

COCONUT SUGAR

The first of our favourite refined sugar alternatives is Coconut Sugar. This caramel-tasting and golden colour natural sweetener derives from the coconut palm tree. It has a lower GI (glycemic index) than regular refined table sugar, due to a fibre called inulin which slows the glucose absorption rate, and contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals making it the more nutritious option. It is also argued that coconut sugar is beneficial for the gut as inulin has the ability to stimulate the growth of intestinal bifidobacteria, commonly found in probiotics. A healthier gut provides an overall boost to the immune system and wellbeing.

STEVIA

Our other favourite refined sugar alternative is Stevia. Stevia derives from the leaves of a plant called stevia rebaudiana. Gram for gram, it is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar! Only a tiny bit is needed, making it a very popular low-calorie sweetener and one that is extremely effective for weight loss. It may also be helpful for those with diabetes as it has no effect on blood glucose or insulin response, and the glycosides present help lower blood pressure too.

HOW TO ENJOY THEM

Both of these sweetener options can be enjoyed as you would any other form of sweetener. Replace the refined sugar in your morning coffee, add it to smoothies, use in healthy baked goods and in cooking too. Coconut sugar adds a delicious touch of caramel sweetness to curries. Bear in mind, that with all things, all sweet treats should always be enjoyed in moderation!

Let us know your favourite natural sweetener in the comments below.

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