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The Remarkable Benefits of Coconut Sugar for Your Health
Coconut sugar has been gaining its marvelous reputation in health and culinary these recent few years, although their existence is not at all new. it has been known and used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years. South and South-East Asian regions are the origins of coconut sugar since coconut trees are abundant in these areas. People living there have been producing the this particular sugar with traditional methods they inherited from their ancestors. But today the coconut sugars are getting popular in the west as well, especially due to the benefits it gives to human health, in addition to its sweet, savory taste. But, what is coconut sugar exactly?
Common misconception, it is not the same as palm sugar !
The names are often used interchangeably; palm sugar and coconut sugar. But they are not the same. Palm sugar comes from the palmyra palm or Aren palm tree (Arenga pinnata). Meanwhile, coconut sugar, also known as coco sugar and coconut palm sugar, comes from coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera), the same tree that produces coconuts; although both are produced in a similar way. They are made from the sweet sap of the flower buds collected by the farmer each morning and boiled to gain the sweet sugar. The color can be varied. Some may come in creamy beige while some others are dark brown. The texture may also be different, soft or rock hard. It is all depending on how long the cooking process is.
Where can you get organic coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar is now widely available in almost every country. In Asian countries, especially in South and South-East Asian regions, you can find itr in every food shop and market. In other continents, you can get coconut sugar in health food stores or gourmet food stores. They may come in blocks or paste which is packed in a jar.
Tips on buying coconut sugar
When you buy coconut sugars, remember that the names of palm sugar and coconut sugar are often used interchangeably. So, if you are looking for a specific type of coconut sugar, better check the ingredient label on the package.
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However, you will find that it is not as sweet as white sugars. So, if you are using coco sugar for cakes or desserts, you may need to add more. Besides, different coconut sugar may also have different level of sweetness. If you are cooking a dessert using coconut sugar, it is better to gauge the amount carefully. But generally coconut sugar tastes great as it has a nice caramel-like taste, almost similar to natural molasses, but lighter. It can also be used as brown sugar substitute.
What makes coconut sugar kind of special sweetener is its low glycemic index. The glycemic index evaluates how quickly food can raise blood sugar levels. The glycemic index for glucose is 100. It means that a food that has glycemic index of 50 can raise blood sugar half as much as glucose. On the other hand, coco sugar has glycemic index of only around 35. It is much lower than the glycemic index of other types of sweetener such as refined sugar, which is around 50-70. It means that this sugar is much better to be consumed by people who need to watch their sugar intake.
In traditional medicine, it is also known to be used to heal throat and lung infections because it contains good minerals, i.e. phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, and iron and it also contains trace amounts of vitamin C, which is good for skin and wound healing. Vitamin C is also a great antioxidant that protects our body against free radicals, toxic chemicals, and pollutants.
You will also find phytonutrients, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidin in it. In addition, there is also B vitamin inositol which can be a mood booster when you are feeling a bit down.
it is also low in fructose. Fructose is a type of sugar in your body that converts to fat and can only be broken down by the liver. The more fructose you consume, the harder your liver works. Thus, you should not consume too much fructose. But coconut sugar has only 45 percent fructose, much less than agave nectar which is 90 percent or high-fructose corn syrup which is 55 percent, thus making coconut sugar a better option than other sweeteners.
In 2014, coconut palm sugar was entitled as the most sustainable sweetener in the world by United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. The coconut trees use minimal amounts of water and produce for about 20 years. The production of organic coconut sugar needs no artificial ingredients and is not chemically altered.
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