It is a known fact that sugar is harmful to the body - our body does not even require small quantities of it for any of the essential processes. Moreover, sugar can lead to obesity, inflammation and high blood pressure, all of which increase the risk of heart diseases.
There can be various substitutes of sugar, both natural and artificial. While artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin are easily available, they may carry potential damaging effects. There are some natural substitutes for sugar which are less harmful but should still be consumed in limited quantities to reap their benefits.
Following are five such alternatives that you should consider:
Everyone knows what honey is but you might not know that honey is rich in antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin). These nutrients help in reducing free radicals in the body, which prevents organ damage. Honey is also known to lower the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body, while simultaneously increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
Jaggery is widely used in Indian households. It can be formed from either the sap of sugar cane or palm trees. It can not only be used as a sugar substitute but has also been reported to reduce the levels of inhaled toxic substances in the lungs such as coal and silica dust. You can either grate jaggery to turn it into a powder or use it directly.
3. Coconut sugar
We have all heard of the many benefits of coconut, be it in the form of water, milk, oil or even the fresh coconut. You will be glad to know that coconut sugar can be used as a natural sweetener as it has low sugar levels. Coconut sugar can be extracted from the sap of the coconut. It is rich in iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and various antioxidants.
4. Maple syrup
Maple syrup is a sugary substance which is formed by cooking the sap of maple trees. It is thick and liquid in nature. Studies state that maple syrup is rich in 24 kinds of antioxidants which prevent the body from damage caused by oxidative stress. Maple syrup is also rich in calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese.
Dates are easily available in the market and can be used as a substitute for sugar. Dates have a high amount of potassium, copper, iron, magnesium and vitamin B6 in it. Dates also help in metabolizing proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Dates can be dried and then turned into powdery sugar. Researchers have stated that dates can also reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
For more information, read our article on Honey: Benefits, Calories, Uses, Side effects, Nutrition facts.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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