Low on calories, low on glycemic index and high in nutritional value, these are the 4 best healthy sweeteners as sugar alternatives.
Many people today are over consuming processed sugar, high fructose corn syrup and sucrose in general, and it affects their overall health in much worse ways than they actually know.
That’s why we are going to cover the top four natural sweeteners that are much easier for your body to digest and process. Some still contain sugar, but this is unrefined, unprocessed sugar in addition to other nutrients that will benefit your body.
So, whether you are looking for a change in your diet or a cooking substitute, these are going to be the best four natural sweeteners you can use.
We are going to start with…
Raw Honey As The Best Natural Sweetener
Two things to pay attention to when you’re buying honey are: making sure it’s labeled “raw” and comes from a local source.
Raw honey contains amino acids, certain types of electrolytes, antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds that can maintain a healthy body.
The biggest health benefit is that it helps reduce allergy symptoms. And the reason behind that is that it helps your body adapt to local pollen (this is if you buy local honey). It’s a great way to boost your immunity over time.
As one study suggest, introducing bee pollen to your diet can reduce active mast cells which produce and release histamines with exposure to allergens. Histamines trigger inflammatory responses such as runny nose, sneezing, itching and coughing.
The most important reason why I keep emphasizing Raw Honey is because a Texas A&M University Professor Vaughn Bryant, found that around 75% of supermarket honey doesn’t contain any pollen at all (which takes away all the meaningful health benefits honey has to offer).
Now remember, you want to take honey with moderation as with all sugar and sweeteners. You don’t want to go overboard. One or two tablespoon per day is the optimal, healthy, amount that can do well with most people.
Stevia Sweet Leaves
Sativa is a sunflower plant with naturally sweet leaves. Since its discovery, it has been one of the most popular natural sweeteners as a healthy sugar alternative.
There are many different types of stevia. Ideally, you would want to use full green-leaf stevia. This type is the least processed form, derived from dried stevia leaves, grounded into a powder.
One type you should stay away from is truvia, a highly processed, GMO containing sweetener.
Again, use your sweeteners sparingly, just a few drops in your morning tea will do the trick.
Coconut Palm Sugar — the Rising Star
Coconut palm sugar is made by collecting the sap extract from the coconut blooms, evaporating it into tiny crystals.
It has a caramely taste and the lowest glycemic index of any natural sweetener. This means it doesn’t create high blood sugar rises and crashes, as the traditional white sugar does.
From a culinary perspective, if you are looking for an equal comparison to sugar, coconut sugar is the ideal replacement. You can replace them cup for cup and have a healthier substitute that your body will be able to digest much better.
Rich in iron, calcium, zinc, potassium and antioxidants, coconut sugar is the highest rising alternative in the natural sweeteners category.
Medjool Dates — Number Four in The Most Popular Natural Sweeteners
Medjool Dates come from an ornamental tree which grows along the Mediterranean coast of Europe.
This caramel-tasting fruit other than unprocessed, natural sugar, is also rich in fibers and antioxidants (flavonoid polyphenolic known as tannins).
In fact, of all the popular natural sweeteners, dates rank highest in nutrient value.
The fiber in dates can slow down the sugar absorption and relieve constipation and the potassium helps flush out toxins and balance electrolytes.
Tip: Mix dates with some nut butter and make homemade protein bars.