Sugar. Who doesn't like sugar? Everyone has a sweet tooth for something sweet every once in a while. In a world that often discourages sugar consumption, it's time to shed light on the natural sweetness of sugar cane and its wonderous health benefits. Beyond its delightful taste, sugar cane offers a wealth of nutritional goodness that is sure to put your sweet tooth to good use and in this article we'll unravel the hidden treasures of sugar cane.
History of Sugarcane
The Sugarcane plant dates back to the early years of human civilization's development and was a common commodity along trade routes. Sugarcane was first discovered in Southeast Asia, and was believed to have been domesticated in New Guinea around 6,000 years ago. Sugarcane cultivation and processing techniques were further refined in ancient India, where it became a popular crop and a source of crystallized sugar.
Nutritional Content of Sugarcane
Here we'll delve into the nutritional content of sugarcane, showing the composition of nutrients this plant contains and the mineral value for each nutrient per 100g.
Carbohydrates: Sugarcane is mainly of carbohydrates roughly around 70 grams, Sugarcane's carbohydrate is in the form of sucrose, which gives it its sweet taste. Sucrose is a disaccharide made up of glucose and fructose. These carbohydrates provide energy for the body.
Fiber: Sugarcane contains around 0.5 grams of dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements, prevents constipation, and supports a healthy gut microbiome. It also aids in controlling blood sugar levels and maintaining a feeling of fullness after consuming sugarcane products.
Water: Sugarcane is rich in water content boasting around 75 grams of water, making it a hydrating choice. Staying hydrated is essential for various bodily functions, including temperature regulation, nutrient transportation, and overall well-being.
Vitamins: Sugarcane is a source of vitamin C, which is known for its immune-boosting properties and antioxidant activity. Sugarcane also provides small amounts of vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B6 (pyridoxine), which are important for energy metabolism and nerve function.
Minerals: Sugarcane contains trace amounts of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. These minerals play essential roles in maintaining bone health, nerve function, muscle contraction, and electrolyte balance.
Antioxidants: Sugarcane possesses certain antioxidants, such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which help protect the body against oxidative stress caused by harmful free radicals. Antioxidants have been associated with various health benefits, including reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of chronic diseases.
Health Benefits of Sugarcane
Sugarcane has shown significant benefits in the particular areas:
- Hydration and Detoxification
- Digestive health
- Boosting Immunity
- Skin health
- Oral Health
- Increase in Energy levels
- Blood Sugar Regulation
Hydration and Detoxification
Sugarcane is great at hydrating due to its high water content. Drinking sugarcane juice or eating it can help replenish fluids in the body and prevent dehydration, especially during sunny days. Sugarcane juice contains essential electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These electrolytes play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of fluids in the body and facilitating proper muscle and nerve function.
Sugarcane also possesses natural detoxifying properties that can help cleanse the body. The juice of sugarcane acts as a diuretic, promoting increased urine production and assisting in the elimination of waste products and toxins from the body. It also contains antioxidants, such as flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which help combat oxidative stress caused by harmful free radicals in the body. By eliminating these free radicals, Sugarcane helps in reducing inflammation and protecting cells from damage.
Sugarcane plays a great role in promoting digestive health, the dietary fiber in sugarcane adds bulk to the stool and promotes regular bowel movements, preventing constipation and aiding in overall digestive function. The fiber in sugarcane provides relief from common digestive issues like constipation, bloating, stomachaches, and keeps the digestive tract functioning efficiently.
Sugarcane can have a soothing effect on the gut when taken while having problems like acidity, indigestion, and gastric irritations. The enzymes in sugarcane, such as sucrase and invertase, can aid in breaking down of complex sugars and facilitating their absorption.
The Vitamin C in sugarcane is a potent antioxidant known for its immune-boosting properties. Vitamin C helps stimulate the production and function of white blood cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections and enhancing immune response.
Sugarcane juice is often used as a remedy for relieving symptoms of the common cold and flu. It is believed to soothe a sore throat, provide hydration, and boost energy levels, aiding in faster recovery from illness.
Sugarcane has it's usefulness in skin care as well, due to it's high water content, this plant is a great natural hydrating agent for the skin. Applying sugarcane juice or its extracts to the skin can help replenish moisture, leaving it soft, supple, and moisturized. The antioxidants in sugarcane protect the skin from environmental damage, like pollution and UV radiation.
Using sugarcane as an exfoliant can help improve the skin's elasticity and firmness. This can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin, promoting a more youthful and revitalized appearance. The natural AHAs in sugarcane can also help lighten and even out skin tone by reducing the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.
Sugarcane can help deal with bad breath as it possesses a pleasant and refreshing taste that can help combat bad breath. Its natural sweetness can mask unpleasant odors in the mouth. Chewing sugarcane can help strengthen the jaw muscles, promoting gum health also the natural juices released during chewing have antimicrobial properties, potentially reducing harmful bacteria in the mouth that can contribute to gum disease.
Increase in Energy Levels
The natural sugars are high in carbohydrates containing a lot of glucose. These sugars are easily metabolized by the body, leading to a rapid release of energy. This can be especially beneficial for providing a quick energy boost during times of fatigue or physical exertion making sugarcane juice perfect for athletes.
Blood Sugar Regulation
The vitamins, minerals, and trace elements in sugarcane work in tune with one another to support optimal blood sugar regulation. For example, the presence of magnesium and chromium in sugarcane is associated with improved insulin sensitivity, which helps the body effectively utilize glucose.
The fiber in sugarcane slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. This can contribute to a more controlled release of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing rapid blood sugar fluctuations.
Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Sugarcane has a relatively low GI compared to refined sugars, meaning it causes a slower and more gradual increase in blood glucose levels after consumption. This can help prevent sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar, promoting better overall glycemic control.
The health benefits of sugarcane extend beyond its sweet taste, this remarkable plant offers a range of advantages that can be enjoyed as part of a well-rounded diet, reaping its rewards while maintaining a balanced approach to sugar consumption. Let sugarcane be a reminder that nature's offerings can bring both delight to our taste buds and nourishment to our bodies. If you're looking to get fresh grocery like sugarcane and other African and Caribbean items why not try our online grocery store?