The Health Benefits of Coconut Nectar
August 22, 2012
We all know that consuming too much refined sugar is not good for us, but what are the alternatives? One natural sweetener that is gaining popularity is coconut nectar. Consisting of the sap from the coconut tree (much like maple syrup), coconut nectar has the benefit of being a raw, pure sweetener that retains all of the health benefits, while other sweeteners lose most of their nutritional value through heating and processing.
Low Glycemic Index
Coconut nectar contains 17 amino acids, as well as a host of minerals and vitamins B and C. It can be used anywhere sweeteners are normally used, and also have the benefit of a low glycemic index. With a glycemic index of 35 (compared to organic sugar’s 47, raw sugar’s 65, and refined sugar’s 80), coconut nectar offers the same sweetness, but is a safer alternative for diabetics or anyone who wishes to maintain healthier, more consistent blood sugar levels. The lower glycemic index also means that when coconut nectar replaces other sugars you will feel fuller longer, so it can help you maintain or lose weight when combined with a healthy diet.
Low in Fructose
Containing short and medium-chain fatty acids, the nectar is perfect for heart-healthy diets or to reduce cholesterol levels. Compared to brown sugar, coconut nectar has twice as much iron, four times as much magnesium, and ten times as much zinc. While agave nectar has also gained popularity as an alternative to sugar, coconut nectar may be a better alternative. This is due to the fact that agave is high in fructose, which is processed by your liver (and can be converted into fat if you consume too much) while coconut nectar is primarily sucrose-based (only 10% fructose), so it is processed by the intestine. While there is still much debate on what types of sugar are the “healthiest” a switch to coconut nectar could result in a better balance of healthy liver function and blood sugar levels.
How to Use Coconut Nectar
Coconut nectar can replace sugar or other sweeteners 1:1. The neutral flavor of the syrup means that it will not affect the taste of the food it is added to, unlike some other sweeteners. You can also find coconut palm sugar for baking to replace refined sugar without affecting the recipe, although raw coconut nectar, since it is unrefined, will retain more nutritional value. Look for coconut nectar in health food stores and some grocery chains, and start adding it anywhere you would normally use sugar.
22 Days Nutrition Uses Coconut Nectar
We are so impressed with the health benefits and deliciousness of coconut nectar that it is our sweetener of choice for all 22 Days Nutrition bars.
Photo: Horia Varlan