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Almost everyone recognizes those sweet white sugar cane crystals known as sugar. Refined cane sugar is a staple in the food industry. It has earned a bad reputation lately though!
Cane sugar in its refined form has no nutritional value and is high in calories. It has been linked to diabetes and the obesity epidemic.
Sugar cane is not considered a supplement. However, it is considered beneficial in its raw state and can be used for many home remedies.
The bad reputation of cane sugar belongs to the refining process and not the plant itself. Sugar cane has a ton of health benefits and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Sugar cane is the unprocessed source of what we know as sugar or sucrose today.
Sugar cane is a tropical grass. Sucrose is stored in the pulp to be used by the plant for energy. If you have never seen sugar cane it looks similar to bamboo. It has an extremely hard outer layer that protects it.
The liquid sucrose in sugar cane is released when the stalks are harvested and pressed by huge rollers. This liquid called cane juice is rich in vitamins and minerals. The juice also contains antioxidant properties.
Sugar cane was originally discovered in New Guinea over 10,000 years ago. It grew all over India. In the 8th century sugar cane was brought to Europe by the Moors.
Today sugar cane is grown in over 200 countries. Sugar cane makes up 70% of the refined sugar used in the world. Sugar beets account for the other 30%.
Sugar cane makes a great cash crop for many countries because it is hearty. It is draught resistant and can survive many other natural disasters.
Sugar cane can also be harvested in as little as 6 months depending on the variety. There are four main varieties used commercially: officiharum, spontaneum, barberi, and sinense
Sugar cane is rich in calcium, magnesium and riboflavin (vitamin B2). It also contains high levels of potassium and antioxidants.
Potassium from sugar cane juice is a natural laxative. This helps aid in digestion. The juice also helps improve kidney function and increase urine flow.
Sugar cane is a good source of glucose. Glucose is used by the body to turn stored glycogen into energy. Sugar cane is also significantly lower in calories than refined sugar.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine showed that sugar cane was high in antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are responsible for repairing damage done to cells throughout the body by free radicals.
Sugar cane is also alkaline in nature. Studies suggest that this may make it a benefit in fight prostate and breast cancer.
The University of Maryland also published an article that suggests that policosanol found in sugar cane may help lower lipid levels in the blood. More research is needed to determine its total effects on cholesterol.
Sugar cane and cane juice are not the same as table sugar or raw sugar. Even sugars packaged as raw are processed some. The process to remove the liquid from sucrose and help it crystalize also removes the nutrients.
Raw sugar is not processed as long or bleached like refined sugar. It is also lower in calories then refined sugar.
This makes raw sugar a great alternative for baking or everyday use. However, if you are looking for health benefits you need to find sugar cane or unprocessed cane juice.
According to the Livestrong website, sugar cane juice can be used in a variety of home remedies. Drinking sugar cane juice can boost protein and hydration levels. This is helpful for people with fevers.
Mixing fresh cane juice with lime juice can also help remove excess bile from the liver. Cane juice mixed with lime and coconut water may also alleviate painful urination associated with urinary tract infections.
Home remedies can be found abundantly on the internet. Some may work and some may not. Always make sure you are using reliable sources and consult a physician. Home remedies should not take the place of medical care.
Scientists are constantly looking for alternative fuel sources. Sugar cane is one currently being considered and researched.
When sugar is fermented it naturally produces ethanol. Many automakers are already producing vehicles called flex fuel that are capable of running on ethanol.
Sugar cane is a good source of energy. Unlike coal and oil, sugar cane is a renewable resource and does not deplete the earth. Sugar cane is also cheap to grow and extremely resilient.
To locate and compare products containing sugar cane or cane juice, use the supplement finder now!