What Sugars to Use… if any?

The Art of Eating …

Indulging our sensors  – smelling our foods, seeing our foods and tasting our food — make the whole eating experience (including digestion) into a powerful way to embrace our health and enjoy all the whole colorful (real) food that we have available to us. It seems easy but with all the media and fancy new names for foods and sugars …. it’s overwhelming.

What Sugars to Use… if any?

On my past posts, I have spoken about the processing and negative aspects of white ( and brown/light) sugars but I wanted to give you a few sweeteners that are better alternatives. The key thing to remember is to look for sweeteners that have very minimal refining or processing and are nutrient rich.

Raw Honey

In almost every town, you can find a bee keeper/farm and if you have kids, they will LOVE to go out to the farm and learn all about the bees as they are truly fascinating! Raw honey is packed with not only nutrients and antioxidants, but enzymes which aid in our digestion. However, for this reason, I prefer to use honey in non-baked treats (we will drizzle it on our baked mochi with a little cinnamon and apples) – I do not want to destroy the enzymes during heating.

A honey side note: Honey is also anti-microbial.  Raw honey contains propolis also referred to as bee glues that act as a barrier against bacteria in the beehive. This substance helps boost and protect our immune systems.

Dark Maple Syrup

Lucky for me, as a kid, I had a friend who lived on a farm with maple trees. Every fall, we would spend a day collecting the syrup from the trees and making it into a delicious syrup. I use a dark maple syrup for baking especially my Good Cookie recipe. Click here for the recipe.

A maple syrup side note: Manganese and zinc are the two power nutrients found in maple syrup.  Manganese is a mineral that aids in fighting free radicals that are mostly in our cell’s mitochondria  – where energy is made. Maple syrup also has a good amount of zinc, which not only supports the immune system, but plays an important role in the health of our blood vessels in our heart.

Date or Coconut Sugar

Date and coconut sugars are good substitutions to brown sugar as the tastes are simpler.

A side note: Both contain a good amount of potassium, which will help reduce hypertension, regulate blood sugar levels and aid in transmission of nerve impulses.

Dr. Heather’s health tip: Including a protein source with each meal will help stabilize your blood sugar, and curb your sweet tooth. Remember, take the time to enjoy your food, keep good company at your meals, and most importantly, be gentle on yourself when making your dietary changes as even moderate changes will make a profound difference.

Be well

Heather Manley N.D.

Dr. Heather Manley, who in 2001 received her medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, is a practicing physician whose primary interest is preventative healthcare for families.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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