Over the years, sugar has gotten a bad rap, and rightly so. Cane sugar, which is what most people are referring to when they refer to sugar in general, is void of any health benefits or nutrients at all. It spikes the body’s blood sugar level fast and then sends it crashing pretty soon thereafter, leaving the body’s immune system weakened and the brain tired and sluggish. Sugar is strongly linked to obesity, adds to the risk of dying from heart disease and can cause diabetes.
However, not all sugar is bad. This is good news for us at My Green Mattress because we like our sweets every now and then!
Some Sugar is Essential
In fact, in order to properly function, the brain needs glucose. According to PubMed, the brain depends upon glucose as its main source of energy, and tight regulation of glucose metabolism is critical for brain physiology. Consistent with its critical role for physiological brain function, disruption of normal glucose metabolism forms the pathophysiological basis for many brain disorders. The key is that this essential glucose should come from fruits and/or from natural sugars.
The Two Best Sugars to Consume (besides from eating fruit)
There are many natural sugars on the market, however some are A LOT better than others. For example, many people are under the impression that agave is a good choice as a cane sugar substitute. However, agave is highly processed and, like cane sugar, spikes the blood sugar and then sends it crashing.
When used in moderation, raw honey has many health benefits. Honey contains some amino acids, some minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and some vitamins, including B6, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin. In order to benefit from these vitamins and minerals, you need to use raw honey, which is unfiltered and unpasteurized. Honey is best consumed at room temperature, as heating it will kill its beneficial properties.
Raw honey also contains pollen, which is known to ward off infections, improve immunity and provide seasonal allergy relief.
Unlike cane sugar and agave, honey has a lower glycemic index, which means that its sugars are gradually absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in balance and no sugar high or crash.
Like honey, maple syrup also boasts vitamins and minerals. Mineral wise, it contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus sodium, potassium, and zinc. In terms of vitamins, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6 are all found in maple syrup. It also contains over 50 antioxidants that help to prevent illness and disease caused by free radicals.
Also like honey, maple syrup has a lower glycemic index, which means that its sugars are gradually absorbed into the bloodstream, thus no sugar high and no crash.
Unlike honey, maple syrup can be heated without causing damage to much of its nutrients. In addition, maple syrup comes in granulated form, maple sugar, which is a great alternative for baking.
Please note that this article refers to REAL maple syrup. If the ingredient list on the one that you purchase lists anything more or other than real maple syrup, it’s time to buy a new brand. Some are just made up of junk sugars and chemical fillers that the body cannot use.