Contributing writer for Wake Up World
Classified as “the most demonized additive known to man,” there’s no doubt that sugar has received a bad rap over the years. Blamed for everything from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, to cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s and tooth decay, sugar seems to foster ill-health wherever it’s found. While this is certainly true for high-fructose corn syrup and other heavily refined sugars, there’s one form that offers distinctive — and often surprising — health advantages.
Widely consumed in the tropics and subtropics, sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L) is not only savored for its sweetness, but also used medicinally. Those in the West are catching on — and reaping the health benefits of this unique food.
A Tall Grass That Packs a Nutritional Punch
With fibrous stalks that resemble bamboo, sugarcane is a member of the grass family and can grow up to 5 meters high. Sporting a nutritional profile similar to wheatgrass juice — but with less chlorophyll and more sugar (about 15 percent total) — sugarcane juice is packed with vitamins and minerals, including: calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. It’s also rich in iron, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C, as well as a range of phytonutrients, antioxidants, proteins and soluble fiber.
Traditionally, sugarcane juice has been used to deter cancer, stabilize blood sugar in diabetics, promote weight loss, calm fevers, detox the kidneys and prevent tooth decay.
Granted, at first glance it seems counter intuitive that sugarcane can actually foster healthy weight, but due to powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, along with an assortment of vitamins and minerals, the sugar is slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a surprisingly low glycemic index (the measurement of how carbohydrates effect blood glucose levels). Low glycemic foods are considered a boon for maintaining a healthy metabolism and weight. To put this into perspective, refined white sugar has a glycemic index rating of 64, while raw sugarcane falls between 30-40, depending on the soil composition in which it’s grown.
But that’s not all. Because of high levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and manganese, raw sugarcane is considered an alkalinizing food. Writes Dee McCaffrey, CDC, in Raw Sugarcane Juice Nature’s Perfect Wonder Food:
“Diseases, especially cancer, cannot live in an alkaline environment, so it’s no surprise that studies have shown that it has proven effective in helping the body fight against cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer. The antioxidants in sugarcane juice also help to fight against viral and bacterial infections, boost the immune system, and protect against diseases of the liver. It also improves kidney function by clearing the urinary flow and is believed to be a good treatment for fevers, as it boosts the body’s protein levels.”
In fact, a study in the journal Phytochemistry found that the antioxidant activity of tricin-7-O-?-(6″-methoxycinnamic)-glucoside (a flavone isolated from sugarcane juice), “showed in vitro antiproliferative activity against several human cancer cell lines, with higher selectivity toward cells of the breast resistant NIC/ADR line.”
Likewise, findings published in Food Chemistry established that the strong antioxidant availability in sugarcane juice helps to protect against radiation induced DNA damage and Escherishia coli. The research team concluded “the study reveals that the ability of sugarcane juice to scavenge free radicals, reduce iron complex and inhibit lipid peroxidation, may explain possible mechanisms by which sugarcane juice exhibits its beneficial effects in relation to its reported health benefits.”
Moreover, Dr. Michelle Kmiec reports in “The REAL Truth Behind Sugar” that numerous studies have demonstrated raw sugarcane juice has therapeutic value for reversing jaundice and other liver problems, as well as preventing viral, bacterial and protozoan infections by supporting the function of natural killer cells in the body. One study even found “…levels of phenols and flavonoids in sugarcane juice are similar to or HIGHER than other fruits and vegetables, including those found in garlic.”
While sugarcane juice has been widely consumed by people in tropical and subtropical regions for generations, it’s not as well-known in the West. But that could be changing.
Raw Cane Superjuice bars are sprouting up in places like Hollywood, California — and enterprising companies are finding new and innovative ways to preserve all the nutritional benefits of the juice in bottled form. Sugarcane Island is one example, where they’ve developed a unique pasteurization method called High Pressure Processing (HPP), which applies thousands of pounds of pressure to kill harmful pathogens, but doesn’t generate any heat. The result is a truly raw product.
As more people learn of the perks associated with the plant, raw sugarcane juice bars may just be the next big health craze to hit your neighborhood. Stay tuned.
Previous Articles by Carolanne Wright:
- A New Take on Sewage: How to Harness the Superpowers of Pee and Poo for Better Ecological and Human Health
- Renowned Harvard Psychologist Says ADHD is Largely a Fraud
- The Most Eco-Friendly Nation on the Planet is Now Carbon Negative
- Plastic Waste in the Ocean Will Outnumber Fish by 2050
- Mind Control, Subliminal Messages and the Brainwashing of America
- Monsanto Charged with Crimes Against Nature and Humanity – Set to Stand Trial in 2016
- Plastic-Eating Mushroom Discovered in the Amazon Rainforest — A Solution for Our Trash Saturated World?
- Over 100 Scientific Studies Agree: Cannabis Annihilates Cancer
- Why Every Parent Should Consider Unschooling
- First U.S. City Produces More Electricity Than It Uses — With 100% Renewable Technology
- If You Care About Animals and the Earth, Here’s Why You Need to Boycott Palm Oil Immediately
- Basic Income Guarantee: A Surprisingly Cost-Effective Method for Eliminating Poverty
- An Interview With Dr. Andrew Wakefield: Why We Need Safe Vaccines Immediately — and How to Make it Happen
About the Author:
Carolanne Wright enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years.
Through her website Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. You can also follow Carolanne on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.