Coconut Sugar Benefits
1. May Help Diabetics
Coconut sugar and coconut nectar contain a fiber known as inulin. This fiber may help slow glucose absorption, offering an alternative for those dealing with diabetic concerns. Some studies show that inulin may help reduce the absorption of glucose, therefore, keeping glucose levels in check. One study in particular conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Diet Therapy at the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences’ Nutrition Research Center suggests that it helps women with type 2 diabetes, improving some glycemic and antioxidant levels while decreasing malondialdehyde levels, a marker of oxidative stress.
2. Paleo-Approved, Sort Of
If you are on the Paleo diet, coconut sugar is an option that you can use to satisfy that sweet tooth, according to the Ultimate Paleo Guide. Some hard-core Paleo followers still avoid it since it’s often processed. However, it’s thought to have been used in Paleolithic times, which is part of its claim to being OK for Paleo lovers.
Studies lead us to think that our “ancestors obtained about 35% of their dietary energy from fats, 35% from carbohydrates and 30% from protein.” Coconut sugar would lie in the carbohydrate category, but it’s still a processed form of the coconut flower. Perhaps the coconut nectar or a liquid form is a little closer to Paleo for those who want to maintain a more strict Paleo lifestyle.
3. Contains Vitamins, Minerals and Phytonutrients
Coconut sugar contains vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, though in small amounts. Iron and zinc, for example, are found in coconut sugar, containing about two times more than granulated sugar according to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).
The FNRI also notes that there are a decent amount of phytonutrients, specifically polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidins. These phytonutrients help reduce blood sugar, inflammation and cholesterol, making coconut sugar a better option than many other sweeteners. The American Cancer Society explains that phytonutrients that come from plants offer many health benefits and are better choices than supplements or pills.
4. Good for the Gut
As noted earlier, coconut sugar contains inulin. Inulin has the ability to stimulate the growth of intestinal bifidobacteria, commonly found in probiotics, which can provide an overall boost to the immune system. Though bifidobacteria are a group of bacteria that normally live in the intestines, they can be grown outside the body and taken orally as medicine. Bifidobacteria have been known to help restore the good bacteria in the gut that may have been destroyed through chemotherapy, antibiotics and the like.