And no, it’s not honey.
There are many ways to naturally sweeten a NutriBlast smoothie that, maybe, you have yet to explore. If so, then it’s definitely time that you do!
We all know the perils of sugar. We’ve discussed the negative health effects of excessive sugar intake time and time again, and we’ll continue to hammer that message home. Although sugar is necessary for life and can be found in healthy and natural foods, like fruits, when it comes from the wrong sources or is consumed in excess, sugar causes a cascade of long-term, acute, and damaging effects to our health.
We also know that artificial sweeteners are even worse for our bodies. Most are excitotoxins that can cause symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, while others destroy our good gut flora. One sweetener is even made from the excrements of e-coli bacteria. Yes – you’ve been eating e-coli bacteria feces every time you consume this particular artificial sweetener.
So, what could we use for sweetening our foods in a healthy way?
DATES! The wonderful Middle Eastern fruit that could be one of the most perfect foods on the planet! There are many varieties of dates, which are actually called date palm fruits. The most common varieties are ‘Amir Hajj’, ‘Saidy’, 'Khadrawy' and 'Medjool'. They’re popular for their rich taste, flavor, and superior quality. The most commonly found variety in the United States are Medjool dates.
Although dates are more than 70 percent sugar, they actually lower cholesterol and triglycerides without raising blood sugar levels. Dates are a rich source of fiber, which helps reduce the blood sugar impact of the natural sugar in dates. It's amazing that dates can contain so much sugar, yet have little to no negative effects on blood sugar levels. Since every person is different, however, dates may affect your blood sugar differently than it does for other people. Because dates are so rich in sugar, don't over-consume them. A little goes a long way; just one or two dates in your NutriBullet will add a burst of sweetness and nutrients to your smoothie.
Interestingly, companies have tried to copy the effects of Mother Nature’s super foods, including dates. In this study, they discussed copying and synthetically reproducing one of its very powerful and healthy antioxidants but discovered that they couldn’t. This is because the healing properties only work by having the supporting nutrients and phytonutrients found in dates. A study published by BioMed Research International, discusses the use anthocyanin, one of the antioxidants contained in dates, for medical purposes.
An excerpt from the study:
"There are at least four primary obstacles that have impeded the formulation, by medical professionals, of robust dietary or prescriptive guidelines on consumption of anthocyanins. Probably the most complicated piece of the puzzle is that, in terms of biological activity in the human body, an anthocyanin pigment is (almost) never acting independently. Typically, anthocyanins and other flavonoid components, or anthocyanins and other nonflavonoid phytochemicals, are interacting together in order to provide full potency. Interactions between phytochemicals within a plant are a key evolutionary strategy for the host plant."
Anthocyanins are more bio-available than other flavonoid antioxidants. In addition to containing large amounts of anthocyanin, dates are rich in many other nutrients, including the B vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid, choline, and vitamins A and K. Dates are also good sources of minerals like phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, and iron.
Dates have an amazing array of health benefits. Much of it is due to the combination of the many vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients like the antioxidants. Its health benefits are verified through many publicized studies.
Some of the health benefits from eating dates include:
- Improved digestion
- Improved immune function
- Improved detoxification
- Improved blood sugar and diabetes management
- Antibacterial properties
- Lowered cholesterol
- Lowered triglycerides
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Reduced risk of arterial disease
- Reduced risk of some cancers
- Reduced risk of stroke
- Reduced risk of anemia
Dates provide many nutrients and health benefits, on top of adding rich flavor and a natural sweetness to your meals. Enjoy them as a snack or as an excellent addition to your next smoothie!
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
The contents of the article are not medical advice and should not be considered as such! Please consult with your physician or health care provider if you have medical issues and before changing your diet or lifestyle or taking herbal or dietary supplements. Never start an exercise program with getting your doctors approval. Never quit taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.