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The Healthiest Ways to Sweeten Up

By Charlotte Evans

Wondering how to naturally sweeten your food?

A general rule for improving your health is to reduce your sugar intake by avoiding most processed desserts and giving up soda. But you can still incorporate certain sweeteners.

Switch Things Up
Since most people find it too hard to completely stop eating or drinking these empty calories, as they are very tasty and very addictive, try replacing some of the things you consume which contain added sugars with versions that do not.

Stevia. Stevia is a sweet tasting natural herb, and it can be found in a variety of foods. Though it is not available as a sweetener, it can be bought as a dietary supplement. It can be safely used in tea, coffee, sweets and other foods. It also has other health benefits such as treating diabetes, hypertension, dental problems, dermatitis, acne, stomach ache, digestive problems and flu.

Maple Syrup. Most people think about using maple syrup only when they are baking bread or pancakes; however, it can be used as a substitute for sugar in many ways. It can be used for making cookies, cakes and many such sweets, as well as a topping for toasts, ice-creams and pancakes. It is known that maple syrup can bring many benefits to the body, including promoting the health of the heart, boosting the immune system, lowering the risk of prostrate cancer and others.

Honey. Raw honey is a natural sweetener that is easily available. Honey has been used as a sugar substitute for centuries. You can mix it in milk or spread it on bread for a great breakfast. Since it has a low glycemic index, it’s ideal for those who want to lose weight. Honey is rich in antioxidants, which can protect your body from a variety of illnesses. It can also treat insomnia, beautify the skin, help wounds heal and promote digestion.

Agave Extract. Agave extract is taken from the agave plant, and it’s usually converted into syrup. It tastes similar to honey, and it’s available in the dark or light variety. Agave also has a low glycemic index, and therefore, it takes more time for it to get absorbed into the bloodstream. It has been proven that agave extract can relieve inflammations, enhance the immune system, lower the risk of cancer and improve the absorption of certain nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium and isoflavones.

Moderation, Moderation, Moderation
The key to sugars and sweeteners in your diet is moderation. Having a sweet treat once a week isn’t going to sabotage your health and fitness goals. Giving up sugar completely only to live off artificially sweetened snacks and drinks isn’t a good idea either. Take the time to wean yourself off sweetened foods and drink, using zero-calorie sweeteners to please your sweet tooth during the interim. Eventually you’ll enjoy a majority of the foods in your diet without the need to sweeten them up as much.

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