I was first introduced to Agave Syrup by a dear friend of mine in 2009 and I quickly recognised that it could be used instead of sugar when creating recipes or for sweetening drinks. It is naturally sweeter than sugar, so you need to use less of it, which is also a great thing! In my Cordials, I either use it on its own or in combination with with Unrefined Raw Cane Sugar, which is full of many minerals due to the lack of refining that has taken place. Therefore, you not only creates a delicious drink that is sweet, but it also contains health benefits, which would otherwise be stripped out during the refining process of sugar. So, what is Agave Syrup? Agave Syrup is in the “sweet” category of foods, and is thus associated with spleen and stomach health. Additional health benefits are as follows:-
Agave Syrup is a natural alternative to refined sugars and artificial sweeteners
The honey-like sap comes from the leaves of the blue Agave plant, which grows in Mexico. It has a thin, light consistency, and can be used to sweeten many things. I like to use a little in porridge in the winter or on top of Weetabix or Shredded Wheat instead of sugar, on the rare occasions I eat them! As it is much sweeter than sugar, you only need to use a little
The main way I use it is when making cordials; my sugar-free jam; some of my cake recipes and some of my raw chocolate fudge and, of course the coconut melts
What are the health benefits of it?
Native populations have been aware of its health benefits for centuries and used it medicinally. The Aztecs used a mixture of Agave Nectar and salt as a dressing for wounds and a balm for skin infections, and Agave's use as a folk remedy persists today
Modern medical study has also confirmed Agave's remedial properties
Agave Nectar applied to the skin has been found effective against pyogenic (pus producing) bacteria such as Staph aureus
If salt is added to the nectar it boosts its anti-microbial properties (i.e. it kills micro-organisms such as bacteria)
Agave Nectar has also been proven effective against enteric (intestinal) bacteria
Its Glycemic Index Value (or GI measure) is low, being 15, and therefore it is considered a healthier choice for diabetics rather than sugar or honey. This is because of its high concentration of fructose. Thus it has a weaker effect on blood sugar levels. The GI index measures the effects of foods that contain carbohydrates on your blood glucose levels. The higher the value, the more likely there is to a be a “spike” in your blood sugar level, which can be potentially catastrophic for people with diabetes
In "Diabetes Forecast" magazine, it states that Agave Nectar contains approximately the same number of carbohydrates as sugar; about 4 grams per teaspoon. So, using Agave Nectar in a similar way to sugar, i.e. controlling your intake of it, is the best way forward for a healthy lifestyle.