Sugarcane juice. Stalls all around town are crushing the tall sugar cane stalks and serving it ice old. It’s scorchingly hot out here in Vietnam and my body is craving it. Jonas, worried about my sugar intake, urges me not to indulge. It’s bad for you he says. For some reason, my body is telling me otherwise. It feels so refreshing, so clean, so good. Trusting my intuition, I decide to do some research. Turns out, sugarcane juice is most definitely a health drink.
What is sugarcane?
Sugarcane is a tall grass made of a heavy stalk like bamboo. The juice from the crushed stalk contains only around fifteen percent total sugar (which is in it’s raw state). The juice itself is rich in minerals like calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. It also contains iron and vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6, plus a high concentration of phytonutrients (including chlorophyll), antioxidants, proteins, and soluble fiber among many other compounds. Together, these nutrients give amazing health benefits of sugarcane juice. Sugarcane juice has been shown effective in fighting cancer, stabilizing blood sugar levels safely in diabetics, assisting in weight loss, clearing the kidneys, preventing tooth decay and more. The health benefits of sugarcane juice make this one special drink. Thanks to Mother Nature once again.
Why is sugarcane juice healthy and refined white sugar not so much?
Sugarcane juice is full of nutrients in it’s raw state. When sugarcane juice is refined to white sugar, the juice is boiled to evaporate the water and leaving a dark liquid. This dark liquid is then separated from the sugar crystals. This dark liquid is called molasses, which take most of these nutrients, making molasses a healthy sweetener. The refined sugar is stripped of all nutrients, strictly left with sugar.
What are some of the health benefits of sugarcane juice?
The Journal of Photochemistry published a study which demonstrated that flavones in sugarcane juice combat production and spread of cancerous cells, particularly prostate and breast cancers.
The Fountain of Youth:
Sugarcane juice contains flavonoids and phenolic compounds. These work to make the skin healthy and soft, preventing ageing and wrinkles. The juice works to cleanse the body through detoxification.
Sugarcane juice keeps bilirubin leveled; when bilirubin levels are high, jaundice happens. Studies show that sugarcane juice protects the liver from damage and it can speed up the recovery time after jaundice.
Being rich in potassium, sugarcane juice improves digestion. It also acts as a microbial agent – preventing the occurrence of stomach infections and combating constipation.
You can find sugarcane juice stalls all throughout South East Asia and it is becoming a growing trend in places like the US and Australia. It’s extra delicious with mint and lime. In Vietnam, one cup costs 5000 dong (less than 25 cents). BYOC (bring your own cup) and remember to say “no straw please”.
P.S. Do you even tourist?