Raw sugarcane juice originates from Hong Kong and is a popular beverage in Southeast Asia, India, Northern Africa and Latin America.
In traditional Indian medicine, sugarcane juice is considered healthy and nourishing for the body. If you have ever traveled to India, you will have seen countless sugarcane juice vendors parked on street corners.
It is important to understand that raw sugarcane juice is not the same as eating cane sugar – which is a highly refined product.
There are some surprising health benefits to raw sugarcane juice. Let’s take a look these:
Alkaline and Lowers Oxidative Stress
Sugar cane juice has a pH of 8.9. It contains chlorophyll, magnesium, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, thiamin and amino acids.
These vitamins and minerals are all very good for the pH of the body and the antioxidants found in raw sugarcane juice may assist to lower oxidative stress.
Sugar cane is similar in profile to wheatgrass. I was initially surprised to learn this, but upon further research, sugarcane itself is a type of perennial grass from the Poaceae family.
Helps Your Digestive System
Since it is rich in potassium, the sugarcane juice keeps the digestive system in healthy shape.
Raw sugarcane juice may help to relieve constipation, due to its high soluble fiber content.
Those that suffer with indigestion, heartburn and reflux may find that the alkaline properties of raw sugarcane juice helps to reverse some of the acidity and lessen symptoms.
Helps in Treating Infection
Most diseases are unable to survive in the human body that is more alkaline. Sugarcane juice is considered medicinal in nature in the Ayurvedic Medicine System.
Traditional native healers of the world recommend sugarcane juice for its diuretic properties. It also aids in proper kidney function, especially when mixed with coconut water, lime juice and ginger.
Western medicine and modern pharmacological studies support the Indian medicine systems (Ayurvedic and Unani).
Research confirms that sugar cane juice has anti inflammatory properties, provides protection for the liver, is a diuretic and surprisingly has antihyperglycemic effects, among many other beneficial properties.
Sugar cane juice is also considered a beneficial blood purifier and with its diuretic function helps to cleanse the blood and then rid the body of toxins.
In traditional medicine, sugarcane juice is used to treat kidney stones and keep the urinary tract healthy.
In India, the sugarcane plant and juice are used to treat pathogenic conditions such as abdominal tumors.
Is It Beneficial to Drink Sugarcane Juice Every Day?
Drinking a small glass of sugarcane juice may be more beneficial for you than you think – but don’t overdo it.
It is more beneficial during the summer months or if you live in a hot climate and may be prone to dehydration.
Sugarcane juice helps to increase plasma, balance electrolytes, keep the liver and kidneys healthy.
When I was researching to write this article, I read several studies that referred to sugarcane juice in traditional medicine as “fattening”.
It prevents most types of cancer, it is an antioxidant, and, at the same time, it keeps away any mouth odor, plus it is beneficial to teeth and bone development.
Is Sugarcane Juice Good For The Liver?
Yes. One of the Indian medicine systems, Unani, states that the consumption of sugar cane juice helps regulate the bilirubin levels in the liver. It is prescribed in large amounts to relieve jaundice.
Sugarcane juice is a rich source of antioxidants and provide immunity to the body at a cellular level. It helps to protect your body’s host cells against microbial infections. This includes both bacterial and viral infections.
Western medicine studies confirm the hepatoprotective factors of sugarcane juice. Since sugarcane is an excellent source of antioxidants, you are helping your liver from toxin build-up, and you are cleansing the liver of harmful chemicals by consuming sugarcane juice.
Electrolyte imbalances can often occur after illness, dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea. Electrolyte imbalances can also have a negative effect on the liver. This is particularly important in febrile illness in children.
Sugarcane juice helps the body to compensate for lost proteins and minerals and aids in recovery after illness.
Best Time to Drink Sugarcane Juice
Sugarcane juice provides instant energy. It is something you can drink at any time of the day.
If you find yourself with a 3pm slump and reaching for a coffee, chocolate bar or some other unhealthy snack, try a glass of sugarcane juice.
It is an excellent as a post workout drink and will help to rehydrate the body of lost vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.
You may also drink sugarcane juice daily while you are relaxing, and a glass of this juice will surely make your day extra soothing.
Others have tried it before they sleep because of the chemical that is found in raw sugar cane that is said to induce sleep. Octacosanol is a chemical found in raw sugarcane juice and is said to help the body deal with anxiety and stress.
Side Effects of Sugarcane Juice
As sugarcane juice refreshes and brings us loads of benefits, there are also side effects from consuming too much of it.
A glass per day won’t hurt much, but cane juice taken in a higher amount may have side effects such as increases calories in the body because glass has 260 to 270 calories is equal to a hundred grams of sugar.
Fresh cane juice is ideal, and a glass that is left for half an hour or so may already be harmful to ingest. The oxidation process is already starting after fifteen minutes, and once the juice is consumed it can create a problem such as an upset stomach.
The juice from cane contains policosanol, that when the juice is taken in excess, may lead to a feeling of dizziness, and headache. There is also the risk of blood-thinning because of the said substance found in this juice.
Commercially prepared sugarcane juice can be risky to consume, as you don’t know how it was prepared. When the cane juice was extracted was hygienic measures followed during the process? Otherwise, bacteria may also be present in what you are drinking.
If you are buying commercially prepared juice please read the label! You may find that there is only a small quantity of sugarcane juice, with added water, sugar and preservatives. This is not an ideal choice.
Is Sugarcane Juice Good or Bad for Diabetes?
The study by the University of the West Indies states that sugarcane juice is recommended for diabetic patients.
Furthermore, sugarcane juice diluted with spring water was used to treat diabetes and high blood pressure.
This study does recommend however, that type 2 diabetes patients consume the juice in moderate levels; and only after consultation with your health practitioner.
If you are a diabetic (either type 1 or type 2), please consult with your Doctor before consuming ANY sugarcane juice.
Is Raw Sugarcane Juice Good During Pregnancy?
Raw sugarcane juice, when made fresh and in a hygienic matter, can be good for pregnant women.
A study by the University of the West Indies reportst that sugarcane juice with ginger is an effective treatment for morning sickness.
If suffering from morning sickness, small doses of sugarcane juice with ginger several times throughout the day is recommended.
As sugarcane juice is a rich source of magnesium, iron and calcium, regular consumption during pregnancy can help against mineral deficiencies during pregnancy and assist with boosting immunity.
The potassium content of sugarcane juice can help with pregnancy related constipation.
The cleansing effect of sugarcane juice on the kidneys and urinary system may also assist to ward off any urinary tract infections during pregnancy.
A woman who has a normal pregnancy can benefit from the numerous essential nutrients found in raw sugarcane juice and includes iron, calcium, magnesium, and loads of vitamins. It also has fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
Sugarcane juice is suitable for some diabetics however, if you have gestational diabetes, please consult your health professional before consuming.
As usual, this information should not be considered medical advice, please consult with your physician before consuming raw sugarcane juice during pregnancy.
Is Raw Sugarcane Juice Good For Weight Loss?
It depends on how much you consume. The polyphenols found in sugarcane juice assist to increase metabolism. Sugarcane juice is also fairly low on the glycemic index (GI), sitting between 30 to 40 on the GI scale.
Combine the low GI and increased metabolism and you may find that sugarcane juice may have a benefit within your weight loss plan.
Having said that, consume too much sugarcane juice and you will gain weight. The Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology stages:
Sugarcane juice is a fattening food. It is thus an effective remedy for thinness. Rapid gain in weight can be achieved by its regular use.Medicine & Curative Properties of Sugarcane Juice, Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology
Essentially, in Eastern countries, higher quantities of the juice are prescribed to help increase the weight for those who have low body weights.
In Western countries, where we eat larger meals, consume far more refined sugars and processed foods than in the East, I would be wary about adding sugarcane juice to your diet, except for an occasional treat.
Is Consuming Sugarcane Juice as Bad For Health as Sugar Itself?
No! Unrefined raw sugarcane juice, rich with medicinal properties, has been referred to by the University of the West Indies as a miracle drink.
The low glycemic index will not spike your blood sugar levels rapidly like table sugar will. Here is a chart showing the processing of sugar cane products and condensed sugar cane becomes to create table sugar.
As you can see, extracting raw sugarcane juice is the first process after harvesting and crushing the cane. When consumed this way, the juice is actually only 15% natural sugar.
About 100ml (3.3 fluid ounces) of raw juice contains 9 grams of carbohydrates and 39 calories. With 13 vitamins and minerals, fresh raw sugarcane juice is much better for you than consuming refined sugars.
How To Make Sugarcane Juice
The best way to make sugar cane juice is to juice it yourself at home.
Studies have shown that raw sugarcane juice starts to oxidize within 15 minutes. It is important to extract the juice, then consume it right away.
You will need a juicer to extract raw sugarcane juice. Not all juicers are suitable. I’ve covered the different juicers suitable for juicing sugar cane in a post here.
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