Once upon a time, a spoonful of sugar was seen to be a delightful thing, just ask Julie Andrews, but now it’s reputation carries the stigma of a joy sucking pariah, and rightly so. Refined sugar is hidden in almost every processed food you can think of, and yet has been proven to lower resistance to infection and contribute to obesity. The burst of energy that is gained from that sugary treat or drink accompanies a release of endorphins and lifts our mood – temporarily at least. What is less well known is that your immune system suffers for hours afterwards. As little as 100 grams of sugar can lower germ fighting capability by 40%.
All’s not lost however, as refined sugar is not the only way to lift your energy levels and mood. There are a number of delicious and healthy treats which will also give you a sustained boost avoiding the inevitable plunge in blood sugar which goes hand in hand with the consumption of refined sugar. Let’s have a look at a few foods which complement each other to create tasty, health building treats.
Mix and match the following as desired:
What is to-die-for yummy, contains a huge range of vitamins and minerals, can be used internally and externally, and is considered to be a superfood? The answer is of course the miracle substance:
Manuka honey also contains enzymes which aid in digestion and when topically applied to burns, wounds and ulcers, aids in skin recovery. The fact that it boosts vitality and energy on top of all this, makes Manuka honey a must have in your pantry. A word of caution though, ensure you purchase from a reputable supplier such as Mr Vitamins as there are many lower quality honey products on the market purporting to be genuine Manuka Honey.
Wild Blueberries are not only delicious but also:
- have higher levels of antioxidants
- are low in calories but high in nutrients
- protect against aging and cancer
- May lower blood pressure
- May prevent heart disease
- Improve memory and brain function
- Along with cranberries, can help fight urinary tract infections
- Improve muscle recovery after exercise
Whilst not technically sweet itself, Greek yogurt can be purchased mixed with fruit juice as a natural sweetener or you can add Manuka honey or berries to give you a deliciously creamy sweet treat. The main benefit to Greek yogurt is the naturally occurring probiotics to keep your digestion in tip top shape, but it is also high in protein, calcium and zinc along with numerous other vitamins and minerals.
Scrumptious on its own, coconut steps up a level when added to other ingredients. Try ricotta cheese, organic sultanas and manuka honey mixed and rolled into balls then sprinkled with coconut – heaven! The oil of the coconut can actually be classed as a superfood, as it is the healthiest oil on earth according to the head of the Coconut Research Centre in the US.
- Protects against heart disease and lowers the ratio of bad to good cholesterol
- Is easy to digest and absorb
- Kills fungi, bacteria, yeasts and viruses as it has an antimicrobial effect
- Helps diabetics as it slows the release of sugars into the bloodstream
- Prevents brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as strokes
- Boosts metabolism, increases energy and is less likely to be stored as fat.
Have you ever dreamed that there would be a sweetener 200 times sweeter than sugar, with no calories which was actually good for you? Then Stevia just may be the answer to your prayers. Stevia is a natural product but ensure that the ingredients on products claiming to be 100% organic stevia don’t actually contain hidden nasties.
As you can see there are many ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing your health. Next time you have a craving for something sweet, don’t reach for the chocolate or lollies – get a lasting boost of energy by experimenting with a few combinations of the above suggestions. Not only will you feel more energised, but your waistline and teeth will reap the rewards.