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Agave Nectar Benefits
Agave nectar benefits have long been recognized by the Aztecs in the area of wound healing and skin infections. Nowadays, there have been lots of studies on the other medicinal properties of agave nectar. However, there are also discussions on the subject of whether this nectar is indeed a better alternative to regular sweeteners or not.
Agave nectar is a sweetener that is often used as an alternative to sugar or honey. It is often used to sweeten beverages such as iced tea and also as a syrup for waffles, pancakes or French toast.
Agave nectar possesses flavors of varying strength. The light variety gives an almost neutral flavor, the amber variety has a caramel-like flavor, while the dark variety has a strong caramel touch.
It is produced from the sap that comes from the stalks or flower shoots of the agave plant. Agave is a succulent plant that is related to the yucca and lily. It grows in abundant quantities in southern and western United States, as well as in South America. Agave plants possess a large bunch of thick fleshy leaves, with each of them ending in a sharp point.
Agave nectar is said to be 1.4 to 1.6 times sweeter than white sugar. The nectar consists primarily of glucose and fructose. Many diet experts give agave nectar a comparatively lower glycemic index and glycemic load than ordinary sugar.
The agave plant contains saponins and fructans. One of its most important fructan component is inulin, which is believed to help in weight loss due to its ability to decrease appetite and increase satiation. It is also believed to help lower sugar absorption.
The following are the agave nectar benefits attributed to this sweetener:
Agave nectar is believed to aid in weight loss efforts due to its inulin content.
Agave nectar may help in the treatment of wounds and infections due to its reported anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.
Agave nectar may help in fighting inflammation.
On the other hand, there have been concerns expressed that ingesting too much agave nectar may trigger metabolic syndrome, hyperinsulinemia and increased formation of uric acid due to its large fructose content. In addition, some medical experts believe that while agave nectar does indeed contain nutrients and minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, these come in small quantities that do not make a whole lot of difference.
As in any food, the adage of "everything in moderation" does apply to agave nectar.
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