Do you have a sweet spot for soda and fruit juice? Try coconut water or sugarcane juice for a healthier alternative. These drinks are naturally sweetened, so they don’t depend on added sugars. You’ll also skip out on preservatives, food dyes, and other mysterious chemicals.
Artificial sweeteners also won’t be an issue. These additives don’t satisfy the same taste pathways as sugar, so your craving for sugar will only grow. It’s not the wisest move.
To top things off, coconut water and sugarcane juice offer a myriad of benefits. Here’s why you should ditch soda and fruit juice for these all-natural drinks.
What’s Wrong With Soda And Fruit Juice?
It all comes down to added sugar, one of the biggest offenders of the Western diet. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, daily intake of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart ailments. Yet, each day, Americans consume an average of 151 calories’ worth of sugar-sweetened beverages. Adults between 18 and 34 years of age drink the most. Soda and fruit juices aren’t the only problems, though. Bottled iced tea, flavored water, and lemonade are just as dangerous.1
Benefits Of Coconut Water
Coconut water is the clear liquid in coconuts. It’s becoming more popular by the day, so you should have no problem finding coconut water in stores. Just be sure to buy one that doesn’t use added sugars.
1. Replenishes Electrolytes
After a workout, forget those bright sports drinks. A 2012 study found that coconut water can successfully re-hydrate the body. It works just as well as carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages, minus the nausea, fullness, and stomach upset.2
Are you dehydrated from diarrhea, vomiting, or a brutal hangover? Reach for coconut water, aptly known as “Mother Nature’s sports drink”!
2. Relieves Inflammation
Are you suffering from an inflammatory disease? Coconut is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, but its water is no different. Young coconut water is more effective than the mature kind, but both have awesome benefits.3
3. Improves Digestion
Sip on some coconut water if you’re struggling with constipation. One cup has 2.6 grams of fiber, a carbohydrate that promotes healthy bowel movements. As an added bonus, the fiber in coconut water will promote satiety. You’ll be less likely to feel hungry later on.4It’ll help you reach the daily recommendation of 20 to 30 grams a day.5
Benefits Of Sugarcane Juice
When sugarcane is peeled and crushed, the result is sugarcane juice. However, it’s not always made in the most sanitary conditions, so buy it from a reputable source.6
1. Fights Oxidative Stress
Fruits and veggies aren’t the only sources of antioxidants. Sugarcane juice is full of it! According to a 2014 study in Food Chemistry, this tasty drink fights off free radicals. In turn, DNA is protected from oxidative damage.7
2. Lowers Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, the top cause of death in America.8 However, the policosanols in sugarcane juice may help! These plant chemicals have been shown to reduce both total and “bad” LDL cholesterol.9
3. Improves Kidney Function
Can’t seem to pee? Sugarcane is a diuretic. When regularly consumed, it helps kidneys work their best by encouraging urination. Traditionally, lime juice and ginger juice is added for greater effects.10
If you’re not ready to give up soda and fruit juice, make a slow transition. Replace 1 or 2 servings each week with coconut water or sugarcane juice. From there, gradually increase the frequency. Try making fruit-infused drinks or smoothies for even more flavor.
|↑1||Kumar, Gayathri S., Liping Pan, Sohyun Park, Seung Hee Lee-Kwan, Stephen Onufrak, and Heidi M. Blanck. “Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adults—18 states, 2012.” MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 63, no. 32 (2014): 686-90.|
|↑2||Saat, Mohamed, Rabindarjeet Singh, Roland Gamini Sirisinghe, and Mohd Nawawi. “Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water.” Journal of physiological anthropology and applied human science 21, no. 2 (2002): 93-104.|
|↑3||Rao, Sadia Saleem, and Rahila Najam. “Coconut water of different maturity stages ameliorates inflammatory processes in model of inflammation.” Journal of intercultural ethnopharmacology 5, no. 3 (2016): 244.|
|↑4||Basic Report: 12119, Nuts, coconut water (liquid from coconuts). United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑5||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑6||Richa, Karmakar, A. K. Ghosh, and Gangopadhyay Hiranmoy. “Study on the nutritional and microbiological changes of sugarcane juice and determination of optimum conditions during pasteurization.” Asian Journal of Food and Agro-Industry 3, no. 4 (2010): 453-461.|
|↑7||Abbas, Syed Rizwan, Syed Mubashar Sabir, Syed Dilnawaz Ahmad, Aline Augusti Boligon, and Margareth Linde Athayde. “Phenolic profile, antioxidant potential and DNA damage protecting activity of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum).” Food chemistry 147 (2014): 10-16.|
|↑8||Cholesterol Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑9, ↑10||Singh, Amandeep, Uma Ranjan Lal, Hayat Muhammad Mukhtar, Prabh Simran Singh, Gagan Shah, and Ravi Kumar Dhawan. “Phytochemical profile of sugarcane and its potential health aspects.” Pharmacognosy reviews 9, no. 17 (2015): 45.|