Sugarcane juice can easily be passed off as just a delicious sweet drink. But, it is much more than just “sugar water.”
Sugarcane juice is widely sold on just about every street corner in India and is known to be an all-encompassing health booster. Its recognition as a natural cure for many ailments is growing around the world as its benefits become clearer.
So, what’s in sugarcane juice, and what are the specific benefits behind its superfood status?
What is Sugarcane Juice?
Sugarcane juice comes from sugarcane, a perennial grass grown in Thailand, Australia, North and South Africa, Mexico, and Guatemala. The major producers of sugarcane, however, include India and Brazil.
The green cloudy liquid is ground from the cane of the plant by using a pressing machine and is then filtered and sold typically as a juice. But it is also used as a base for rum. It is made up of mostly water, followed by sucrose and fiber.
Refined sugar is the major commercial product of sugarcane juice. However, brown sugar, molasses, and jaggery are also produced and sold as popular byproducts of sugarcane. In addition, its wax is used in some cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.
Sugarcane juice is becoming a popular drink around the world not only because of its sweet taste, but also for its high concentrations of antioxidants and minerals including calcium, potassium, and iron.
It has an abundance of vitamins too, such as vitamin A and vitamin C. The sugar in this drink is not the same as that of processed white or even brown sugar available in most grocery stores. It sits low on the glycemic index, making it a good option for weight loss or weight management.
The ‘roots’ of the juice run deep in the Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine in India. It’s intuitively used as a medicinal product on its own or in conjunction with other plant products to treat sickness.
And so, sugarcane juice is a nutritional powerhouse and a useful weapon against many common illnesses and diseases.
Benefits of Sugarcane Juice:
Alpha hydroxy acids in sugarcane juice help fight acne and reduce blemishes. Phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and antioxidants work in combination to prevent aging and keep skin hydrated.
The star in its makeup is glycolic acid. The acid exfoliates the skin, accelerates cell turnover, and enhances collagen production. Also, glycolic acid assists in clearing pores and smoothing wrinkles while improving overall skin tone.
2. Pre/Post-Workout Drink
If you’re going to be running a marathon or heading to the gym, a glass of sugarcane juice is a smart way to prepare or recover. Chinnadurai writes that freshly-pressed sugarcane juice rehydrates and provides instant energy thanks to its supply of minerals and electrolytes.
A cup contains phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, and E. Every 100 grams of sugarcane juice is 269 calories and nine grams of carbohydrates; it’s low in fat and high in carbs. The juice is also high in fiber and sodium.
3. Surgical Recovery
This would also be a smart supplement to take following surgery to recover lost nutrients from blood loss. Your C-reactive protein levels are high after surgery meaning you have acute inflammation in the body.
Sugarcane juice helps you to reduce that inflammation and heal, which also helps manage the side effects of medication. Because of its extraordinary foundation of antioxidants, the juice is effective for fever since it enhances the proteins already present in the body.
The juice is not only rich in potassium but also high in fiber. This makes it ideal as a constipation remedy as both are essential to a healthy bowel movement. If you can find raw sugarcane to chew on, that is one of the ideal ways to extract the juice for this purpose.
5. Weight loss
Since the juice is full of polyphenols that reduce inflammation and increase energy, it’s an effective addition to a weight loss regimen.
Compounds like quercetin, ellagic acid, and caffeic acid help reduce swelling and lower blood sugar. The juice also has zero fat but is high in carbs to provide the energy needed to work out, go on a long walk, or finish a hike. The juice may also cut cholesterol levels.
Believe it or not, the naturally sweet juice is not harmful to most diabetics. The reason lies in its origin – it comes from pressing the canes of grass, which keeps it low on the glycemic scale at 43.
So its sweetness comes from naturally occurring sugar. Also, juice is a complex carbohydrate that is metabolized in the liver. Thus, it breaks down and enters the bloodstream slowly. I know, no sugar rush. You stay energized longer.
The beverage is considered to be naturally effective in cleansing the kidneys and thus, helps keep the kidneys working at optimum function.
8. Kidney Stones
Sugarcane juice is thought to help with gallstones because of its diuretic effect, which prevents gallstones from forming.
9. Sexually Transmitted Disease
Sugarcane juice offers relief from symptoms of STDs because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Mixed with lime juice and coconut water, it can soothe burning sensations.
According to Chinnadurai, “sugarcane juice has broad biological effects on raising innate immunity to infections.” The beverage is known to quickly boost the immune system, staving off colds, coughs, flu, and other common illnesses.
It is a rich source of Vitamin C, which is a recognized essential nutrient and frequently prescribed supplement for these problems.
Please consult a doctor before starting any diet or meal plan that includes sugarcane juice.
11. Digestive Aid
Sugarcane juice is high in fiber and its alkalinity is said to help in treating acidity and stomach aches.
Studies show a link between some of the phytochemicals in sugarcane juice and the decrease in blood clots in rats. It’s believed the juice acts as a blood thinner.
13. Morning Sickness
Mixed with ginger, the beverage helps relieve nausea symptoms that many pregnant women experience.
A cup twice a day, could help reduce sickness and boost energy. Also, sugarcane juice is full of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron, which are often lacking in expecting mothers.
14. Increase Male Hormones
The juice has been reported to significantly increase testosterone levels and sperm count. This can lead to a rise in sex drive for adults and an improved fertility profile. Some even describe the drink as an aphrodisiac.
The drink has anti-cancer properties found under the skin of the dog called polyphenols. Polyphenols are found in many fruits and vegetables.
Studies show these compounds are aggressive in fighting cancer because they neutralize the free radicals in the body.
In addition, Chinnaraja Chinnadurai, a researcher at the University of the West Indies notes in his book that cancer cannot live in alkaline conditions.
So, sugarcane juice works to reduce alkalinity by introducing high amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese. Chinnadurai says regular consumption of sugarcane juice is “effectively fighting against cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer.”
16. Oral Health
Sugarcane juice prevents tooth decay and bad breath because it consists of minerals like phosphorous and calcium that work to strengthen teeth enamel. So kids can enjoy chewing on a stalk of sugarcane as if it were candy, but they will also be reaping the advantages of its teeth-cleaning abilities.
17. Urinary Tract Infection
The juice can help with dysuria (painful urination) that can be associated with UTIs. Drinking a glass a day can help protect against infection
18. Anuria (urinary disease)
This refers to the lack of urine production, which often accompanies other medical problems. Sugarcane juice supposedly helps prevent this condition by keeping the kidneys in good working order.
This life-threatening disease is caused by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. The compounds in sugarcane juice are thought to fight the resulting infection as well as relieve nausea and other symptoms associated with it.
For years in India, sugarcane juice has been prescribed as a treatment for jaundice. The condition is characterized by yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes due to a high level of bilirubin, a yellow-orange bile pigment.
There are many causes of jaundice, but it is typically a sign of a liver condition. Sufferers are recommended to drink large amounts of sugarcane juice to treat it since the sugar is metabolized in the liver.
Bonus benefit: sugarcane juice is said to be great for hangovers. Alcohol causes an imbalance in liver enzymes, so just drinking a freshly-pressed glass of sugarcane juice daily can give you a greater supply of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. It is a sweet, refreshing way to get in most of your body’s lost nutrients.
Ways to Enjoy Sugarcane Juice:
Sugarcane juice is the national drink of Pakistan after polls showed it to be the favorite drink among about 80 percent of the population. You will find many street vendors make the juice fresh and serve it in a glass with or without ice.
In Egypt, the juice is called as and is sold in juice shops where it is often mixed with lemon juice and fermented.
Other unique flavors added to the drink are kumquat and calamansi – a special combination favored by the Vietnamese.
The people of India, the world’s largest producer of sugarcane juice, prefer to make sugarcane juice with touches of lemon and ginger. Many children in the country are raised chewing on the stalks of the dog, sucking the juice out manually.
Extracting the juice this way is probably the best way to absorb most of the juice’s abundant nutrients.
You can find the drink in many countries sold on the street, in shops, or in restaurants.
But, you can also press your own juice at home by using a simple blender along with a good strainer. There are also specific juicers that can do the job easier, but they can be expensive.
Bottled and canned sugarcane juice is also available.
Sugarcane juice appears to work magic in the human body – a synergy of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Maybe it’s time to introduce this delicious drink back into your regular diet. And it requires very little technology, if any, to make it. Its superfood status is built on its lack of processing, unlike its popular cousin, refined sugar.
Sugarcane juice has major benefits for the kidneys as well as the liver. And there’s no need to add sugar, so the whole family can enjoy it.