Agave is a plant that is native to hot and arid regions. This plant possesses large blue-green, leathery leaves that can span up to 8 feet long. It is used to create a wide array of things, from food items to non food items. Some uses for the agave plant include ropes, sleeping mats, and sandals. It is also used to make tequila, and best of all, agave nectar.
Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that is made from the fluids found inside of the agave plant. It is a delicious sugar substitute that has grown more and more popular over the years. You can often find agave syrup inside of your smoothie from your local smoothie shop. If you don’t already know of the benefits of agave, we will let you know about a few important ones that you should keep in mind whenever you order your next agave sweetened smoothie!
How Can You Consume Agave?
Agave can be consumed in a number of different ways.
Agave nectar is made from the liquid found inside of the agave plant. This juice is extracted and filtered, and then heated until the components break down into fructose. It is then concentrated and turned into agave syrup, which is also known as “nectar.” Agave syrup can be used in anything that needs sweetening. It can be used on oatmeal, tea, and in desserts. Anywhere you would use a typical sweetener, you can replace it with agave.
Agave can sometimes be found in smoothies, in part because of the benefits that it offers. On top of the sweet flavor that is even more concentrated than honey, it has some health benefits that you can’t get from using other sweeteners. A smoothie is already quite nutrient dense, so adding agave as a sweetener only makes it better. It can only benefit you to take in more nutrients whenever you enjoy a healthy, fruity drink.
What are the Benefits of Agave?
Consuming agave comes with many unexpected benefits.
Agave use offers many different benefits. Most sweeteners aren’t exactly full of nutrients, and while agave isn’t completely packed with nutrients itself, it contains far more than the average sugar source. Having small amounts of nutrients is definitely more beneficial to none. Aside from that, agave offers a low glycemic index, lower calories, and immune boosting properties.
Low Glycemic Index
The Glycemic Index measures the effects that carbohydrates have on blood sugar levels. Carbs that have a high glycemic index break down quickly during the digestive process, something that causes glucose to release very quickly into the bloodstream. Since agave nectar has a low glycemic index, it causes glucose to release very slowly into the bloodstream. This helps to keep energy levels balanced rather than bringing on an energy spike that eventually leads to a crash.
Lower Calorie Intake
Agave doesn’t have any less calories than regular sugar. It actually has slightly more sugar than other sweeteners. Despite that, people who use agave nectar tend to take in less calories overall because a lot less of it is needed compared to other sweeteners. Agave is one of the sweetest sweeteners out there, so you will not need to use very much of it to make a drink taste sweet. This leads to an overall lower intake of calories all while you still have a wonderfully sweet drink.
Unlike sugar, which is full of empty calories, agave nectar contains several beneficial vitamins. It has small traces of vitamins B2 (Riboflavin), B6 (Pyridoxine), B9 (Folic Acid), and vitamin K. These vitamins help to support your body’s immune system. Vitamin B2 helps to break down proteins, carbs, and fats. It helps to maintain a healthy liver as well as eyes, muscles, and skin.
Vitamin B6 promotes lymphocyte and hemoglobin production, as well as maintains normal levels of amino acids in the blood. It also helps your metabolism since vitamin B6 plays a role in how the body breaks down foods. It can help protect against strokes and heart disease. Vitamin B9 helps to produce healthy red blood cells and aids in proper fetal development during pregnancy. Vitamin K helps to prevent excessive bleeding by helping blood to clot. It is also connected to a lower risk of depression.
Agave offers a small benefit from the trace minerals it contains. It has a bit of potassium, calcium, and selenium. Potassium helps to maintain a normal level of fluid within our cells. It activates various cell and nerve functions and supports normal blood pressure levels. Calcium is a mineral needed to maintain strong bones. It is mostly concentrated in our bones and teeth. Selenium helps to protect your body from damage that could be caused by oxidative stress. It plays a large role in thyroid function and boosts the immune system.
Agave contains many phytonutrients, which are natural chemical compounds that have antioxidant properties when ingested. Antioxidants help prevent your body’s cells from incurring damage from free radicals. This damage happens slowly over time. Free radicals have been found to play a large role in harmful illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and so much more.
When you get in line for your next smoothie, make sure to keep in mind all the benefits you can get from drinking smoothies sweetened with agave. Then you will be able to look forward to enjoying a delicious smoothie and keeping your body healthy as you wait in line!