In the world of fruits, there are the obvious choices we all know: Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, and others that are found in every neighborhood grocery store. Then there are the exotic choices, the fruits you may not even recognize if you saw them. This list is just as plentiful and includes rare gems like dragon fruit, cupuacu, mangosteen, and the African Horned Cucumber. One notable exotic fruit that has gained popularity in recent years as a healthy sugar substitute is the monk fruit. Learn about this tiny melon and how it’s increasingly becoming a top choice for those who want a healthy sweetener.
Getting to Know the Monk Fruit - a Brief Overview
If you’ve never heard of the monk fruit, you’re not alone. Rare in terms of its benefits and location, monk fruit has been grown in the mountains of Southern China for centuries. The name comes from the legend that it was first cultivated by monks over 800 years ago. Cultures local to the monk fruit are known to use it in beverages and cooking due to its low-calories and the fact that its juice is 20 times sweeter than sugar.
Ever Seen a Monk Fruit?
Would you recognize a monk fruit? Resembling a walnut in size and color, monk fruits are typically about 5 cm across in diameter. While they have an outer rind that is bitter, the inner pulp is known to be much sweeter than even sugar, which is remarkable since it has only a fraction of the calories. Although monk fruits were exclusive to China and Thailand for many years, their rise in popularity means you may soon see them in a local supermarket.
Monk Fruit as a Replacement for Sugar
With all of the sweet fruits available, why would monk fruit be chosen as a replacement for sugar? The main reason for this is a combination of its high content of sweetness and it’s lack of empty calories. But it’s not a large amount of typical sugar that is the cause of the monk fruit’s sweetness - their sweetness is due to another factor entirely: antioxidants.
The Mysterious Monk Fruit - The Secret to Their Sweetness
Unlike most fruits, the monk fruit doesn’t get its sweetness from a high sugar content - in fact, it’s a very low-calorie food. In the case of the monk fruit, its extraordinarily sweet flavor comes from antioxidants known as mogrosides. These ultra-sweet mogrosides not only provide the unique flavor of monk fruit, but they’re processed differently by our bodies resulting in more benefits and far fewer calories.
A Superfruit with Many Health Benefits
The term “superfruit” implies that the food is a fruit that holds numerous benefits for the body rather than just one or two. You’ll soon see that monk fruits are a prime example of a superfruit, as they offer benefits that range from cancer prevention properties to being excellent for weight loss. Explore these benefits to see why monk fruit is a worthy food to include in anyone’s pantry.
1. Weight Loss Benefits
With maximum flavor and far fewer calories than sugar, monk fruit is phenomenal for those who are trying to slim down. Considering that monk fruit can be purchased as a sugar substitute in powder form, it’s very easy to add it to your favorite foods and recipes for a flavorful sugar alternative that won’t wreak havoc on your waistline.
2. Great for Immunity and Anti-aging
One major nutrient that is found in monk fruit is vitamin C. Best known for its immunity-boosting properties, vitamin C is also instrumental in the production of collagen, the protein that is responsible for holding our skin together. Since we naturally stop producing collagen in our 20’s, this extra vitamin C is excellent for stimulating it’s production and slowing the aging process.
3. Anti-inflammatory Properties
In its home country of China, monk fruit has been used for centuries as a cooling additive to medicines and foods. As an effective treatment for inflamed joints, fever, and heat stroke, monk fruit is one of the most anti-inflammatory foods known to man. It’s the special antioxidants in monk fruit that make it phenomenal at preventing inflammation throughout your body.
4. Proven to Boost Energy Levels and Reduce Fatigue
A recent study on exercising mice showed that they were able to keep up their physical activity longer after ingesting monk fruit extract. Given that the name in China for monk fruit was “the longevity fruit”, perhaps the results of this study should come as no surprise. Another way it will lead to more energy is in the lack of crashes associated with sugar consumption.
Ready to Make Monk Fruit a Part of Your Low Sugar Diet?
With benefits that justify its status as a superfruit and an unforgettable flavor that is sweeter than sugar, the monk fruit is a rare, nutritious food that is great for staying in shape. If you workout regularly, it’s anti-inflammable properties will be immensely useful, and the lack of extra calories will be advantageous for anyone who wants to stay fit and slim. Ultimately, there are so many excellent reasons to try monk fruit that it’s easy to see why we use it to sweeten our Bhu Foods Protein Bars, Chocolate Chips, and Protein Cookies.