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Jay's Information HomePage - Let Food Be Your Medicine...

AGAVE NECTAR - THE MIRACLE SWEETENER

 

Tequila’s blue agave may help lose weight and lower cholesterol

MEXICO CITY - Scientists from Mexico's tequila producing region say juice extracted from the blue agave plant, best known when distilled into the fiery spirit, may help dieters shed pounds and cut cholesterol.  Sadly for the world's growing band of tequila lovers, agave's possible health benefits are lost when the plant is distilled into alcohol.  Spiky agave plants have been cultivated on Mexico's arid central highlands for thousands of years. But more than anything the plant is known for what Spanish invaders called "tequila wine."  Now however, researchers from the University of Guadalajara, close to the town of Tequila, the cradle of Mexico's famous alcoholic export, say the plant's powers go beyond inducing euphoric highs followed by crushing hangovers. "The structure of agave contains, among other things, substances known as fructans," Dr Jorge Segura, who is leading the investigation, told Reuters,  "Fructans reduce cholesterol (and) alter the absorption of fat in the intestine, at least in animals." Segura said he was confident his team of 20 researchers would have similar results during their 18-month study on humans, launched this week. Inulin, a type of fructan, is a carbohydrate found in many plants, including asparagus. Some scientists believe inulin helps weight loss.  There are many kinds of agave through out Mexico; however the Blue Agave flourishes in volcanic soil.  Although Tequila and Mezcal and its other variants are made all over Mexico and through out the world, the mountainous state of Jalisco, Mexico is its birthplace.  The primary reason for this is that soil in that region comes from the old volcanoes that make up the mountain range.  If you ever get an opportunity to visit take special notice at the soil. It shimmers like glitter from all of the nutrients. The Blue Agaves are more hearty and plentiful here than anywhere else in the world. Incidentally there’s a town in Jalisco near the city of Guadalajara called Tequila. The name agave comes from the Greek word for 'noble.' Organic agave nectar (and tequila) is made from the sap from hearts (piņas) of the plant. This plant is actually related to the lily and amaryllis (it has its own genus, Agave). It is known as a succulent and, although it shares a common habitat with many cacti, it is not one itself and has a different life cycle. A mature agave has leaves 5-8 feet tall, and is 7-12 feet in diameter. It has a lifespan of 8-15 years, depending on species, growing conditions and climate.  With only 25 calories and 6g of carbs per tablespoon this is a great natural sweetener. The agaves reproduce both sexually and asexually naturally but those involved in alcohol production are never allowed to reach sexual maturity.  At the on set of sexual maturity the agave produces a flowering spike in the middle of the agave.  But the agave farmers sever this spike, and all the plants nutrients and energy that would have gone in to making flowers and seeds is then redirected.  This redirection is back into the heart of the plant and at this time they are harvested. The agaves are cut free from their root base and the sword like leaves are removed from the central stem.  It is at this point that the agaves take on a new descriptive name of piņa (because they look like big pineapples).  Organic agave nectar is a natural product that can sweeten any type of beverage or food. It is derived from the carbohydrates present in the agave plant through a totally natural heating process with no chemicals involved. To produce organic agave nectar, juice is expressed from the core of the agave (the piņa). The juice is then filtered to create agave nectar. The agave nectar has the natural solids removed through a fine filtration process, creating a liquid that can be used in recipes that require a more neutral base that can be colored.  The agave nectar is then heated, causing thermic hydrolysis which breaks down the carbohydrates into sugars. The main carbohydrate is a complex form of fructose called inulin or fructosan. The filtered juice is concentrated to a syrup-like liquid a little thinner than honey but much better for you.  Fructose is a simple sugar found mainly in fruits and vegetables, thus, a smaller amount yields the same sweetness but fewer calories than sucrose. This gives agave nectar advantages in both the food industry and the health of the consumer.

Comment: - I have one in my back yard! I persaonally don't use any added sweeteners in anything except if I make a cashew milk based ice cream and there I use Xylitol..  My wife uses the agave in her coffee, she loves it.  The best value for this miracle sweetener is at Amazon!Madhava is the best quality and value. Click on the link below and see for yourself-

http://www.amazon.com/Madhava-Nectar-Organic-17-Ounce-Bottles/dp/B000FMTJL4/sr=8-1/qid=1164219124/ref=sr_1_1/002-5745690-8842420?ie=UTF8&s=grocery 

The best sugar alcohol is Xylitol.  It fights bacteria and is a 7 on the Glycemic Index, oh, did I mention that it tastes incredible? - Check this out-

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol