Sugarcane juice

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014


“A THOUGHT, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

So is it possible to have a life beyond sugar in Negros Occidental? Is it possible to shatter the provincial economy’s dependence on refined sugar?
Why not? One of the treats I get when I visit Ongpin Street in the Binondo Chinatown District in Manila is to drink sugarcane juice.

Alas, the sweet and health juice is marked more by its absence in Negros Occidental, purportedly the Sugarlandia of the Philippines.

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Not anymore. Now I can afford to stay in Bacolod and drink the truly health drink that can transform the way we think of refreshments to cool us in the summer heat.

Drink sugarcane juice. Salud. To our health! The liquid is cheap and relatively inexpensive.

In fact, the product is often marketed as a health drink. Sugarcane juice is far better than soft drinks and the so-called energy drinks.

Compare a 6.5-ounce cup of coffee that contains 80 to 120 milligrams of caffeine. Or of tea, with roughly 50 mg, and a 12-ounce cola with 65 mg.

But get this. Energy drinks have significantly higher amounts. A 16-ounce can of Red Bull, for example, contains a whopping 154 mg of caffeine.

Excessive caffeine has been linked to a variety of adverse effects such as high blood pressure, premature birth and possibly sudden death, as published in the US journal Pediatrics.

In contrast, the juice of sugarcane has a high potency equivalent to wheatgrass juice, only with less chlorophyll and more sugar content.

However, sugarcane juice contains only about a mere 15 percent total sugar content, all of which is in a raw unrefined form.

The remainder of the juice consists of water brimming with an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Sugarcane is rich in calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.

Moreover, the juice contains iron and vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6, plus a high concentration of phytonutrients (including chlorophyll), antioxidants, proteins, soluble fiber and numerous other health supportive compounds.

Working together, these nutrients provide a supremely health-promoting food which has been studied for its role in fighting cancer, stabilizing blood sugar levels in diabetics, assisting in weight loss, reducing fevers, clearing the kidneys, preventing tooth decay, and a host of other health benefits.

Amazing, huh? So what prevents sugarcane juice from getting a bigger market?

It’s short self-life. It can’t be preserved for long time. According to organic chef Ronnie Guance of organic restaurant Señor Cocinero, the longest that sugarcane juice can last is two days. If a consumer wants to extend its life, one has to put the liquid in the freezer.

But it maybe can stay just one day. Often when I go there at about 4 p.m., the juice has been sold out.

So if you have a sweet tooth and want to stay healthy, go for sugarcane juice. Two of Bacolod’s organic restaurants are selling the truly health drink.

***

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 26, 2014.

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