An increasing number of people are concerned about leading a healthier life, with a diet based on natural and organic products, as well as activities that provide the body with vitality and well-being.
In this healthy nutrition scheme, refined sugar, as we consume it, has no place because it is a product that contains empty calories, as they say colloquially. This expression indicates that it is an extremely caloric product but without any nutritional value.
But we all know the expression ” nobody is bitter about a sweet , in the sense that the sweet, in any of its forms, is an attraction for the majority of the population. For this reason, and in order not to have to give up the pleasure of a homemade sweet or of sweetening coffee with milk, we are going to learn a little more about panela , a sweetener widely used in South America and that is gradually being introduced into our homes.
What is panela?
Panela is whole cane sugar that is obtained from the juice of the sugar cane. The production methods are very traditional and basically consist of the successive evaporation of the juice by means of several boils, which when losing moisture and drying crystallizes in the form of large blocks. These blocks are later broken into smaller ones or crushed to get powdered panela, but always through a mechanical process. Therefore, panela is one hundred percent molasses , without any type of chemical agent, which makes it much healthier.
Beneficial properties for health
As it is a natural product, all the nutritional components of the sugar cane continue to be present in the panela , as well as the minerals, amino acids and vitamins. Contrary to what happens with white and brown sugars, which lose these values in the refining process.
These are the qualities that we can highlight, as they are the most beneficial for human consumption:
In panela we can find, in different proportions, vitamins A, B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8 and B9), C, D and E, each of them beneficial for different aspects of the functioning of the organism
Magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron in amounts ranging from 10 to 80 milligrams. In smaller amounts potassium , manganese, zinc, copper, fluorine and selenium. It is important to note that panela can act as an effective anticaries for two reasons. The presence of phosphorus and calcium, fundamental in the dental structure when it is developing, and the alkaline cations of potassium, magnesium and calcium, which can neutralize the acidity of the oral flora. This makes panela a highly recommended sweetener in sweets consumed by children.
With these amounts we can say that 100 grams of panela represents 15% of the recommended daily amount of vitamins and minerals in an adult person. But we must bear in mind that, despite all these benefits and its advantage over refined sugar, panela cannot be considered a food as such, since the amount we consume is so small that the contribution made to body of vitamins and minerals is insignificant.
Panela has a composition of 83% sucrose and a smaller percentage of other sugars, such as glucose and fructose (6% of each).
The use of panela in the kitchen
Panela is a highly recommended sweetener, because in addition to the nutritional properties that we have seen, it gives dishes a beautiful caramel color due to the molasses. At the same time, it is highly appreciated by vegan and vegetarian consumers, as it lacks chemical additives as it has not undergone a refinement process.
As a sweetener, it can be used as a substitute for white sugar in all culinary preparations, always bearing in mind that the amount of panela should be more or less half that of refined sugar , due to its high sweetening power.
We can conclude by saying that panela is, of all the sugars on the market, the most natural and the only one that is whole cane sugar in its entirety. When we buy a block of pamela we have the certainty that we are buying real cane molasses, without any added chemical substance or, in the worst case, dyed white sugar. As it is not refined, it has a greater sweetening power, so a less amount is necessary to achieve the same effect.
Despite the advantages that we have seen of panela compared to refined sugars (white and brown) we must be cautious with its consumption, since it is a fast assimilation sugar that is responsible for increasing energy but often ends becoming fat accumulated in our body. We must consider panela a condiment for our desserts and use it in its proper measure.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.