Monk fruit is one fruit that is not colorful or catchy to the eyes. Luscious and colorful fruits like lemons, oranges, apples, and the likes are more likely to draw your attention at the grocery store. But recently, it seems the monk fruit is gaining much more attention than ever before. People are talking more and more because of its zero carbs and zero-calorie content despite its sweet taste. The health benefits of monk fruit are truly amazing.
Diabetic patients, sugar-free enthusiasts, and all health-conscious foodies are taking monk fruit and monk fruit sweeteners very seriously. You can join the trend too. Find out how monk fruit may be beneficial to your health.
Monk fruit was first cultivated by monks in southern China several hundreds of years ago. Its native name is “lo han guo”. The monk fruit has the appearance of a small-sized green melon. For many years, lo han guo has been used for medicinal purposes in the traditional medicine of the Chinese people.
So, all the recent frenzy about the health benefits of the monk fruit is not new to them. But then, now that its health benefits have become an open secret, the mainstream health and wellness professionals are beginning to give more attention to this amazing fruit.
What You Should Know About Monk Fruit
The first cultivators of the monk fruit were Buddhist monks (the luóhàn monks). That is where it derives its names from. The Chinese name, ‘Lo han guo’ from luóhàn, and the English name, ‘monk fruit’ comes from the fact that they were monks.
Monk fruits are not so easy to spot on the products/fruits aisles at convenience or grocery stores. Its look mimics the pious identity of its original cultivators. There is nothing flashy or catch about the fruit. It has a ‘sober’ appearance.
Another thing with the monk fruits is that you may likely not find fresh monk fruits in your locality. It is very selective about where it can grow.
Monk fruits only grow in subtropical regions that are nearer to the mountains. So if you live far away from the mountains, getting fresh monk fruits may be a dream, or at best, a fantasy. More so, monk fruits tend to go stale quite quickly after they are harvested.
It is quite amazing that even to date, only about 30 percent of monk fruits in the world are grown outside northern Thailand and southern China. The larger percentage of monk fruits in the world is still grown in its native origin.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), experts have for many decades used monk fruit as a potent healing product. They use it to treat different ailments. They also use it as a longevity aid.
Furthermore, monk fruit is much sweeter than sugar, yet it has zero carbs and no-calorie content. So a lot of people use it as an alternative sweetener.
‘Lo han guo’ sweetener blend can be added to just about anything. You can add it to your coffee, iced tea, hot tea, sauces, desserts, smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal.
Monk fruits are also a very good component of low-carb meal plans and diet programs. You can also use it in keto snacks, protein powders, low-calorie creams, and so on.
The Health Benefits of Monk Fruit
Monk fruits have the following benefits:
They are good for managing diabetes
There is a natural compound in monk fruits called mogrosides. This compound is responsible for its sweetness. Mogrosides are very safe for people with diabetes. It doesn’t cause an increase in your blood sugar levels.
But then, don’t assume that every monk fruit product is sugar-free. Some drinks and foods that have monk fruit sweeteners may also have added sugars.
They may also contain other ingredients that may increase your calories and carb counts. These ingredients may also affect your insulin sensitivity.
They help to enhance weight loss
There are no carbs, calories, fat in monk fruits. So, if you are watching your waistline, monk fruits would be a very good option. You would save a lot of carbs and calories by simply using monk fruit sweetener instead of table sugar.
But again, you should make sure that the product you consume does not include any added sugars. Products that contain butter or chocolate may not be safe even if they contain monk fruits.
Monk fruits have anti-inflammatory properties
Monk fruits have, for a long time, been used by TCM to make medications in the form of hot drinks to reduce phlegm and get rid of sore throats. This is because mogrosides have anti-inflammatory properties.
Cancer may be caused by various environmental factors. Oxidative stress, nutrient deficiencies, carcinogens, respiratory perfusion, and many more factors can contribute to cancer development and growth.
Thankfully, mogrosides can inhibit carcinogens’ effects on the body. They can also inhibit the growth of cancer cells and suppress some forms of cancer.
Other possible health benefits that monk fruits can offer are as follows:
- Antioxidant properties
- Anti-aging properties
- Anti-fibrotic effects
- Enhances heart health
- Liver protection
- Reduces fatigue
- Antihistamine properties
- Improves immunity
Should You Worry About Any Side Effects?
As of now, experts are yet to discover any side effects of monk fruits or its extracts. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes monk fruits as one of the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) (GRAS) substances.
Monk fruits are safe for consumption, even for children and pregnant women and children. Experts who studied to know the side effects of monk fruits say it does not have any toxic effect on the human body.
Even when you take very large amounts of monk fruits, it remains non-toxic. It does not have any negative effects on the body. The only thing that experts are yet to find out is if the long-term consumption of monk fruits has any side effects.
The health benefits of monk fruit are nothing short of amazing. You should consider getting rid of table sugar and using monk fruit sweetener instead.