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Sugarcane Juice for Health and Energy

Posted by Andrea Lizares Si on November 26, 2010 at 8:44 AM

One of the treats that my Chinese husband looks forward to when we're anywhere near Ongpin is a refreshing ice-cold glass of sugarcane juice. Freshly squeezed cane juice is a very popular drink in India, China, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and other places where sugarcane is grown. Fresh cane juice is even available in Great Britain, which doesn't produce sugarcane at all. Given this healthy juice's demand in other countries, it is sad that most Negrenses have not tried sugarcane juice, although more than 60% of the province's land area is planted to sugarcane.


Cane Juice Display in Ongpin. Photo from blowingpeachkisses.blogspot.com


The last time Manuel and I were in Ongpin, our cane juice vendor celebrated its 10th or 15th anniversary by giving a free glass of juice for every glass purchased. While draining our two glasses of ice cold juice, we saw many tall, athletic types dropping in one after the other to buy 4 or more one liter bottles of frozen cane juice. Their fondness for cane juice can't mean anything except that they know by personal experience how good the juice as a source of instant energy, and to maximize endurance and performance in sports. Being a fan of ice cold cane juice after long hot walks in Manila, it's easy to see why athletes also prefer to have a bottle of cane juice for rehydrating. I'm not a nutritionist but Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have long known about the benefits of sugarcane juice. The internet has so many references on its health benefits that we really should be drinking sugarcane juice instead of soft drinks and other artificial drinks. So you'll know, I've listed some of the benefits that sugarcane juice is known to have, together with links to the source so that you can do your own research.


Calories and Nutrients: Sugarcane juice has 36 calories per 100 g. compared with 55 calories for Apple and Grape juice, 58 for Mango, 52 for Pineapple, and 44 for Orange juice. The juice is also rich with iron, phosphorus, potassium, vit. A, B1, B2, B3, & C, Calcium, & Chromium. Beverage Calories (KCal) /100g 55 Apple Juice 55 Grape Juice 58 Mango Juice 48 Orange Juice 52 Pineapple juice 36 Sugar Cane juice 17 Tomato Juice (Source of info on calories webindia123.com)


As early as the first century, Chinese court officials documented how cane juice helps in the rapid metabolization of alcohol. Buddhist texts translated into Chinese in the 4th and 5th centuries described the pharmacological properties of the eight juices, one of which was sugarcane. The 12th century Thang Shuang Phu claimed that sugarcane dissolves phlegm, quenches thirst, and relieves fevers and headaches. The Pen Tshao Kang Mu (16th century) says sugarcane can replenish the spleen, is beneficial to the large intestine, and is thirst quenching. Sugarcane juice, boiled with grain and made into gruel, when taken on an empty stomach was said to cure cough, fever, dry mouth, dry tongue, thick and sticky nasal mucus, vomit, and other ailments. (Science and Civilization in China, Volume 6, Part 3)


In Taipei, heated sugarcane juice is vended as a cure for sore throats and colds during the winter months. (Ibid)


To cure Jaundice, Ayurvedic medicine says: Plenty of this juice can be given to the patient, to promote more urination as well as for nutrition and general health. (free-herbal-medicines.com) Liver: Sugarcane juice is recommended for the nutrition of the liver and for general health (Food for the Liver:Good Food to Cleanse Your Liver Naturally) A website on Diet, Nutrition, and Exercise mentions that sugar cane is one product that will help to strengthen the liver. Because it is alkaline, sugarcane juice helps maintain low acid levels in the body, making it particularly useful for those who are suffering from liver disease. Furthermore, the liver that is infected benefits from the revitalizing energy obtained from a natural, harmless and strong product such as sugar cane juice. Those who need to be on a diet with extremely limited carbohydrates, can also use sugar cane as one of their sources of carbohydrates and energy. (Sugarcane Juice and Treatment for Jaundice Bilirubin Levels)


On Hypothyroidism the great Ayurvedic physician named ‘Charaka’ said hypothyroidism does not attack those who consume adequate quantities of milk, old rice, barley, green grams, Bengal grams, sugarcane juice, cucumber and other milk products. (from Hypothyroidism - an Ayurvedic Approach by Raj Kumar)


For Urinary Infection, among the home remedies recommended is a diet that should include lime juice, orange juice, sugarcane juice, apple, grapes, pineapple and other fresh fruits. Replacement of aerated/carbonated drinks with fresh juices is advised. Lemon juice, carrot juice, tender coconut water and sugarcane juice consumed on a regular basis can help control urinary infection. Half a cup of radish juice two times daily can also help. Liquid food (not carbonated drinks) in almost all forms is beneficial to treat urinary infection. (Urinary Tract Infection: Precautions and Ayurvedic Remedies)


Constipation can be naturally cured by drinking sugarcane juice. Besides, one can also regularly take the vegetables and papaya, to contain constipation. (Digestive System "Chronic constipation" Causes, Treatment, Symptoms, and Dietary Regimen.) The cane and the juice serve as a mild laxative because of the potassium content.


Goitre patients should consume plenty of the following foods: Old rice, barley, moong dal, patola, drumstick, cucumber, sugarcane, juice, milk and milk products. Also, one should refrain from heavy foods such as meats or breads that are more difficult to swallow, and will cause pain. Goitre Remedies/Natural Cure/Ayurvedic Goitre Treatment


For Wrinkles - Sugarcane Juice and Turmeric: Take two teaspoon of sugarcane juice and add pinch of turmeric into it. Apply this on the face and keep for about ten minutes. This is very effective way of curing wrinkles. (Home Remedies for Wrinkles, SBM Ayur Care)


In Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Sugarcanes as well as in many other blogs, among the benefits of sugarcane and cane juice which are listed are:


* Sugarcane has a low glycemic index (the effect a carbohydrate has on blood glucose levels), which means it is good for keeping the body's metabolism healthy and for maintaining a healthy body weight. Even diabetics can enjoy sugarcane juice without fear, although type 2 diabetics must limit their intake.

* Sugarcane juice has been found to be good for those who are suffering from febrile disorders (responsible for causing fevers), which can result in a great amount of protein loss from the body. Liberal consumption of sugar cane juice provides the necessary protein and other food elements to the body. (Other references: Sugar Cane Juice is a Natural health Drink.

* Being alkaline, cane juice moderates and neutralizes the body's acidity, enhancing immunity and helping the body against cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer.

* Sugarcane is believed to strengthen stomach, kidneys, heart, eyes, brain, and sex organs. It helps the kidney perform its functions smoothly and is said to be beneficial for patients suffering from gonorrhoea, enlarged prostate, cyctitis and nepthritis.


Antioxidants: A study mentioned in sciencedirect.com indicates that sugarcane has good antioxidant properties and has the ability to scavenge free radicals, and inhibit lipid peroxidation, possibly explaining why sugarcane juice is so good for the health.


Making Sugarcane Juice Available in Negros: Chinese everywhere are big fans of sugarcane juice so Manuel purchased a juicer so he could share his favorite juice with Negrenses. As we're not yet producing very much, Manuel himself washes the cane and cuts away roots and dirty, open, or damaged parts. He does not remove the rind although this will result in juice that is lighter in color. Not only is cutting off the rind time-consuming, research shows that the majority of valuable sugarcane extracts, including antioxidants, are concentrated in the rind (Source: Anti-oxidants and Other Functional Extracts from Sugarcane).


After cleaning the cane, Manuel passes cane stalks through our juicer's stainless steel rollers. The pure, unadulterated juice collects in a stainless steel pan under the rollers and is immediately bottled or placed in a jug then refrigerated or frozen to keep the juice from spoiling.



Serving Sugarcane Juice: Manuel's friends love their cane juice with a lot of ice to cool and dilute the juice. My Kapampangan sister-in-law freezes the cane juice in a wide mouthed container (a used ice cream plastic container will do) and enjoys sugarcane slush when the juice is partially frozen. I don't mind drinking the juice cold and pure in a small juice glass that makes every drop of the juice ever so tasty and refreshing. Another sister-in-law can't have cold drinks so she dilutes the juice with water. I've tried adding calamansi in a proportion usual for calamansi juice. Nice and a chemical reaction occurs so that the cane juice turns orange. The juice ends up tasting like calamansi juice, though so instead of having a glass of sugarcane juice and a glass of calamansi, after all the work of juicing the sugarcane and the calamansi, all I had was a glass of calamansi juice. What should be interesting to try is cane juice with calamansi and ginger. Sounds like this will be great for colds and sore throats, the juice served warm or hot, of course.


WHERE TO BUY SUGARCANE JUICE IN BACOLOD: Manuel's fresh or frozen sugarcane juice is sold by the glass (with ice) or by 500 ml bottles of pure juice in our daughter's foodstall, Ni's Arista Treats in the 2nd floor of 888 Chinatown Square (888 is near the Land Bank, Negros Museum, and Bacolod City Hall of Justice and Ni's Arista Treats is in the snack area near the elevator to the ground floor). The P15 price per glass seems more expensive than the Ongpin vendor's price but the photo above was posted last year and when we were in Ongpin recently, the price per glass was P15.00. Furthermore, who is to say how much ice there is in proportion to the juice being sold by the glass in Ongpin? Besides, it isn't the sugarcane planter himself who prepares and juices the cane in Chinatown. Dali na, give yourself a refreshing lift and bring home some bottles to share. Those who've tried cane juice keep coming back for more.


Get your sugarcane juice from Ni's Arista Treats, 2nd floor, 888 Chinatown Square, Bacolod. Ni's Arista Treats is in the snack area near the elevator going down.

Categories: Negrense Heritage

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4 Comments

Reply Nitesh
12:11 PM on October 15, 2011 
How to Maintain cane juice for a long time
Reply whirlston andre
10:42 PM on March 18, 2013 
sugarcane has good antioxidant properties and has the ability to scavenge free radicals, and inhibit lipid peroxidation, possibly explaining why sugarcane juice is so good for the health.
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