When I think of sugarcane juice, the first thing which comes to mind are the busy by-lanes of Karol Bagh, Delhi: vendors offering poor imitations of Gucci handbags and Rolex watches, women sprinting through the crowd trying to get from one shop to another, the faint smell of hot pooris and Punjabi chana, the constant high-pitched rings of rikshaw bells and a few dozen sugarcane juice (ganne ka ras) carts parked at every street corner.
In the sweltering heat, I’d jostle my way to the sugarcane juice guy and watch him lazily operate an old-world juice machine that takes in one sugarcane at a time and pushes out beautiful green coloured cane juice that isn’t just sweet and delicious, but also extremely nourishing and considered to be a real goldmine of health according to doctors, nutritionists and the school of Indian traditional medicine.
India is one of the world’s largest producers of sugarcane, after Brazil which is possibly why you’ll find almost no companies which offer packaged sugarcane juice. It can be priced as low as Rs.10 or as high as Rs.40, but it’s available through the country and not limited to one specific region. The top 5 sugarcane producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Sugarcane is one of the main crops used in the production of sugar: 70% of the world’s sugar is made from sugarcane and the remaining 30% comes from the sugar beet crop. However, this isn’t the case for the sugarcane grown in India which happens to be the second largest producer of sugarcane, after Brazil. A lot of the sugarcane grown in India is first used to make gur (jaggery) followed by khandsari (unrefined or brown sugar), and then sugar which is processed using chemicals and sulphur. The remaining fibrous mass can be used as fuel, or to make paper or sound insulating boards and in some countries its used even to make alcohol.
Nutritional value of Sugarcane: The juice Sugarcane per serving (28.35 grams) contain Energy-111.13 kJ (26.56 kcal), Carbohydrates-27.51 g, Protein-0.27 g, Calcium11.23 mg (1%), Iron 0.37 mg (3%), Potassium41.96 mg (1%), Sodium17.01 mg (1%)
Benefits of Sugarcane Juice
If you search for sugarcane juice benefits, you’ll find that it has been attributed as a natural remedy to a score of problems. It’s rich in antioxidants so it helps fights infections and boost the immunity. It’s rich in iron, magnesium, calcium and other electrolytes so it’s great for dehydration. It helps cure the common cold and other infections and also fight fever as it boosts the body’s protein levels. Besides these, there are a few more great health benefits of sugarcane juice that you must learn about:
1. Sugarcane juice is a diuretic which means that it helps treat urinary tract infections, kidney stones and ensure proper functioning of the kidneys.
2. According to Ayurveda, sugarcane juice helps strengthen your liver and is thus suggested as a remedy for jaundice. Jaundice is a condition where you find yellow pigmentation of the skin and membrane due to elevated levels of a substance known as bilirubin in the bodily fluids and is triggered by poor functioning liver. What sugarcane juice does is replenish your body with proteins lost and nutrients that it needs to recover quickly.
3. An Energy Drink – Sugarcane juice is rich in the good kind of carbohydrates, protein, iron, potassium and other essential nutrients that make it the ideal energy drinks. Especially in the summer months, a glass of cold sugarcane juice and really life both your health and your depleting levels of energy. It builds up plasma and body fluids and helps counter dryness and fatigue.
4. Ayurveda also suggests that ‘sugarcane juice exhibits laxative properties thereby improving bowel movement and relieving constipation’ (Source: ayurhelp.com). Sugarcane juice also has alkaline properties which means it’s good for treating acidity and stomach burns.
5. It has a low glycemic index (GI) so it comes highly recommended for diabetics. A study showed that drinking sugarcane juice did not alter the blood glucose levels of diabetics drastically but you should check with your doctor before you start to drink some of this yourself.
6. Sugarcane juice is extremely rich in minerals which helps prevent tooth decay and bad breath.