Agave is a plant best known for being the main ingredient in the creation of the famous alcoholic tequila drink. Being from Mexico, the reality is that the benefits that this plant can bring to our body are surprising.
It is a plant widely recommended for natural treatments, mainly for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. However, its advantages are much broader. If you want to know more, don’t stop reading this article.
What is agave?
It is a monocotyledonous plant belonging to the Agavaceae family. Currently, it is possible to find it naturally in northern Mexico and southern United States, although it can be given several names, among which: maguey, mezcal, pita, fique and cabuya.
Agave is a plant very similar to aloe vera, but it is mainly known to have a syrup that acts as a natural sweetener. This sweetener is extracted from the leaves of the plant, and is ideal for consumption by those with sugar problems (such as diabetics, for example).
Agave syrup (mainly based on maguey agave) is highly recommended by naturalist physicians, as it is a sweetener that contains around 80% fructose and 20% glucose. This makes agave syrup healthier than the artificial sweeteners used today (which are high in glucose).
Today, more than 300 species of agave are known; however, they are all equally beneficial, although some are used for specific purposes. For example, from the famous “blue agave” the necessary components are extracted to make tequila (an alcoholic drink very famous in Mexico and Latin America).
Properties of agave
Agave is a plant rich in beneficial properties. Mainly, it stands out for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, while helping to strengthen our body’s immune system. In addition, it is a plant rich in vitamins A, B, B2, C, phosphorus, iron, niacin and proteins.
Agave also has prebiotic properties which facilitate intestinal transit; while it is rich in fructooligosaccharides and inulin, which gives it a sweet taste and allows it to work as a sweetener with a glycemic index of less than 25%.
Benefits of agave
- It increases our body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium, which is why this herb is used to strengthen bones and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.
- It helps regulate the intestinal flora and transit, which improves digestive processes and prevents constipation, gastritis and diarrhea.
- Produces a feeling of fullness, therefore it is recommended for weight loss.
- It is a natural sweetener par excellence which contains low levels of glucose. Thus, agave is ideal for reducing blood sugar and providing the energy needed for everyday life.
- Reduces bad cholesterol levels.
- Strengthens the immune system of our body.
- It contains antioxidant elements that allow us to cleanse our body.
- Regulates insulin levels, its consumption is therefore recommended in people with diabetes or hypoglycaemia.
Uses of agave
As we mentioned earlier, agave syrup is widely used in cooking as a natural sweetener. This syrup has been shown to sweeten more than conventional sugar, so less is needed to add a sweet taste to our food.
However, if you decide to use agave syrup for making desserts or other food preparation, you should keep in mind that this is a very sticky material. For this reason, it is advisable to mix a little syrup with butter beforehand and bake in the oven for a short time.
Likewise, agave is widely used in the production of tequila, vinegar, juice, and even soaps.
Contraindications of agave
- Its excessive consumption can lead to an increase in the amount of triglycerides present in our body.
- If consumed regularly, it can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
- Its external use can cause dermatitis.
- Its consumption is not recommended by pregnant or breastfeeding women. In these cases, it is recommended to consult the attending physician first.
- Its excessive consumption can cause tooth wear.
Always consult your doctor before starting any treatment with herbal remedies.