11 Feb

It’s not Related to the Monkey

The monk fruit is a large fruit that looks very much like a honeydew melon of a different color, but is actually a member of the gourd family.  According to legend, it is named monk fruit after the Buddhist monks who first cultivated the fruit over 800 years ago.

The first recorded mention of the monk fruit was in 13th century records of Chinese monks, where at the time the plant was only grown in family gardens due to it being difficult to cultivate.  1813 showed the beginning of cultivation in China.  The English first reported monk fruit in a 1938 manuscript, and it was taken to the U.S. in the early 20th century.

Current crop cultivation is still located primarily in southern China where the climate is ideal.

The monk fruit can be cut open and the inside eaten fresh.  The juice from the monk fruit is known to be up to twenty times sweeter than other fruit juices.  The rind of the fruit can be used to make tea.  If the fruit is to be stored, it must be dried at low temperatures to retain the nutritional value.

Improve Your Health with Monk Fruit Sweeteners

Making sweet water with monk fruit
Monk fruit initially gained popularity as a no-calorie sweetener substitute and it serves that purpose quite well.  It is several hundred times sweeter than sugar!

What I find unique about the monk fruit is that the very thing that makes it sweet is what also gives it its greatest health benefits!  Mogrosides are very powerful antioxidants that give the monk fruit its sweet taste, and are very effective at fighting free radicals.  This can reduce the symptoms of painful inflammatory disorders and even improve the healing of inflamed injuries.

Historically, monk fruit juice was used by the Chinese as a healing remedy for colds, cough, immune deficiency, fever, lung disease, and digestive disorders.  In Chinese medicine, it is used to balance out heat build-up to relieve respiratory conditions, constipation and enteritis.

Using a no-calorie sweetener has benefits all its own.  Decrease in sugar intake leads to decrease in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  Why not use one that has all of these other very important benefits!

GMO the Monk Fruit

Screenshot of In The Raw Monk Fruit Sweetener

Which is currently not happening, and is not likely to happen.

However, because of the intense sweetness of monk fruit extract some producers dilute their monk fruit powder to dilute the sweetness.  The most common substance used for this dilution is dextrose.  The texture of dextrose makes it ideal for dissolvable sweeteners.  But, it is also a derivative of corn, and corn crops are now largely genetically modified.

Finding non-GMO Monk Fruit

Read my Monk Fruit Review Blog to find out!

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