What is the monk’s fruit and what is it for?

¿Qué es la fruta del monje y para qué sirve?

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Buddhist monks in the 13th century were the first to cultivate the fruit.

Photo: Kasuga Huang / Creative Commons

The monk fruit or monk fruit is exotic, healthy and sweeter than sugar. It is also known as luo han guo or “Buddha fruit”. It is a small round fruit grown in Southeast Asia, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The monk’s fruit comes from the Siraitia grosvenoori plant, a climber of the cucurbit family. It is native to Thailand and some areas of China, where it has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for various diseases.

The Buddhist monks in the 13th century They were the first to cultivate the fruit, hence its name.

It has been used to lower blood sugar levels, of cholesterol and the levels of triglycerides in people suffering from diabetes. As well as to help the liver to function properly.

Containing

  • Triterpenoid glycosides
  • Glucose
  • Fructose
  • Protein
  • Vitamin C
  • Minerals: manganese, iron, nickel, selenium, tin, iodine, molybdenum and others.
  • Fatty acids
  • Antioxidants called

The sweetener obtained from this fruit has become one of the most popular sweeteners.

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Hundreds of times sweeter than sugar

Monk fruit is sweeter than sugar. It has high concentrations of fructose and glucose, but unlike most fruits, its natural sugars are not responsible for its intense sweetness, gets it from unique antioxidants called mogrosides.

The sweetener obtained from the monk fruit contains no calories and is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar, according to the Foundation of the International Council of Food Information. It is also believed to have antioxidant properties like the fruit extract.

During processing, the mogrosides are separated from the juice of the freshly pressed fruit. Therefore, it does not contain fructose or glucose, according to Healthline.

Antioxidant

The mogrosides They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as they inhibit certain harmful molecules and help prevent damage to DNA.

Antidiabetic effects

Studies in mice with diabetes suggest that monk fruit extract may decrease oxidative stress levels and even lower blood sugar levels.

Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that diabetic laboratory animals, whose diet was fortified with monk fruit extract, showed lower levels of protein in the urine.

Some of the benefits of the fruit can be explained by the ability of mogrosides to stimulate insulin secretion in insulin cells.

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Ways to consume the fruit

What is the monk's fruit and what is it for?
The monk’s fresh fruit spoils quickly. Traditionally, people used dried monk fruit in medicinal herbs. Photo: Kanashimi-Commons
  • As a drink, in hot or cold teas.
  • In soups and stews.
  • In cakes, jams, cookies, syrups, etc.

The sweetener is found in multiple forms: granules, powders and liquids. It is used in beverages and foods such as soft drinks, juices, dairy products, desserts, sweets, and condiments.

Advantages of monk fruit sweetener

  • Zero calories
  • Zero carbohydrates
  • Zero sugars. There is no sugar in the pure monk fruit extract, which means that consuming it will not affect blood sugar levels.
  • Stable at high temperatures. Monk fruit sweeteners can be used in baked goods.
  • Safe use. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), monk fruit sweeteners are generally considered safe.

Disadvantages

A food containing monk fruit sweeteners may be slightly different in appearance, texture, and taste than the same food made with sugar, since sugar contributes to the structure and texture of food.

Some manufacturers balance the taste of monk fruit mixing it with other sugars, such as maltodextrin or dextrose. What can change the nutritional profile of the sweetener.

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