Xylitol is a sugar alcohol found naturally in many fruits and vegetables as well as in oats and trees. It is similar in look and taste to regular cane sugar and is often used as a sugar substitute. It is a popular addition to many breath mints and chewing gum and is often recommended by dentists. Because xylitol is slowly absorbed into the body and only partially utilized, it offers several health benefits unique among sweetenerr. Here are 6 health benefits of xylitol:
Xylitol has a low glycemic index, has little effect on blood sugar levels and does not require insulin to be metabolized. This makes it a potentially ideal substitute for cane sugar and other sugar substitutes for people suffering from diabetes or at high risk of developing diabetes.
Numerous studies have confirmed that xylitol is an effective way to prevent tooth decay and fight cavities. Several different national dental associations have endorsed xylitol as a tool to support good dental health. It inhibits bacteria such as streptococci that cause tooth decay. One study published in the Journal of Dental Research in 2006 concluded that daily use of xylitol lowered streptococci levels by ten times as much as those that did not. Limiting sugar intake is also a good way to prevent cavities and maintain healthy teeth and gums and xylitol is a tasty, healthy alternative.
In addition to fighting streptococci, reports suggest that xylitol may help to boost bacterial response systems in the body and may even fight off Candida yeast and prevent oral infections. It raises the levels of activity in white blood cells, which are responsible for much of the body’s resistance to bacteria and infection.
Upper Respiratory Support
Studies show that xylitol may be an effective way to prevent and treat ear infections and other upper respiratory problems. Chewing gum that contains xylitol may be particularly effective because the process of chewing clears the ear cavities of wax buildup, while the xylitol helps prevent bacterial infection. Using xylitol nasal spray may help treat asthma, sinus infections and allergies.
According to a Finnish study, xylitol supplements may be a good treatment for osteoporosis. Researchers found that the xylitol improved bone density and lowered the percentage of bone loss in lab rats. Human trials are necessary to determine the effectiveness of xylitol for people with osteoporosis and other bone disease.
Xylitol has less calories than regular sugar, which is one of the primary contributors to weight problems and obesity in society today. While too much xylitol can still contribute to weight gain, it is a much healthier option than regular cane sugar for dietary purposes.