Forget Twizzlers® and the like found in this country, genuine licorice is an entirely different thing. Most licorice candy is flavored with anise oil these days, unless you shop for licorice made in places like Holland and Finland. When you find the real thing, it is made with licorice extract (from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant), albeit a small amount. Why would we talk about a sugary candy on a web site for people with diabetes?
Licorice root and extract has been used since ancient times for all manner of illnesses. Recent research shows that it is rich in antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic, microscopic inflammation has been found to be involved in several conditions, such as arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.
If you are someone who can have a sweet treat now and then, think about switching from jelly beans or gummies to real, soft licorice (you can order it over the Internet).
WARNING: Of course, you can't overdo it –– it's still candy. A better option for you might be licorice tea. Take note: Going overboard with real licorice can trigger high blood pressure.
Reviewed by Susan Weiner RD, MS, CDE, CDN, 03/08
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