This natural sweetener is becoming popular as a natural and healthy alternative to refined sugar. It is made from the sap of maple trees. The sap is collected and boiled, leaving a thick, sweet syrup. This is then filtered to remove any impurities. Canada is the largest producer of Maple Syrup (producing around 70% – 80% of the world’s output). Nutritionally, it is very rich in phenolic compounds, which are known to have anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties.
Benefits of Maple Syrup
There are many great benefits, the main ones are:
Energy Boosting – The manganese that is found in this syrup is vital for energy production, and also for synthesizing cholesterol and fatty acids.
Heart Health – The zinc in Maple Syrup helps to protect arteries, by defending against free-radical damage and hardening (atherosclerosis). Zinc is a great anti-oxidant that is essential for good health. This study shows that low zinc can be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Male Health – Zinc is important for male reproductive health, and provides protection against prostate enlargement. The manganese is required in the production of sex hormones, for both men and women.
Anti-Cancer – Studies have shown that the anti-oxidant polyphenols of maple syrup are superior to those of broccoli, carrots and tomatoes, for slowing down the growth of prostate and lung cancer cells. This study shows its inhibitory effect on human colorectal cancer cells.
Blood Sugar Control – The combination of abscisic acid, plant hormone and anti-oxidant polyphenols found in maple syrup, have been found to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Although it is always best to minimize overall sugar intake in any form.
How to Use
There are different grades of syrup according to the colour – from light amber to dark amber. The darker syrups have a stronger flavour and are extracted later in the season. When buying, look for 100% organic maple syrup. The lighter coloured ones will suit cereals and coffee, and the darker ones are suitable for baking, marinades and sauces.
Pour – on to cereal and porridge. Drizzle on to roasted veg, or make a salad dressing with it.
Detox – by mixing 200mls maple syrup with 2 tsp cayenne pepper, the juice of 3 lemons, and 2 liters (3.5 pints) of filtered water. Drink throughout the day for a cleansing detox.