Maple Syrup is probably one of the most popular sweeteners in the world. It is most commonly served with pancakes. However, there are so many nutritional benefits of maple syrup that everyone should know of. Here are some facts that make maple syrup even sweeter.
What it is
Before delving into the nutritional benefits of maple syrup, it is essential to understand what it is. Maple syrup is extracted from the sap of a maple tree. Organic maple syrup does not come with fillers or additives. It is completely pure and is naturally sweet. That is why it is considered very healthy.
How it is made
To guarantee safety for humans to ingest as well as to reach the right sugar concentration, the sap from the maple tree still has to be processed through cooking. Nothing is added during cooking, however, to maintain all the organic vitamins and minerals of the sap.
The sap, after undergoing chemical changes when cooked, becomes maple syrup when it breaches 60% sugar concentration. It now has the maple taste that we all know and love.
One more thing to note before going into the nutritional benefits of maple syrup. Let us talk about the different types. When it comes to maple syrup, one does not call it type but grade. There are five grades of maple syrup as identified by the USDA. The grades are not based on the benefits, however. It is simply focused on flavor and translucence. The darker the syrup, the lesser the level of light transmission. Here are the five grades of maple syrup:
- Grade A Golden Color. This has a delicate taste best used for maple cream or maple candies.
- Grade A Amber Color. It is slightly darker and has a rich taste. This is the most common syrup used for pancakes.
- Grade A Dark Color. The maple flavor here is stronger and more intense. It is best used for cooking.
- Grade A Very Dark Dark Color. Exceptionally strong in flavor, maple syrup of this grade is used for commercial purposes.
- Processing Grade. This is the least in terms of flavor and color. It is commonly used as an ingredient for livestock feed and other agriculture-related purposes.
Now we go into the nutritional benefits of maple syrup. Here are some of them:
The first among the nutritional benefits of maple syrup is its antioxidant properties. Pure maple syrup is known to have multiple antioxidants that reduce damage caused by free radicals which can cause central nervous system diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; cardiovascular diseases; autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis; age-related vision decline; age-related changes in appearance such as loss of skin elasticity, wrinkles, graying hair, and hair loss; diabetes; and genetic degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. With 24 antioxidants found in pure maple syrup, it can definitely help our bodies counter all these conditions.
Healthy alternative to sugar
Too much refined sugar is definitely bad for your health. To enjoy your sweets minus the disadvantages of refined sugar, you can definitely switch to maple syrup. You get to enjoy all the pleasurable sweetness plus you get to enjoy the nutritional benefits of maple syrup. Other artificial sweeteners cause different side effects. You might have to contend with cramping, constipation, and bloating just to name a few. Be spared from all these inconveniences with maple syrup.
Packed with minerals
Pure maple syrup comes with minerals which are beneficial to the human body. Among them are:
- Potassium which helps regulate blood pressure.
- Zinc which boosts the immune system.
- Manganese which can be used as an alternative sourc of energy.
- Calcium to strengthen teeth and bones.
- Magnesium which helps regulate cholesterol and lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Riboflavin to enhance metabolism.
Good for the skin
One of the many nutritional benefits of maple syrup is that it promotes healthy skin. You can actually apply maple syrup directly to your skin. You can leave it for about five minutes before washing it off with warm water. This does so many things for you. It is a good moisturizing regimen. It keeps harmful bacteria away. Plus. it prevents irritation, inflammation, dryness, and blemishes. To be on the safe side, apply topically on a small portion of your skin and observe if your skin has a negative reaction to it. If there is none, then it is safe for you to use maple syrup on your skin.
A valuable aid to antibiotics
Recent research showed how maple syrup boosts the effect of antibiotics. It does this by increasing the permeability of bacteria in the body. When you take antibiotics in conjunction with it, due to the increase in permeability, the medication can reach the interior of bacteria cells a lot faster and a lot easier. This definitely helps in increasing the potency of antibiotics.
A word of warning
Maple syrup is indeed packed with a lot of sweetness literally and figuratively. However, just because there are many nutritional benefits of maple syrup, it does not mean that it is completely safe. It still contains a high concentration of sugar which can lead to various diseases. As with anything, if you want to guarantee your safety and good health, take it in moderation.
Maple syrup is definitely as sweet as it is healthy. Given the numerous nutritional benefits of maple syrup, it is high time to use it as an alternative to sugar. However, since it still has high sugar concentration, moderation is key to enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.