Thick, dark, syrupy, sweet blackstrap molasses is more than something to make candy or cookies with; it has many benefits, from helping prevent cancer to getting rid of grey hair. It is a superfood full of health benefits.
The way we get molasses is from the sugar refining process. It is separated after each of three boiling extraction processes of the sugar crystals from the sugar cane. The final separation is called blackstrap molasses which has been used mostly as an ingredient in cattle feed.
7 Blackstrap Molasses Health Benefits
1. High in Antioxidants
Blackstrap molasses contains the highest amount of antioxidants as compared to other sugars (refined sugar, agave nectar, corn syrup, raw cane sugar, and other sweeteners.
Antioxidants are essential participants in the ongoing war between cancer-causing free radicals and healthy cells in your body.
2. Decreases Obesity Caused by a High-fat Diet
I don’t usually site studies on mice and this one is. Hope to see a study on people soon as they promised.
“The addition of molasses extract to a high-fat diet appears to reduce body weight and body fat levels primarily through reduced caloric absorption.” said Richard Weisinger, Ph.D.
3. Better Sugar Alternative
It has a lower glycemic index than sugar because of it a high level of chromium, which increases glucose tolerance. In a study with 180 type 2 diabetes individuals who were either given chromium supplements or a placebo over a four-month period, the results were that insulin values and cholesterol levels decreased considerably compared to the placebo group. – U.S. Department of Agriculture. This makes it a much better alternative to refined sugar.
4. Improves Menstrual Cramps and PMS Symptoms
It is very good for women, being high in iron, as women actually need more iron than men, according to the National Nutrition Council. Women lose iron when menstruating each month. So at the time of adolescence when a female begins her menstrual cycle, her needs for iron increases. The minerals in blackstrap molasses (magnesium, manganese, and calcium) help in preventing blood clotting which will relieve menstrual cramps and keep the uterine muscles healthy.
Mood improvements were noted with iron according to studies.
5. Cancer Prevention
In its most concentrated form, molasses was used for therapy for cancer according to the Journal of Carcinogenesis. Also, there is an indication suggesting that cancer was very rare among workers on sugar cane plantations who ate raw brown sugar.
6. Good for Hair Growth and Dyeing Grey Hair
All over the internet, there were people saying this worked and many videos even showing how to put molasses on your hair. Apparently, it softens the hair, adds rich texture, and even prevents it from graying.
Some say you can pour it directly on hair, but others say to mix it with equal parts water, then pour on hair, leaving it on for a 20-minute nourishing hair mask. Note: It will darken hair slightly for only a short time!
7. Good for Sexual Health
It has a high amount of the mineral manganese, which is needed for the production of sex hormones. A manganese deficiency can lead to infertility.
Please Note: There are some who may have an allergic reaction because of a sensitivity to the sulfite in sulfured molasses. It is best to purchase unsulphured blackstrap molasses.
It’s safe to consume small amounts blackstrap molasses and it does supply many essential vitamins and minerals that are good for your body. Still remember that it is a sugar with a glycemic index of 55, which is moderate so no more than a tablespoon per day.
A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses has only 58 calories compared to other sugars which have 64 calories.
It contains high amounts of the minerals magnesium, potassium, and manganese and also, the minerals: calcium, iron, phosphorous, copper, and selenium. For more info go to Molasses Nutrition Data.
History of Molasses
- Since the time of the first settlers, molasses has been imported from the Caribbean Islands since the time of the first settlers.
- It became popular in the late 19th century because of being much more affordable than refined sugar.
- Blackstrap molasses became popular due to the “health food movement’s” interest in nutritious foods.
- Brazil, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, India, and the United States are the largest producers of molasses.
Blackstrap Molasses Trivia
- The word molasses comes from the Portuguese word, melaco.
- The thick appearance Molasses resembles honey in many ways but, the colour is quite different.
- The word ‘blackstrap’ derived from the Dutch word ‘stroop’ which refers to a very dark syrup.
- The word “blackstrap” refers to a bitter variety of molasses.
Molasses is easy to find, make sure it is blackstrap molasses and is organic and unsulphured.
Try Organic Pure Blackstrap Molasses
How to Store your Molasses
It does have a long shelf life of up to 5 years if stored properly. An unopened, sealed bottle of molasses will keep for 10 years in a cupboard and more if kept in the refrigerator.
Humidity and heat can help molasses go bad as they can cause mold to grow from bacteria. Store it in a tightly closed jar in a dry, cool, dark place. This is the case for all types of molasses.
You can store molasses in the refrigerator but it is not necessary. If you do, when you take it out, it will be thick and hard to pour. You heat the molasses by putting the jar in a pot of warm water. Putting it in the microwave will cause it to heat unevenly.
After opening and using the molasses, carefully wipe the opening of the bottle clean and firmly seal the jar.
Has Your Molasses Has Gone Bad?
If it gets moldy, develops off odor or a strange taste you should discard it. Mold on molasses can look like a hardly visible slick on the surface, or a discolored, fuzzy patch. If you see even a tiny spot, it has gone bad, throw the whole jar out.
If it looks separated or has an unpleasant odor it has gone bad. It can also crystalize, which indicates that it has gone bad.
Before using give a taste test before using it again after a long period of storage; if it looks ok and tastes fine, it probably is still good.
Also, take note of the best by date stamped on the jar; it may still be safe to eat but after too much time it will not give you the excellent results your recipe requires.
Molasses Cooking Tips
- With its rich unique flavor, it is usually used as a natural sweetener and sugar alternative.
- Try it as a spread on toast, or a topping on porridge. It’s also a great sweetener for baking.
- The blackstrap molasses is two-thirds as sweet as refined sugar.
Here are Some Blackstrap Molasses Recipes
Delicious Turkish Tahini and Molasses Dessert – This tahini and molasses dessert is from Turkey which they call ‘Tahin Pekmez’.
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cake Recipe – This cake is delicious! The heat of the ginger balances off the sweeter elements so it doesn’t feel heavy.
Yummy Molasses/Tahini Cookies Are Good for You– These molasses/tahini cookies are Middle Eastern inspired, delicious, and easy to make!
Indian Pudding Is Traditional, Vegan and So Yummy – This traditional Indian pudding is an old favourite of mine that I make vegan. Indian pudding is not the most beautiful of desserts but it is for sure tasty. Some people like to call it Native Indian but it seems like Indian pudding is the name for it still all over the internet.
Learn more about some of the healthiest vegetarian foods you will always want to have in your pantry or growing on your deck.
READ: Superfoods – Over 100 of the Healthiest Foods You Should Have in Your Diet and learn more about the variety of Superfoods we think you should have in your diet.