Yummy maple syrup is a thick gooey syrup poured lavishly on pancakes. Even though it is a superfood, it is sugar and that means it is not good to eat too much of it. There are many Reasons to Avoid Sugar.
When researching this tasty sweetener, I was happily surprised that it has some interesting health benefits. This means we can include small amounts in our food.
Maple Syrup Health Benefits
Helpful for Fighting Inflammatory Diseases
Being full of antioxidants it is helpful at protecting your health from diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and type 2 diabetes. Navindra Seeram, Ph.D. says these antioxidants can reduce inflammation in cells.
Quebecol is a unique antioxidant to maple; it is created when the maple tree sap is boiled down to make the syrup. A study showed that quebecol is good for fighting the body’s inflammatory response.
Aids Digestion and Great for the Gut
Eating lots of sugar can lead to candida, leaky gut syndrome, and IBS. Artificial sweeteners can cause indigestion, cramps and constipation. It is best to include foods such as bananas, artichokes, and onions that have a good fiber called inulin which is prebiotic. Inulin helps in the growth of good probiotic bacteria and suppresses the growth of bad bugs in your digestive system. Maple syrup was found to have inulin by Seeram and his team. So it is best to sweeten baking with a little syrup.
Better for you Than Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners, although they are calorie-free are linked to many health problems including weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, short-term memory loss and much more.
Learn why to Avoid Sugar-Free Substitutes.
Can Boost Antibiotic Effects
Extracts from the syrup have an effect of making antibiotics work better when used with the antibiotics ciprofloxacin and carbenicillin. 90 percent less of the antibiotics were needed according to research with Nathalie Tufenkji and her team
“Native populations in Canada have long used maple syrup to fight infections,” says Nathalie Tufenkji, Ph.D.
Lower Glycemic Index Score
Refined table sugar has a glycemic index of 68, Glucose – 96; brown sugar – 64; honey – 60 blackstrap molasses – 55 to 60 and maple syrup – 54. So it is lower but do remember it is still sugar so only a small amount is ok.
Protects Brain from Disease
Studies show that it shows promise in protecting brain cells from things like Alzheimer’s disease and other brain diseases.
Full of Antioxidants
It has up to 24 different antioxidants that are beneficial for reducing free radical damage. – The medical journal Pharmaceutical Biology.
The antioxidants in Canadian maple syrup are linked to being beneficial for human health. – Studies at the University of Rhode Island by researcher Navindra Seeram, Ph.D. confirm this.
“We know that plants must have strong anti-oxidant mechanisms because they are in the sun throughout their lives. Now we are looking at maple syrup, which comes from the sap located just inside the bark, which is constantly exposed to the sun.” says Navindra Seeram.
Studies compare the antioxidant content of natural sweeteners to sugar products such as white sugar, corn syrup, and agave nectar, the results show that maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, and raw honey have more antioxidants.
This syrup can make a good natural sweetener as long as it is in a small quantity and eaten with whole foods. It does contain some nutrients and benefits but not a high quantity of vitamins and minerals compared to vegetables, fruits and good proteins and fats.
Remember it still is sugar just better than refined sugar. You don’t want to be having ‘sugar highs’ then ‘sugar crashes’ from any sugar.
It does contain some nutrients while white sugar has no nutrients at all.
It supplies small quantities of important minerals: zinc, manganese, potassium and calcium. And 1 tablespoon of maple syrup contains about: 52 calories. Go here for more Maple Syrup Nutrient information.
How is Maple Syrup Made?
Sugar is naturally present in all plants. Maple trees have sap that is harvested and boiled down to make the syrup. It takes about 40 litres of sap to make one litre of syrup. That is a lot of boiling!
- It takes a tree around 40 years before it’s big enough to tap.
- There are only three of 13 types of maple trees in Canada being used for syrup
- Maple flavoured syrup is cheap because it is corn syrup and a lot of other stuff.
- Quebec in Canada produces two-thirds of the world’s syrup.
- Canada produces 85 percent of the world’s maple syrup.
- A maple tree needs to 10 to 12 inches in diameter and about 40 years old.
- It is one of the oldest sweeteners.
- Native Americans were known to collect maple water and distilled it to make syrup hundreds of years ago.
- In 1606, the syrup production was written about.
How to Select the Best Maple Syrup
To get the benefits of this syrup best to buy real syrup. Many syrups on the market are just ‘flavored’ highly refined sugars. Read the ingredient label to make sure it is 100% maple syrup and not refined cane/beet sugar or high fructose corn syrup loaded with preservatives, artificial dyes and flavors.
It is best to get organic syrup because the trees can also be treated with chemicals.
Grade B maple syrup is darker in color and is harvested later in the year. It is more concentrated with a stronger flavor and it is good to cook with. Some research shows that it is also richer in antioxidants. Grade A, the lighter one is usually used on pancakes.
Here is a favourite maple syrup of mine. Escuminac Unblended Maple Syrup Canadian Grade A – Extra Rare – Pure Organic Single Forest – Smooth Velvety 16.9 fl oz (500ml)
This pure award-winning maple syrup is produced exclusively with sap harvested during the first days of the run. Exceptional syrup with a smooth, velvety texture. It is light in the mouth, featuring a subtle caramel and honeysuckle bouquet with a hint of cinnamon and a lingering flavour.
“The food that’s never let me down in life is porridge, especially with milk and maple syrup, which is delicious.” ~ Marianne Faithfull
How to Store Maple Syrup
It is best to keep unopened containers of maple syrup in a cool, dry place. To preserve the delicate flavour over a long period it is best to store in the freezer. Once opened, store in the refrigerator or in the freezer.
As you have read above there are many health benefits of maple syrup. Now let’s get a little into our cooking.
Tips for Eating or Cooking
When you are replacing table sugar with maple syrup in baked goods, use the same amount of the syrup. You will also need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by about a half-cup.
Try these Delicious Maple Syrup Treats
Yummy Homemade Maple Glazed Pecans – This is candy, so we want to just eat a few. The good news is that it uses a small amount of maple syrup instead of lots of sugar.
Deluxe Tasty Wild Rice Pudding – This wild rice pudding is a new favorite pudding of mine. It has a creamy consistency and it is still vegan which I like. It is not overly sweet and yet is a sweet pudding with lots of flavour and lots of wild rice which is full of health benefits.
Here Are More Tasty Healthy Sweets
Cherry Pecan Dark Chocolate Bar – a totally decadent chocolate bar that is full of healthy ingredients.
Deluxe Quinoa Pudding (vegan & gluten-free) – an extra special delicious quinoa pudding made from my favorite grain, without added sugar or milk.
Delicious Vegan Banana Pudding – another vegan dessert that is very quick, easy to make dessert and without any unhealthy added sugar.
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.