The Little-known Benefits of Maple Syrup
By Paul Rothbart
Most people are fans of maple syrup. Sweet with a unique flavor, it's the classic topping for pancakes, French toast, and waffles. Maple is great in ice cream such as maple walnut. One of the best desserts I ever had was a maple creme brulee. Maple flavored whiskeys and liquor also make some tasty cocktails. But as good as it tastes, maple syrup is not healthy, is it? The fact is, maple syrup does have some health benefits that you may not know about.
Maple syrup contains more than 20 different types of antioxidants, many in the form of polyphenols. In addition to gallic acid, cinnamic acid, and benzoic acid, maple syrup contains the flavonols quercetin rutin, and cachetin. These substances fight free radicals in the body that can damage cells and cause a number of chronic diseases. Darker syrups of higher quality contain more antioxidants than the lighter varieties. This is something to consider when purchasing maple syrup for health reasons.
Reduce Chronic Inflammation
The antioxidants in maple syrup have also been shown to perform another important function. They reduce inflammation throughout the body. A number of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer are triggered by inflamed tissues. The reduction of inflammation can also help lessen pain from arthritis. The anti-inflammatory capabilities of these compounds lessen the impact of oxidative stress which can help prevent disease.
Eating large amounts of any kind of sugar, including maple syrup, will cause damage to your health. But in moderation, maple syrup is a better choice than refined sugar. The liver metabolizes sugars very quickly, loading the bloodstream with glucose. This can impact insulin response and cause type 2 diabetes. Maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54 as compared to 65 for refined sugar. Sugar is also heavily processed while maple syrup is more unrefined and more natural.
Consuming maple syrup is not the same as eating vegetables, but it does contain some important nutrients. A serving of maple syrup has 33 percent of the recommended daily allowance of manganese, an essential mineral. It also contains a small amount of iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Although the content of these minerals is not as high as in healthier foods, it is much more than you will get in sugar.
Maple syrup is delicious and has a place on most breakfast tables. Eating it in great quantities is not a good idea, but in moderation, it does have some nice health benefits. If you have a sweet tooth, substituting maple syrup for sugar will improve your diet.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fredericksburg, Va.