Pure Maple Syrup is one of nature's sweeteners that actually has some wonderful health benefits. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you to go ahead and have pancakes for breakfast every morning (although I do love a good whole grain buttermilk short stack myself), but it is a big thumbs up to use maple syrup sparingly, as a more healthful alternative to regular cane sugar.
Now I have to embarrassingly admit that I was raised on Aunt Jemima® Light syrup, so when I eventually tried the "real" thing I was floored to experience how rich and faceted the taste was! There is just absolutely no comparison! Real maple syrup also has an array of nutrients such as manganese, zinc, potassium and calcium, as well as antioxidants, electrolytes and phytochemicals. It can support the immune system as well as assist with lowering inflammation and managing blood sugar. This delicious sap has been used for centuries!
Maintains Blood Sugar Levels
Scientists have found that maple syrup's natural phenols (antioxidant compounds) inhibit two carbohydrate-hydrolyzing enzymes that are relevant to Type 2 diabetes. In the study, 34 new beneficial compounds in pure maple syrup were discovered, five of which have never been seen in nature [I]. Among the five new compounds discovered is quebecol, a compound created when the maple sap is boiled to create syrup.
Manganese, known for its ability to maintain blood sugar levels is the highlight of this sweetener. Maple syrup is also lower on the glycemic index that regular table sugar, meaning that it will not spike your blood sugar as rapidly.
Immune System Support
These high levels of manganese in pure maple syrup are also essential cofactors in a number of enzymes that aid in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Pure maple syrup has been recognized as containing up to 24 types of antioxidants, or phenolic compounds. These help to reduce inflammation in the body that can contribute to multiple diseases. Refined sugar, agave nectar, corn syrup, or any other highly processed sweeteners contain next to to no antioxidant components.
I recommend Grade B Maple syrup as it contains more nutrients and antioxidants than Grade A and has a thicker richer flavor and a darker color.
One of my most popular client recommendations is an electrolyte mixture utilizing maple syrup, lemon and cayenne pepper. This was taken from The Master Cleanse, a lemonade diet created by Stanley Burroughs. When I was on this cleanse I noticed that my level of flexibility improved dramatically and that cramps I used to get completely went away. Since then, when any of my clients present with mineral and electrolyte deficiencies I have them make this mixture and sip on it throughout the day.
- 2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 16 ounces water
The maple syrup is rich in manganese, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium chloride, all of which are electrolytes occurring in their natural ratios. It also has natural sugar, which is very important for athletes to maintain energy. A much better decision than Gatorade® by far!
The lemon also contains electrolytes and a huge kick of vitamin C, making this great for your immune system as well. The cayenne pepper contributes vitamin A and is know for its pain relieving effects, cardiovascular benefits as well as its ability to break up mucus.
You don't need much of this mixture to have a huge impact. As little as one small cup a day is all that is needed.
More Than Just Pancakes!
Food-wise, pure maple syrup can be used in a variety of different ways. It can be used for sweetening salad dressings, marinades and savory dishes or to replace honey in baking recipes.
For use on salads:
For use in savory dishes:
For use in desserts:
So if you were raised like I was, and have yet to try to real stuff, go out and grab yourself a jar of pure maple syrup. Better yet, if you're feeling inspired, tap your own backyard maple tree! The online resource Tap My Trees (www.tapmytrees.com) can help you get started. Have you ever tried it before?
[I] "Maple Syrup May Help Treat Diabetes". Classical Medicine Journal. 31 March 2011. Web. July. 2016. <http://classicalmedicinejournal.com/the-classical-medicine-journal2011414maple-syrup-may-help-treat-diabetes-html/>.