Go ahead, drizzle some extra maple syrup to those flapjacks because according to the University of Rhode Island, this sweet-treat is full of antioxidants that can ward off diseases and possibly fight cancer.
But here’s the catch, you’ll need to stop by your local health food store to pick up Grade B or pure maple syrup and not the maple flavoured stuff, which is full refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, to take advantage of its 54 components that can boost your immune system.
“It’s a great sweetener alternative,” says Oakville-based dietician Janina Mchaul, “it’s loaded with iron, calcium, zinc, potassium and magnesium.”
Mchaul explains that replacing refined sugar in recipes with the same amount of pure maple syrup can cut the total sugar content by a third.
The glycemic index of maple syrup is around 54, compared to table sugar which is around 65 “This means that maple syrup raises blood sugar slower than refined sugar does,” says Mchaul.”
But don’t think Maple Syrup’s only claim to fame is its glycemic index. Mchaul says this natural sweetener is also responsible for:
Fighting Inflammatory Diseases
Maple syrup nutrition contains anti-inflammation polyphenol antioxidants which can prevent certain diseases like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or heart disease. Maple syrup’s plant-based compounds reduce oxidative stress, which is responsible for ageing us at a quicker rate and weakening our immune system.
Preventing Certain Cancers
Maple syrup is rich in antioxidants which are nutrients that can protect cells from free radicals, DNA damage and mutation. While there is no direct correlation, some researchers our of Quebec believe maple syrup alone won’t reduce your cancer risk but it’s a much safer option than including high levels of refined sugar or artificial sweeteners in your diet.
Improving Sensitive Skin
Many people swear by using maple syrup topically, directly on their skin. Maple syrup can help lower skin inflammation, redness, blemishes and dryness. Combined with raw milk or yogurt, rolled oats and raw honey, you’ve got yourself a natural skin mask that hydrates skin while killing bacteria and reducing the signs of irritation. Maple syrup also reverts the ageing process in the body’s cells, this isn’t found in any other natural sweetener.
Consuming high levels of refined sugar can contribute to candida, IBS, leaky gut syndrome and other digestive system disorders. The best way to reduce your refined sugar intake is by opting for natural sweeteners like maple syrup or agave.
But let’s not kid ourselves, Maple Syrup is still a carbohydrate.
“I wouldn’t say maple syrup would be my first food choice if I was lacking minerals and antioxidants in my diet,” says Dr. Manny Singh, a Mississauga-based family doctor, “…stick to a balanced diet, maple syrup is fine as a sweetener replacement but in moderation of course,” he says.
Whether you’re already on the maple syrup band-wagon or are a little skeptical to try, consult with your physician before implanting any changes to your diet.