Most of the foods that we’ve seen so far on our site have come from the Eastern hemisphere, but this one comes from North America. Though the origin of maple syrup has different stories between the United States and Canada, it undoubtedly came from the region and is a popular condiment mostly used during breakfast time. Maple syrup is sweet, and adds a lot of flavor to some of your favorite foods.
Over the past few years or so, maple syrup has actually gotten a better reputation outside of being more than just sweet. It turns out that syrup has some decent nutritional value, and advances in preparation make it even healthier. Some even prefer syrup over pure honey because of its nutrition. To show you that maple syrup is actually a good addition to your breakfast, let’s look at the nutritional value and proven health benefits you get from maple syrup.
Nutrition of Maple Syrup
Since you don’t have to have sugar in your maple syrup these days, there are a lot more low calorie options available without the sugar. The standard maple syrup only has around 73 calories per ounce, which is a pretty hearty portion size. While you won’t find protein in maple syrup, it’s not quite as high in carbohydrates as you might think. There’s also very little fat in maple syrup at 0.1 grams and no cholesterol.
A lack of saturated fat is great news for fans of maple syrup, though there aren’t any notable amounts of vitamins in each serving. There are important minerals, however, including manganese with about half of your daily recommended amount and about 10 percent of your suggestion of zinc. Other minerals found in smaller amounts around five percent include calcium, iron and potassium and trace amounts of magnesium and copper.
Syrup that comes directly from a maple tree (and not the artificial form) has a ton of antioxidants, helping you to prevent a wide range of diseases. Dark maple syrup that contains molasses has been shown to have the highest antioxidative benefits, with research saying that there are two dozen. When these antioxidants are at work, they fight off the free radicals in the body, which can attack cells and cause illnesses such as cancer.
Some of the more powerful antioxidants in maple syrup include benzoic acid and catechins, which are shown to be very effective against those free radicals. You’ll even boost your immune system when eating maple syrup because of the important minerals such as manganese. When your immune system is working more efficiently, you produce more white blood cells to fight off foreign invaders that make you sick.
When it comes to your digestive health, the biggest nutrient that you can add is fiber. While pure maple syrup doesn’t contain a notable amount of fiber, it does still help your digestive health overall. Processed sweeteners such as refined sugar (and even some forms of syrup) lead to digestive problems that range from bloating and constipation to diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
Doctors actually suggest that when you use sweeteners (which is a part of the food pyramid), that you go for the pure maple syrup. They say that digestive problems won’t occur when in moderation. Many of the minerals in maple syrup also improve your digestion, especially when combined with high fiber foods. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and can get your digestive system off to a great start.
Good For the Heart
The antioxidants that fight off diseases in your body are also great for your heart health, preventing different types of heart disease. Maple syrup also contains different anti-inflammatory properties that make the blood vessels strengthen and increase efficiency. Of course, the most abundant nutrient in maple syrup is manganese, which improves your heart in many ways. One of the signs of having a manganese deficiency is high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Getting manganese will improve both of these numbers, and the zinc in maple syrup helps you even further. Zinc has been shown to reduce high LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase heart lining strength. A lack of sodium in maple syrup also helps.
Getting pure maple syrup can make you look good by helping to drop pounds and improve your skin. Pure maple syrup is low in calories since it doesn’t contain refined sugars, making it a great sweetener if you’re trying to watch your weight. As for your skin, the high amount of antioxidants in maple syrup can give you a smooth and glowing complexion.
That’s because free radicals not only cause diseases, but can also attack your skin. These free radicals form early signs of aging such as wrinkles or spots. People have also been using maple syrup as an exterior beauty product, especially when mixed with other beneficial products like yogurt and honey. Syrup will add hydration to your skin, clearing off dry and dead skin that also helps your scalp, improving hair growth in the process as it comes in faster and thicker. Plus, you’ll get that excellent syrup smell that we all love!
Sugar Free Option
When you have diabetes or are simply watching your blood sugar, you have to make sure to avoid many different foods packed with sugar. While refined and processed syrups contain too much sugar for these people, pure maple syrup doesn’t have these sugars and is safe for diabetics to eat. Maple syrup is low on the glycemic index, helping people avoid spike and crashes in their glucose levels. The high levels of manganese contribute to your blood sugar as well by balancing insulin synthesis and even preventing diabetes altogether.
Summing it Up
When it comes to the negatives of maple syrup, they become pretty obvious depending on how they were prepared. Some syrups have a high concentration of sugars that can affect your glucose and insulin levels in a negative way. Getting an organic type of syrup is better to make sure that you’re getting the healthiest variety. You’ll also want to moderate any type of syrup in your diet, as even the sugar free types can contain sucrose.
Sucrose won’t have any harmful side effects when ingested in moderation, but too much can lower your metabolism so that you don’t process carbohydrates as quickly. While it’s not suggested that you use maple syrup at breakfast on a daily basis, it can still make for an addition to your diet once in awhile that you’ll certainly enjoy. Now that you know the health benefits that maple syrup can also bring, you’ll enjoy it even more! Just always read the label so that you’re getting the pure maple form of syrup and not one that’s simply flavored like syrup to really get the most out of your meal!