Health & Lifestyle

Maple syrup honourably labelled as “superfood”

Maple syrup has not merely outrun cane sugar but other natural sweeteners as well. Produced from the sap of the maple tree, it is much appreciated in a plethora of recipes, ranging from desserts to meals. It is sold under various categories depending on its colour and taste. Even so, apart from its sweetness and unique taste, it is touted for its numerous health benefits that make it crucial as a staple food item in everyday cuisine.

Packed with exclusive beneficial nutrients

Researchers have established that maple syrup-made from boiling the sap of the maple tree- consists of 54 healthy compounds out of which five are unique to this syrup and do not even exist in nature. These compounds are crammed with antioxidants, phytochemicals and minerals, and boast of having a wide array of anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have concluded that the consumption of maple sugar can therefore curb illnesses like heart diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Several studies have also been carried out to assess its impact as a phytomedicine for the prevention as well as the treatment of cancer. The results have been on a positive note, suggesting that the concentration of the nutrients, especially the antioxidants, may indeed restrain existing cancer cells from growing. In comparison to a person not consuming maple syrup, one who has included it in his diet has lower risks of developing cancer.

Pure maple syrup versus “breakfast” or “pancake” syrups

Pure maple syrup should not be confused in any case with other food items that can be misleading due to their labelling. In food stores, it is not unusual to come across products branded as “breakfast” or “pancake” syrups which are in no way related to pure maple syrup. While the latter is a totally natural product obtained from boiling the sap of the maple tree, “breakfast” or “pancake” syrups are generally made from high-fructose corn syrup with added chemical flavours. High in sugar, these syrups should be consumed with care and moderation. Certainly, they have no health benefits as pure maple syrup which, on its side, has a low Glycemic Index, making it fit, in some cases, even for people suffering from diabetes.

Production of maple syrup

Maple syrup is not cheap for a good reason. It can take from 43 gallons to 86 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, depending on the percentage of sugar present in the sap. Canada is the leading country for the production of maple syrup, ensuring about 80 percent of the total worldwide production. The syrup for sale is usually graded according to its colour and taste. Lighter syrups tend to have subtle tastes and are consumed liberally. The robust taste of darker ones makes them ideal for cooking and baking.

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