Maple syrup has been produced for centuries. However, in recent years, it has become something of a health phenomenon. The natural sweetener has been thrust into the limelight by some of the world’s most famous celebrities; A-list stars such as Madonna and Beyonce have infamously sworn by the “maple syrup diet”, claiming it has helped them to lose weight while maintaining health. However, while it is definitely not wise to consume nothing but maple syrup, eating an appropriate amount alongside a holistic and balanced diet can have profound benefits for your health.
Back in 2010, a professor from the University of Rhode Island made a breakthrough discovery; Navindra Seeram found more than 34 new compounds in Canadian maple syrup that could be linked to human health. The researcher and his team had also found 20 additional healthy components in a previous study conducted a year earlier.
Maple syrup, which originates from the sap inside the bark of maple trees, is now proven to contain compounds that have anti-oxidant qualities; the properties of these compounds are also thought to help prevent diseases such as cancer and diabetes. According to Seeram, maple sap already contains low amounts of these compounds before it has even left the tree. However, upon being removed and then going through the ‘boiling down’ process, levels of these compounds increase significantly due to the high concentration of the liquid.
A healthy heart
Many people at risk of heart disease are advised to cut down on their intake of foods containing typical cane sugar. Maple syrup – at three times the sweetness of regular cane sugar – is being hailed as a natural and healthy sweetener that is not only a tasty alternative, but also has added health benefits. Full of immunity-boosting anti-oxidants, maple syrup contains manganese and zinc. These two compounds play a vital part in helping to prevent damage to the heart. Manganese, although needed in tiny amounts, is essential to supporting overall body function. It is known to lower cholesterol levels, thus keeping the risk of heart complications and high blood pressure to a minimum. Through consumption of pure maple syrup, the body is also being fortified with zinc. Zinc is another mineral that is essential to overall health; it strengthens the heart by the preservation of existing endothelial cells and the creation of new ones.
Further health benefits
The trace mineral, manganese, also has many further health benefits, including being essential in maintaining healthy male reproductive systems. The prostate contains the highest concentration of zinc than any other human tissue, so low levels of zinc in this area can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Due to this, zinc is frequently used in medication for men to help shrink the size of the prostate, and foods with high zinc content are often advised as part of a healthy diet. In addition to this, manganese has further benefits for male health; it contributes towards the production of sex hormones thus helping to improve overall sexual and reproductive health.
Healthy immune system
Zinc and manganese, the two principal minerals that are present in maple syrup, are also great for keeping a healthy and effective immune system. Not only do they assist in the growth of essential cells, but they are also responsible for making sure the body maintains an adequate level of white blood cells; white blood cells are essential in helping the body to recovery quickly from common illnesses and infections.
Maple syrup is not only a healthy alternative to cane sugar, but it also contains a productive natural sweetener that is high in glucose, sucrose and fructose. These sugars are excellent sources of energy, improving the body’s physical endurance levels and making post workout recovery easier.
Demand for maple syrup soaring
Last month it was reported that the value of maple syrup is soaring; not only has it increased in value by 182 percent since the 1980s, but it has surpassed the growth rates of the value of crude oil and gold. As more and more people realize the benefits of eating maple syrup, demand has increased. Those looking to get their hands on a jar of maple syrup can expect to pay significantly more than they would for a jar of regular syrup. However, with such profound health benefits attached to it, it is no wonder that maple syrup continues to fly off the shelves.