Consumers associate maple syrup with pancakes and waffles; with Canada and snow. Kids from Quebec recall stories of yearly winter fetes where pure maple syrup is drizzled on snow so that it is cold enough to roll onto a popsicle stick and eat like candy.
If you live in Florida, this all sounds very foreign but you still love that maple flavor found in more and more baked treats. It’s added to bacon, giving this breakfast favorite a special sweet-salty effect.
There’s so much more to this natural, liquid sugar than sweetness and childhood stories, however; health benefits no one should ignore. Before you say it’s too expensive to buy the real thing, remember how long it takes to extract a single bottle of maple syrup (many hours) and how little you actually need.
Real Maple Syrup, not Flavored Sugar
It is important to stop right here and point out that some maple syrup is just maple-flavored liquid sugar. There is only a passing similarity created by maple flavoring or a smattering of real maple syrup, nothing like the real thing.
Real maple syrup is good for you; phony stuff is not much good at all. If you have not tasted authentic tree sap from the maple trees of Eastern Canada, you are missing out in more ways than one.
Health Benefits of Maple Syrup
When chefs and nutritionists talk about natural sugars, they mean unmodified forms like honey, agave, and maple syrup as opposed to table sugar or brown sugar. There are supposedly more than 50 antioxidants available from this substance which attack free radicals.
Free radicals are found naturally in the human body, triggered by genetics or environmental/food-related catalysts which lead to cancer, heart disease, and more. Fight free radicals by taking a dollop of real maple syrup in your coffee or tea instead of white sugar.
Maple syrup also contains some metals your body utilizes to fight sickness and you don’t need much: a teaspoon at a time will do the trick. Some people even say they use it like honey as a topical cleanser for burns, stings, and cuts.
The manganese found in just 60 ml is enough to supply a day’s worth of brain function and to support the nervous system. It plays an essential role in energy production and metabolism as part of a healthy diet if you don’t get much riboflavin elsewhere. This is certainly a better source than fortified cereal or multi-vitamins.
Maple syrup even contains a trio of minerals which your body uses to protect your heart: the electrolytes calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Electrolytes are added to energy drinks which supposedly replenish your body’s ability to restore hydration and keep the heart health when you are sick or coping with hot weather. Instead of drinking a bottle of sugary stuff flavored with synthetic ingredients, choose a cup of home-brewed iced green tea sweetened with maple syrup.
Maple Syrup Recipes
Drizzle maple syrup into your grainy Mediterranean salad along with figs and cinnamon plus a kick of something spicy. Create the stickiness needed to hold oats and fruit together in a homemade granola bar by using maple syrup in place of corn syrup. Choose maple syrup as your sweetener for mulled cider plus nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon, selecting natural, freshly squeezed organic apple juice and whole spices.