I love NPR’s science Friday. Especially when they talk about food! Today they featured some new research on real maple syrup (NOT Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth, or any other pseudo maple junk) that found that maple syrup contains more than 20 different health-promoting plant compounds. Shockingly, Canada sponsored the study. But I’m still cool with it. The research was done by a scientist at the Univeristy of Rhode Island and presented at the American Chemical Society.
What the study found is that real maple syrup contains several components that are anti-oxidants, and contain anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-diabetic properties. This is on top of the minerals they already knew were in there, including zinc, thiamine and calcium. One interesting finding was the presence of phenolics -the same class of antioxidants found in berries. They suspect that when the tree is tapped it lets off the phenolics as a healing response. Kinda cool.
Now this isn’t exactly a reason to drink maple syrup as a health tonic, or load up with extra on your pancakes. The impact of maple’s sugars are still rough on the body just like sugar – especially in excess. But this is yet more evidence that eating natural foods is best – if you’re going to have some sweetener why not get the trace minerals and nutrients in maple syrup? Plus is tastes so, so much better than the fake stuff. And here is Ohio we have the benefit of getting locally produced, top-quality maple syrup. Check for it at your local farmer’s marker…or if you’re feeling crazy and have a maple tree -you can even make your own 🙂