How It Heals
In case the old saying “slow as molasses” doesn’t inspire you to rush out for a bottle of the famously thick syrup, consider this: blackstrap molasses the bittersweet liquid left over after sugar crystals have been extracted from sugar cane has more antioxidants than most other sweeteners, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2009. “These antioxidants squelch free radicals that lead to different disease states and poor immune health,” says Michelle Babb, MS, RD, a nutritionist at Bastyr University. Unlike highly refined sweeteners such as white sugar and corn syrup, which lack nutritional value, blackstrap molasses provides a range of vital minerals including calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. “The iron in molasses is particularly beneficial for menstruating women, who are at risk of having low stores,” notes Babb. She also lauds blackstrap molasses for having a lower glycemic index than lighter molasses versions, not to mention other sweeteners, making it a better choice for blood sugar control.
Eat It Up
There are three grades of molasses: light, dark, and bolder-tasting blackstrap, which comes from the third boiling of sugar cane syrup. The pure flavor of unsulfured varieties works well in gingerbread and baked beans. But don’t stop there: blackstrap molasses mixed with ginger, orange zest, and red pepper flakes makes a rich glaze for tofu or roasted squash. Add a tablespoon or two to mashed sweet potatoes, oatmeal, or smoothies, or use as the sweetener for heavily spiced baked goods.
Pomegranate molasses, a Middle Eastern staple that makes a great addition to vinaigrettes and cocktails, doesn’t actually contain molasses. To make your own that does, simmer 4 cups pomegranate juice, 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses, and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice for 1 hour. To avoid sugar shock, Babb recommends limiting yourself to 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses daily.
Vegetarian Times. November 2011 p.30
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About the author
Paul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com
So What’s It Got?
First thing for the sugar wary (and weary) to consider is blackstrap molasses has a low glycemic index. This means the glucose and carbohydrates are metabolized slowly, demanding less insulin production and stabilizing blood sugar. The result is less lipids or fats occurring in the blood. And it means that you’re chances of becoming diabetic while satisfying your sweet tooth is virtually nil.
Because of its high iron content, many use blackstrap molasses to holistically overcome anemia. Iron is essential to creating red blood cells. In addition to iron, blackstrap molasses contains folate, a natural source for folic acid, along with some other B vitamins, which all combine to form the synergistic mix that promotes red blood cell production.
Then there is magnesium in abundance, along with calcium. Both are densely packaged within this natural food source. Magnesium is important for balancing with calcium for bone production and energy. It is necessary for the smooth function of our nervous system. It is also helpful in maintaining heart health. Insufficient magnesium levels can result in muscle spasms, including the heart muscle, which of course relates to arrhythmia or even heart attacks.
Potassium is another mineral abundant in blackstrap molasses. A deficiency in potassium results in weak muscles and is considered a factor in causing arthritis. Potassium also helps maintain a calmly functioning nervous system. It too is important for the nervous system and heart health. Even the American Heart Association has included unsulphured blackstrap molasses as a food supportive of good heart health.
Manganese, a trace mineral, is very high in content with unsulphured blackstrap molasses. Manganese ions function with a number of enzymes, and are essential to combating unusual free radicals. Like magnesium, manganese also supports cellular absorption of nutrients, and is also beneficial to the nervous system.
There certainly are a lot of nervous system supporting nutrients in this sweetener! Seems that it would be a useful alternative and deterrent to the hyperactivity and ADD in youngsters who consume too much sugar. And unsulphured blackstrap molasses has been used successfully for just that!
This trace mineral also helps synthesize fatty acids and stabilize blood sugar levels. It’s true that too much manganese can be toxic. But it takes consistent breathing of manganese dust from industrial sources for that to happen.
Other minerals that appear in abundance are copper and zinc. Zinc has been tagged as the male mineral because it helps support a healthy prostate. Working with zinc, copper helps eliminate the oxidation damage of superoxides.
All the minerals and nutrients of unsulphured blackstrap molasses are in their natural, balanced form to create a bio-accessible, nutritional synergy unavailable from supplements that are not food. Regardless of the amounts of nutrients listed in synthesized supplements, there is more bang for the buck with whole or super food sources.
A complete nutrient analysis is here: