When you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, don’t forget to consider using maple syrup which contains fewer calories and a higher concentration of minerals than honey. It is available throughout the year in your local supermarket.
Maple syrup is one of the many wonders of the world. This viscous amber liquid with its characteristic earthy sweet taste is made from the sap of the sugar, black or red maple tree. The process of creating maple syrup begins with tapping (piercing) the tree, which allows the sap to run out freely. The sap is clear and almost tasteless and very low in sugar content when it is first tapped. It is then boiled to evaporate the water producing syrup with the characteristic flavor and color of maple syrup and sugar content of 60%.
This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Maple syrup provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Maple syrup can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Maple syrup, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.
- Health Benefits
- How to Select and Store
- How to Enjoy
- Individual Concerns
- Nutritional Profile
Maple syrup is sweet—and we’re not just talking flavor. Maple syrup, as an excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc, can also be sweet for your health.
Sweeten Your Antioxidant Defenses
The trace mineral manganese is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. For example, the key oxidative enzyme superoxide dismutase, which disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells), requires manganese. One ounce of maple syrup supplies 22.0% of the daily value for this very important trace mineral.
Be Sweet to Your Heart with Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a good sweetener to use if you are trying to protect the health of your heart. The zinc supplied by maple syrup, in addition to acting as an antioxidant, has other functions that can decrease the progression of atherosclerosis. Zinc is needed for the proper function of endothelial cells and helps to prevent the endothelial damage caused by oxidized LDL cholesterol and other oxidized fats. (The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels.) Endothelial membranes low in zinc are much more prone to injury. Additionally, studies have found that in adults deficient in manganese, the other trace mineral amply supplied in maple syrup, the level of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) is decreased.
Sweet Support for Your Immune System
Zinc and manganese are important allies in the immune system. Many types of immune cells appear to depend upon zinc for optimal function. Particularly in children, researchers have studied the effects of zinc deficiency (and zinc supplementation) on their immune response and their number of white blood cells, including specific studies on T lymphocytes, macrophages, and B cells (all types of white blood cells important for immune defenses). In these studies, zinc deficiency has been shown to compromise numbers of white blood cell and immune response, while zinc supplementation has been shown to restore conditions to normal. In addition to the role played by zinc, the manganese in maple syrup is important since, as a component of the antioxidant SOD, it helps lessen inflammation, thus supporting healing. In addition, manganese may also act as an immunostimulant.
Real Healthy Men Use Maple Syrup
Maple syrup may help to support reproductive health and provides special benefits for men. Zinc is concentrated more highly in the prostate than in any other human tissue, and low levels of zinc in this gland relate to a higher risk for prostate cancer. In fact, zinc is a mineral used therapeutically by healthcare practitioners to help reduce prostate size. Manganese may also play a role in supporting men’s health since, as a catalyst in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, it also participates in the production of sex hormones, thus helping to maintain reproductive health.
Maple syrup is one of the many wonders of the world. This viscous amber liquid with its characteristic earthy sweet taste is made from the sap of either the sugar, black or red maple tree. The process of creating maple syrup begins with tapping (piercing) the tree, which allows the sap to run out freely. The collected clear, almost tasteless sap is then condensed by boiling, a process that helps to concentrate its initial single digit sugar content to more than 60%. This process also creates the characteristic flavor and deep color of the syrup.
The scientific name for the sugar maple tree, from which maple syrup is obtained, is Acer saccharum.
The process of making maple syrup is an age-old tradition of the North American Indians, who used it both as a food and as a medicine. They would make incisions into trees with their tomohawks and use birch barks to collect the sap. The sap would be condensed into syrup by evaporating the excess water using one of two methods: plunging hot stones into the sap or the nightly freezing of the sap, following by the morning removal of the frozen water layer.
When the settlers came to North America, they were fascinated by this traditional process and in awe of the delicious, natural sweetener it produced. They developed other methods to reduce the syrup, using iron drill bits to tap the trees and then boiling the sap in the metal kettles in which it was collected.
Maple syrup was the main sweetener used by the colonists since sugar from the West Indies was highly taxed and very expensive. As sugar became cheaper to produce, it began to replace maple syrup as a relied upon sweetener. In fact, maple syrup production is approximately one-fifth of what it was in the beginning of the 20th century.
Maple syrup-producing trees are only found in select regions of North America. Producers of maple syrup include the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec, as well as the states of Vermont and New York in the U.S.
How to Select and Store
Maple syrup is available in individual containers and in bulk in some stores. The quality of the syrup varies in characteristics such as color, taste and consistency. All maple syrups are labeled with a grade based upon an official United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grading system. There are three versions of Grade A maple syrup, including Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber. The lighter the color, the more subtle the flavor. Maple syrup is also available in a Grade B version, although since it has the most pronounced taste, it is usually reserved for cooking and use in processed foods.
Pure maple syrup is distinguished in its labeling from maple flavored syrups. While they are generally more expensive, their rich unique flavor makes them worth the extra money.
While unopened containers of maple syrup can be stored in a cool dry place, they should be kept in the refrigerator once they are opened. Maple syrup can be frozen, although it should be defrosted before use since it very viscous and hard to pour when frozen. If any mold appears in the syrup, even if just on the surface, you should throw away the entire container since it may be contaminated.
How to Enjoy
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
Maple syrup, used in place of table sugar as a sweetener, gives tea and coffee a unique taste.
Pour some maple syrup on oatmeal topped with walnuts and raisins.
Add maple syrup and cinnamon to puréed cooked sweet potatoes.
Combine maple syrup with orange juice and soy sauce and use as a marinade for baked tofu or tempeh.
Spread peanut butter on a piece of whole wheat toast, top with sliced bananas and then drizzle maple syrup on top for a sweet, gooey treat.
For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.
Maple syrup is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines.
Maple syrup is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese. It is also a good source of zinc.
For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Maple syrup.
In-Depth Nutritional Profile
In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Maple syrup is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.
Introduction to Food Rating System Chart
In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn’t contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food’s in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients – not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good – please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you’ll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food’s nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling.” Read more background information and details of our rating system.
Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
|very good||DV>=50% OR
Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%