Too much sugar is bad for your health. I could stop there, but we can’t escape the fact that sometimes sweet things are good. It’s hard enough to moderate sugars let alone eliminate them. It may seem an impossible task, but the truth is that there are healthier ways to have your cake and eat it too.
As in all foods, the more organic the better. Sugar is a natural byproduct of photosynthesis in plants when sunlight comes into contact with the plant’s leaves. Cane sugar, although originating from an organic source, is, milled, washed, filtered and condensed, eliminating anything relatively healthy and leaving empty calories that can also become an addiction.
Better choices of sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup contain beneficial nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Both lower inflammation, supply essential nutrients and help manage blood sugar. The primary antioxidants found in maple syrup include benzoic acid, gallic acid, cinnamic acid, and various flavanols like catechin, epicatechin, rutin and quercetin.
Maple syrup contains important antioxidants and minerals like zinc magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus sodium and potassium. It’s also vitamin rich with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6.
The glycemic index score of maple syrup is way lower than cane sugar and contains vitamin and minerals that can boost metabolic process, something that refined sugar certainly can’t do. Maple syrup also provides antioxidants in the form of phenolic compounds that help reduce free radical damages that cause inflammation and contribute to chronic diseases.
In direct contrast to refined sugar, maple syrup is helpful in preventing certain diseases like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or heart disease. The plant-based compounds reduce oxidative stress, which is responsible for aging and weakening the immune system.
Maple syrup contains nutrients that can prevent disease and ease symptoms. Potassium is known to help regulate the heart beat and zinc protects the heart muscle and blood vessels. Magnesium helps healthy brain and nerve function. Maple syrup provides 22% daily recommendation of manganese. The vitamins and minerals in maple syrup help regulate the metabolic enzymes which play a role in the metabolism process in cells.
Eating high amounts of refined sugar contributes to candida, IBS, leaky gut syndrome and other digestive system disorders. Replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners is no bargain either, since most cause indigestion including gas, bloating, cramping and constipation. As a bonus, maple syrup can be used topically to reduce inflammation of the skin, relieve redness and eliminate dryness.
Avoid “flavored” maple syrups that you find in the grocery store that contain refined sugars. Make sure pure maple syrup is the only ingredient and is organic to ensure that the trees that were the source of the syrup weren’t treated with any chemicals.
Maple syrup is either classified as “grade A” or “grade B.” Grade B syrups are darker in color and more concentrated, and tend to be richer in antioxidants.
The bottom line is that you should do everything you can to reduce your sugar intake overall, but when you want to add a little sweetness to the pot, use organic maple syrup or raw honey and make it worth the calories you consume.