A recent study found over 20 compounds in pure maple syrup that support health, 13 of which are first-time discoveries. Several of these new compounds exhibit anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, and anti-diabetic properties. Maple syrup also has a powerful vitamin and mineral profile which furthers its health promoting capacity.
According to an article in Science Daily, the study took place at the University of Rhode Island with Navindra Seeram who specializes in medicinal plant research. His aim is to educate the public about the benefits of diverse plant and berry foods along with natural products.
Seeram explains the research on plant antioxidant compounds:
"We know that plants must have strong antioxidant mechanisms because they are in the sun throughout their lives. We already know that berries, because of their bright colors, are high in antioxidants.
Now we are looking at maple syrup, which comes from the sap located just inside the bark, which is constantly exposed to the sun. We speculated that the sugar maple is wounded when it is tapped for its sap, and that it secretes phenolics (a type of beneficial antioxidant also found in berries) as a defense mechanism."
As seen in the Journal of Medicinal Food, maple syrup has been shown to prevent diabetes and is a potent ally in slowing cancerous cell growth. Maple syrup has high levels of phytohormone and abscisic acid. These compounds encourage the release of insulin and improve the insulin sensitivity of fat cells which helps to combat metabolic disorders such as diabetes. A study at the Universite du Quebec a Chicoutimi revealed that maple syrup may be more effective against brain, prostate, and lung cancer than broccoli, blueberries, carrots, and tomatoes. Laboratory research shows that, due to its concentrated form, maple syrup is more potent than maple sap with pure dark syrup noted as best.
Providing even more health benefits, maple syrup is nutrient rich in thiamine, manganese, and zinc. Adequate thiamine (B1) is essential for proper cardiac function, prevention of cataracts, and Alzheimer's disease. Thiamine also reduces the effects of aging and encourages proper digestion. Manganese is linked to energy production, proper thyroid function, sex hormones, balancing blood sugar levels, and the absorption of calcium. Manganese is also a strong antioxidant, protecting against free radicals in the body. One ounce of pure maple syrup provides 46 percent of the daily value of this essential mineral. Zinc helps protect the heart, controls diabetes, aids in wound healing, and helps to alleviate the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Both manganese and zinc are powerful immune response boosters.
With a multitude of beneficial qualities, pure maple syrup excels as a sweet choice for supporting abundant good health.
Sources for this article include:
University of Rhode Island (2010, March 25). "Pure Maple Syrup Contains Medicinally Beneficial Compounds, Pharmacy Researcher Finds", ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100321182924.htm
Jean Legault, Karl Girard-Lalancette, Carole Grenon, Catherine Dussault, Andre Pichette, "Antioxidant Activity, Inhibition of Nitric Oxide Overproduction, and In Vitro Antiproliferative Effect of Maple Sap and Syrup from Acer saccharum", Journal of Medicinal Food. April 2010, 13(2): 460-468. doi:10.1089/jmf.2009.0029
Shannon O'Neil (2010,Jan 12). "Health Benefits of Maple Syrup", Suite101. http://suite101.com/search?as_q=content%20health%20benefits%20of%20maple%20syrup
Jason Ramsey (2010, March 22). "Scientists Highlight Health Benefits of Pure Maple Syrup", Top News. http://topnews.us/content/213963-scientists-highlight-health-benefits-pure-maple-syrup.htm
Journal of Medicinal Food. 01/02/2010; ISSN: 1557-7600, OI: 10.1089/jmf.2009.0029.
"Thiamin", Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University.
"Zinc", Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University.
Seema Adnani, "Health Benefits of Zinc", Organic Facts.
"Manganese", Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University.
Seema Adnani, "Health Benefits of Manganese", Organic Facts.