Sweet Medicine

The Pure Benefits of Real Maple Syrup

Before digging into that next stack of French toast or waffles, pour on some real, pure maple syrup. New research attests to its surprising medicinal value.

Scientists at The University of Rhode Island have identified more than 20 compounds in Canadian maple syrup that can be linked to human health—eight of which have been found in the maple family for the first time. It turns out that the syrup contains not only many naturally occurring vitamins and minerals such as zinc, thiamine and calcium, but also substances reported to have anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties.

Maple syrup is made from the sap located just inside the bark of the sugar maple tree, which is constantly exposed to the sun. Scientists speculate that when the sugar maple is tapped to extract the sap, it secretes phenolics—a beneficial class of antioxidants also found in berries—as a defense mechanism; these wind up in the sap and ultimately concentrate in the syrup, giving this sugary treat its stamp of health.

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