Health Benefits of Maple Syrup
According to a researcher at the University of Rhode Island maple syrup has more than 20 antioxidant compounds that may have anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-diabetic properties. The researchers believe that because the sap is just under the bark which is exposed to sunlight, maple syrup contains phenolics, the anti-oxidants also found in olive oil and berries.
It has long been understood that pure maple syrup is rich in minerals and an excellent source of manganese and zinc.
Manganese is a trace mineral with a long list of health benefits, including maintaining healthy bones and nerves, synthesizing cholesterol, maintaining normal blood sugar levels and promoting healthy thyroid function.
Zinc is an anti-oxidant and also has heart protective qualities that can slow the progression of atherosclerosis. Both minerals support the immune system.
Maple syrup is unique to the northeast region of North America. Canada is the biggest producer and the United States is the biggest consumer although production is only one-fifth what it was 100 years ago.
The process of making maple syrup comes from a tradition of the North American Indians, who made incisions into trees with their tomahawks and condensed it into syrup either by plunging hot stones into the sap causing excess water to evaporate, or by freezing the sap and removing the frozen water layer.