Happy Wednesday! How was your 4th of July? Did you over-do it with the sweet treats? If so, you’ll want to pay attention today. We’re talking about a sweetener that actually has health benefits. Yes, it does exist, and it’s become one of my new favorite things. We’re talking about BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES.
Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of the sugar cane refining process. Sugar cane is mashed to create juice and then boiled once to create cane syrup. A second boiling creates molasses. The thing that makes blackstrap molasses different than regular molasses is that it’s boiled a third time. It becomes a dark viscous liquid that has the lowest sugar content of any sugar cane product. (That’s why it’s important to get blackstrap instead of the regular stuff.)
The awesome thing about blackstrap molasses is that it’s not like refined sugar, which has zero nutritional value. It contains important vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Here are some of the amazing benefits.
We all know that we need calcium for strong bones, but did you know that magnesium is important too? Magnesium helps by facilitating the absorption and metabolism of calcium. Blackstrap molasses contains both calcium and magnesium. This one, two punch helps guard against osteoporosis.
Prevent Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Anemia occurs when your body can’t produce enough healthy red blood cells to successfully transport oxygen around your body. It’s most commonly caused by an iron deficiency and is characterized by fatigue, paleness, feeling cold, anxiety, hair loss, and dizziness.
Blackstrap molasses is a fantastic source of iron. In fact, many doctors recommend a tablespoon a day for people with anemia and related disorders.
One tip to increase absorption – eat vitamin C at the same time (think oranges, green or red peppers, and kale). The vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron in the molasses.
Lower Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association says that consuming natural sources of potassium is important for people with high blood pressure. This is because potassium lessens the effects of sodium, which greatly contributes to hypertension.
Two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contains 16% of your recommended intake of potassium.
As we learned above, blackstrap molasses also provides a good source of magnesium and calcium. A 2009 study showed that people supplementing with magnesium experienced a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Maintain Balanced Blood Sugar
Because it’s high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, blackstrap molasses is a better choice than refined sugar. It also has a lower glycemic index of just 55, which is considered low glycemic according to the American Diabetes Association.
This means the syrup is ideal for those with diabetes and others who want a little added sweetness without experiencing the blood sugar peaks and dips often associated with refined sugar.
It should be noted, though, that blackstrap molasses does contain sugar. It’s not a calorie- or carbohydrate-free food, so you don’t want to go crazy with it.
Recipe – Overnight Oats
Looking to incorporate this powerful sweetener into your meals? Try this tasty breakfast. It’s easy and full of good nutrients.
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ginger
- 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
- ½ banana
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup almond milk
In a mason jar, mix together all dry ingredients.
Add blackstrap molasses, banana, and liquids.
Place in refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, mix it all together and dig in!
Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!
Melissa Merkle and Kirt Lietzow own Boomers N Motion, an exercise and health coaching business focused on keeping baby boomers and older adults healthy into their golden years. For more information on group classes and private, in-home coaching, please contact Melissa and Kirt at coaches@boomersNmotion.com.