[dropcap]I[/dropcap] can't think of anything better than warm chocolate chip pancakes smothered in butter and molasses on a Sunday morning. Pancakes and molasses inspire feelings of comfort and warmth, a tasty treat for a holiday or weekend when you have enough time to make an elaborate breakfast or brunch. However, it turns out that molasses is more than just a sticky, sweet topping to drizzle liberally over your pancakes. Looking past its delicious taste, there are lots of health benefits of molasses!
This popular sweetener is the byproduct of sugar cane and sugar beets. The main types of molasses in the United States are mild, dark, and blackstrap, and they are all available in sulfured or unsulfured form. Most people just associate molasses with pancakes or gingerbread cookies, but there is much more to this sweet dark syrup. Nutritionists have called molasses a superfood and suggested that consuming some every morning will have positive effects on wellness! Even if you can't stomach the thought of a spoonful of straight molasses, you can stir it into a cup of hot water or warm water or add it to your morning tea to get the health benefits without the taste. Here are 8 amazing health benefits!
1. Great for Bone Health
It turns out that molasses is excellent for bone health! Molasses is a great source of calcium and magnesium, both of which are essential for healthy bones. Blackstrap molasses is especially beneficial, and a spoonful a day will protect against osteoporosis. One tablespoon of molasses has 8 percent of the daily value for calcium and ten percent for magnesium, so few foods could be better for strengthening your bones. Incidentally, magnesium also helps with constipation, so you can relieve that while contributing to your bone health.
2. Good Source of Iron
Another benefit of molasses is its high iron content. Molasses is a great natural remedy for those with iron deficiency or anemia, conditions that arise from having a deficiency of red blood cells. These conditions can be caused by lack of iron in the diet, and they lead people to feel tired and weak. A tablespoon of molasses a day is the perfect solution if you need more iron in your blood!
Although we usually hear about bananas being the food for potassium, blackstrap molasses is full of potassium as well, another noteworthy health benefit of molasses. Potassium has countless benefits, from alleviating cramps to lowering blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol. A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses has as much potassium as half a banana, about 300 milligrams.
4. Full of Antioxidants
When discussing the health benefits of molasses, we can't leave out antioxidants! Molasses has been shown to have more antioxidants than other sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. Antioxidants prevent cancer and other diseases, and nothing beats eating something as healthy as it is yummy!
5. Blood Sugar Stabilization
It may seem counterintuitive that something as sugary as molasses would stabilize blood sugar, but studies have shown that molasses has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar when eaten alongside carb-heavy foods. Eating molasses with carb-heavy foods keeps your blood sugar lower than eating the foods without this sweet topping would. However, despite this health benefit, molasses still has a high glycemic index on its own, meaning that it raises blood sugar levels quickly. Because of this, molasses should be avoided by those with diabetes.
6. Lots of Vitamin B6
Another health benefit of molasses is that it is jam packed with B vitamins, especially B6. Vitamin B6 prevents fatigue and depression, so molasses can be especially beneficial for those who suffer from depression. Vitamin B6 also alleviates PMS symptoms and nurtures brain health, reducing risk of Alzheimer's. Pouring molasses onto your pancakes could make you happier and your brain healthier!
7. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Along with improving your mood, molasses has been known to be a natural cure for acne. The Lactic acid in molasses promotes healing of skin, from acne to cuts and burns. These natural anti-inflammatory properties in molasses are ideal for anyone who struggles with acne and wants to avoid overly chemicalized treatments.
8. Relieves Menstrual Symptoms
Black strap molasses is AHHMAZINGGGG for cramps, a gahtdamb send........
— waiting for the Pan Dulce vaccine. (@Bat_MaaM) January 11, 2015
Last but not least, molasses is an excellent food to eat or drink during your period. For one, it is a natural mood stabilizer because of its vitamin B6 content. Along with this, the selenium in molasses is linked to a short luteal phase, meaning that consuming molasses will cause mood-related symptoms to be over faster. Aside from improving mood during your period, consuming molasses during menstruation or menopause will lessen menstrual cramps and bloating.
Side Effects of Molasses
Despite the many health benefits of molasses, there are a few side effects to look out for. Molasses is a sugar, and consuming too much sugar can be detrimental for those with diabetes. Also, too much molasses can cause digestive problems, leading to diarrhea. Because of this, people with IBS should avoid having large amounts of molasses. However, overall, molasses is an amazingly beneficial food for your health. The next time you have Sunday morning pancakes, make sure to pour a generous amount of molasses on top!