We all enjoy a bit of sugar and sweetness now and then. As athletes, carbs can be very good to help glycogen levels in your muscles but too much of the wrong ones are definitely not beneficial. As is probably no surprise, most refined sugar (known as sucrose) has little or no nutritional value other than carbohydrate it provides. Further, most refined sugar used to be sourced from sugarcane but is now more frequently sourced from sugar beets. Regardless of the source, the crushed raw sugar juice is boiled multiple times to remove the water and concentrate the syrup, then processed to get the desirable color and crystal size. The brown syrup that is ‘left-over’ or a byproduct of the process is molasses, known as blackstrap molasses and contains the minerals and nutrients present in the original raw sugar juice.
What are the benefits?
Blackstrap molasses, called this because of the almost black color of the viscous syrup, contains all the ‘good stuff’ including iron, calcium, vitamin B6, and selenium. Perhaps not surprisingly, the sugar content is much lower per volume (about 2/3 as sweet) than its counterpart. Further, it may be digested more slowly and can be recommended for those with diabetes.
Benefits for healthy bones
Although calcium is the ‘popular player’ in bone health, magnesium is also important. The fact that molasses contains both of these minerals makes it even more advantageous in helping to prevent diseases such as osteoporosis. Five tablespoons of molasses contain 50% of the RDA of calcium, 95% iron, and 38% magnesium.
Because molasses is so high in iron, it is a great benefit, especially for athletes in minimizing conditions such as anemia.
While bananas are often touted as a great source of potassium, molasses is also high in potassium.
How to incorporate molasses into your diet?
Molasses is an easy sweetener to add to many baked goods, is great on breakfast foods like pancakes and french toast, can be used as a glaze when cooking various meats such as chicken or turkey, or adding a bit to your favorite baked beans.
Enjoy this healthy sweetener!
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