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Pancakes with maple syrup make a delicious morning breakfast, but did you know that maple syrup is actually packed with health benefits? Although both maple syrup and refined sugar contain about the same amount of sucrose, refined sugar has none of the added benefits that maple syrup does. Maple syrup is a natural product, which is made from the sap of maple trees. Sugar, on the other hand, must undergo intense refining processes that remove any benefits it might have contained. While you should still eat maple syrup in moderation, replacing sugar with it can provide you with many important health benefits.

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Antioxidants

One of the best reasons to consume maple syrup is that it contains a multitude of antioxidants. Antioxidants are only found in trace amounts in refined sugar and corn syrup, and even agave nectar can’t provide the amount of antioxidants that maple syrup can. These antioxidants fight free radicals, which are cells that have been found to cause serious diseases. For the maximum antioxidant benefit, select the darkest grade of maple syrup, rather than the lighter grades, which contain fewer of these important nutrients. Other sweeteners that are known to contain high amounts of antioxidants include molasses, raw honey, and even brown sugar.

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Manganese and Zinc

Although maple syrup doesn’t have as many nutrients as other naturally sweet foods, like fruit, it does provide some valuable vitamins and minerals. This includes manganese and zinc, which play important roles in the body. Manganese helps with the metabolism and absorption of nutrients, as well as with nervous system functions. Zinc influences the immune system, helping to prevent illnesses and diseases. Although you can get these nutrients elsewhere, they’re a nice added benefit of eating maple syrup in place of other sugars. Maple syrup also contains small amounts of other nutrients, like calcium, which makes it more beneficial than most processed sugars.

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Reduced Glucose Levels

How can eating maple syrup result in lower glucose levels? The short answer is that it doesn’t lower glucose levels, but it does keep them lower than refined sugars. Refined sugars cause a spike in blood sugar, followed by a crash later. Over time, this cycle can lead to the development of diabetes. With maple syrup, the spike is lower, and the crash is less intense. That doesn’t mean that you should consume maple syrup in large quantities, but if you need something sweet, it’s a better choice than refined sugar. It also is lower on the Glycemic Index by about 10 points, making it a proven healthier choice.

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Better Digestion

Overeating refined sugar doesn’t just make you gain weight. It can also leave you feeling bloated, thanks to an effect known as leaky gut syndrome. This condition occurs when your digestive tract struggles to properly digest and absorb all of the food that you eat. Many experts suggest that you should combat it by eating less refined sugars, which is where maple syrup comes in. Substituting sugars with maple syrup can give your digestive system time to heal. In turn, that can relieve symptoms caused by leaky gut syndrome, including fatigue and abdominal discomfort.

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Replaces Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and Splenda can be good alternatives for those who can’t consume sugar, but they also can be triggers of other health problems. Research suggests that these sweeteners may be causes of depression, weight gain, and even migraines. While maple syrup is certainly higher on the glycemic index than artificial sweeteners, it isn’t as high as sugar. That makes it a great alternative sweetener for those who want to cut back on sugar, but don’t necessarily need to avoid it altogether. Maple syrup is all-natural, making it a much better choice than processed alternatives.

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Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is the cause of many serious diseases, including conditions that affect the cardiovascular and digestive systems. Luckily, maple syrup has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce the amount of inflammation in our systems. This can reduce everything from pain caused by arthritis to the risk of heart disease. Sugar, in contrast, is known to increase inflammation and exacerbate conditions that are caused by it. That’s why most physicians will tell you that using it as a sweetener is preferable to using refined sugar, although both should be used in moderation.

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Decreases Risk of Cancer

Maple syrup contains antioxidants that are known to fight radicals, which means it can help to fight against cancer-causing cells. More importantly, however, swapping in maple syrup will reduce the amount of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners that you eat. Chemicals like aspartame and Splenda have been linked to cancer, as has excessive sugar consumption in general. By cutting back and replacing those with maple syrup, you reduce your risk of developing cancer. However, this doesn’t mean that large servings will prevent cancer, but it does mean that it is a healthier option for those who like sweeteners.

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Reduced Processed Foods

Perhaps one of the most important things about maple syrup is that eating it can reduce the amount of processed foods that you put into your body. Processed foods are full of negative health consequences, like an increased risk for cancer, obesity, and a variety of serious diseases. Unlike refined sugar, maple syrup is made through a very natural process that allows it to retain most of its nutrients. In contrast, most artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, and corn syrups are highly processed. This means it can be difficult to know exactly what is being put into the body, leading to a host of increased risks.

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Relieves Acne

Consuming too much sugar has been associated with causing acne, so it may come as a surprise that maple syrup is sometimes used as a topical skin treatment for blemishes. Maple syrup contains important antioxidants that can help to fight bacteria and other sources of acne. To use it as a face mask, mix a tablespoon of syrup, a tablespoon of raw honey, and a cup of rolled oats. Apply for a few minutes, then wash off thoroughly. Doing this once a month can help to calm skin and reduce the number of breakouts over time.

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Repairs Skin

Of course, topical masks aren’t just good for acne. Maple masks have many other benefits, thanks to antioxidants’ ability to fight free radicals. This can repair skin, leaving it younger-looking and blemish-free. This mask will reduce redness and inflammation, and can hydrate skin. You can also use it to repair dryness and age spots on your hands and feet, making it a great tool for older adults who want a more natural way to slow the signs of aging. Although maple syrup can greatly benefit your skin, be sure to thoroughly wash it off after use.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.