Surprising Health Benefits Of Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a delicious sweetener you can add to oatmeal, coffee, pancakes, and waffles, among other things. It's an excellent alternative for vegans who use maple syrup in place of honey (via BetterMe). According to the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers, maple syrup is made from — surprise! — maple trees. They drill a hole into the maple tree, add a spout, and collect the sap that comes out. The sap then goes through a reverse osmosis process that removes the water from the sap and thickens it. Once that's done, the sap is then filtered and given a grade for color and flavor. Vermont Maple Sugar Makers has four different flavors and color choices, from golden to very dark. They advise that the darker maple syrups are good for adding to food when cooking or baking, but some enjoy this robust flavor as a topping. The lighter colored syrups have a more delicate maple flavor. 

Maple syrup is often touted as a healthier option compared to other sweeteners like sugar and honey (via PopSugar). Does this advice hold up? And does maple syrup bring any health benefits? 

Is maple syrup good for you?

According to WebMD, one tablespoon of maple syrup has 52 calories, 12 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of carbs. What sets it apart from table sugar is the vitamins and minerals. Maple syrup has has zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. It also contains about 33% of your daily manganese requirement, and as Canadian Living points out, manganese is good for your bones, brain function, nerve function, and metabolism. Maple syrup also contains a polyphenol called quebecol, which can help keep your immune system healthy and reduce inflammation. It's even good for your gut health. Maple syrup has a prebiotic fiber called inulin, which is good for your digestive health and immune system. Maple syrup is rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease and cancers. Healthline advises that if you want to get the most health benefits from maple syrup, you should go for the darkest color. It will be incredibly flavorful and have the most antioxidants. On the downside, while it brings some health perks and may be a better option than refined sugar, maple syrup still has a high sugar content. So when you enjoy your maple syrup, do it in moderation.