The Sweet Perks of Maple Syrup
Pick it pure
There’s nothing sappy about syrup. It can boost your immune system, age-proof your skin, calm tummy troubles, and more.
Many pancake syrups are made with processed sugars like corn syrup rather than real maple syrup. Lookfor a bottle that lists pure maple syrup as its only ingredient, says Robin Plotkin, RD, a Dallas-based nutritionist.
Drizzling maple syrup on your oatmeal may help prevent inflammatory diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s, a University of Rhode Island study found.
The sweet stuff is loaded with polyphenols, plant-based compounds that work as antioxidants, says study co-author Navindra P. Seeram, PhD. Add some blueberries to your maple-drizzled oatmeal to up its antioxidant power!
Maple syrup’s antioxidants are also natural anti-agers. "Syrup works on the skin like any topical antioxidant, repairing environmental and free radical damage," explains June Jacobs, founder and chief executive officer of June Jacobs Spa Collection.
Try Jacobs’s at-home facial scrub to fight fine lines: Stir together 1 tablespoon warm milk and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Add 3 tablespoons finely ground oats; stir again. Massage gently onto your face, leave on for up to 20 minutes, rinse off, and follow with a moisturizer.
Next time you whip up baked goods, consider swapping in maple syrup for sugar. "It’s less likely to cause indigestion, gas, and bloating, compared with processed sweeteners," says Andrew Gaeddert, author of Healing Digestive Disorders. The woodsy flavor works particularly well in pound cakes, butter cookies, and coffee cakes, notes Ellen Sandbeck, author of Green Housekeeping.
Replace the sugar with the same amount of maple syrup, and reduce the amount of liquid the recipe calls for by about a half-cup.
Syrup contains essential nutrients like zinc and manganese, which can help you ward off illness, a study conducted at Wayne State University in Detroit found.
Zinc keeps your level of white blood cells up, which is crucial for increasing your resistance to sickness, says naturopathic doctor Michael Murray, co-author of the Encyclopedia on Healing Foods. And manganese protects immune cells from inflammation and damage. Translation: No more sniffling!