Magical Maine Maple Syrup
Maine Maple Sunday is always the last Sunday in March - which is tomorrow - and it makes big headlines! How lucky we are to live in a state which produces an abundance of this natural sweetener. In the past five years, maple syrup output in Maine has more than doubled producing over 600,000 gallons (2016 season). Our neighbor Canada leads the world in maple syrup production. As a sweetener, maple syrup offers many benefits.
Maple syrup nutrition is impressive when it comes to supplying antioxidants which fight cancer-causing free radicals and slows aging. Free radical damage is linked to general inflammation and various chronic diseases. Maple syrup supplies important minerals and trace amounts of some vitamins.
Micronutrient value per tablespoon of maple syrup
0.7 mg manganese (33% DV), 0.8 mg zinc (6% DV), 13.4 mg calcium (1% DV), 40.8 mg potassium (1%DV), 0.2 mg iron (1% DV), 2.8 mg magnesium (1%DV)
Zinc helps to fight illness and improve immunity because it supports white blood cells in the body while manganese helps the body with fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, brain and nerve function.
Carbohydrate and caloric value per tablespoon of maple syrup
Maple syrup may be similar in consistency to honey, another natural sweetener, but they vary nutritionally and in caloric value. Per tablespoon, pure maple syrup contains 52 calories vs 64 for honey. Per tablespoon, maple syrup contains 13.5 grams of carbs, most of which is sucrose (a complex sugar that is broken down to fructose and glucose). For maple syrup to be considered "pure", 66% of the sugar content must be comprised of sucrose.
Honey, on the other hand, contains 17.4 grams of carbs which are primarily derived from fructose with a bit of glucose and sucrose. Because maple syrup has less overall sugar, and less fructose, it is a healthier choice. Diets high in fructose are linked to problems with heart and liver health.
During visits to Canada I have often noted the widespread use of maple syrup in their cooking. Restaurants offer a plethora of flavorful meals which utilize their natural sweetener in main meals, salads, and certainly desserts.
As always, to manage your daily calorie count, keep consumption of all sweeteners in moderation.