Scientists from the University of Rhode Island have discovered 54 new healthful compounds in pure maple syrup which may have similar health benefits of superfoods, like berries, tea, red wine and flax seeds. This research involves pure maple syrup—not the fake, inexpensive kind normally found in grocery stores which is little more than flavored high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup is a natural sweetener and completely unadulterated.
According to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, the researchers found 54 compounds in the sweet stuff, more than double the amount previously discovered. And many of these compounds have antioxidant properties, which act as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agents.
The federation also reports that initial results suggest maple syrup could play a role in managing Type 2 diabetes, although this has yet to be backed by clinical trials. Certain compounds found in the syrup, called polyphenols, were shown to inhibit enzymes that are involved in converting carbohydrates into sugar.
“These new scientific findings underscore the nutritional message whereby food that undergoes little to no processing provides greater health benefits,” dietitian Hélène Laurendeau said in a press release from the federation. “100% pure Maple syrup is a natural, non-refined product, which gives it an edge over other sweetening agents. We have reason to be proud of our maple syrup, whose unique flavour makes it a versatile addition to countless culinary creations.”
Most of maple syrup’s goodness is in the form of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, including phenols such as Quebecol, named after the Canadian city of Quebec, which is in an area of high maple syrup production.
Many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and bacterial infections, are linked to inflammation. Scientists are looking for ways to extract the healthful components of maple syrup to create new medications for these diseases.