Do you have a sweet tooth? You’re not alone. Sugar has become a serious addiction and the ability to come off it cold turkey has proved extremely difficult for many. Fortunately, several different sweeteners have emerged in the market that don’t have obnoxious sugar content and are less refined than the white stuff. In fact, some could be considered quite healthy (in moderation), such as blackstrap molasses.
What is blackstrap molasses?
Blackstrap molasses is the dark, thick molasses that sticks around after maximum extraction of sugar from raw sugar cane. It has a very robust flavour, and is much more complex than white sugar, and not as sweet. Unlike refined sugar, blackstrap molasses has much of it’s vitamin and mineral content intact, which makes it a much healthier alternative.
Nutritional profile of blackstrap molasses
Blackstrap molasses contains the vitamins and minerals the sugar cane plant absorbs from the soil. Since molasses has a moderate glycemic load – 55 – it is much better choice than refined sugar (65), corn syrup (75), glucose (dextrose) (100), and maltodextrin (150).
What can you expect from 100 grams of organic, unsulphured blackstrap molasses?
- 77% of Daily Value (DV) of manganese
- 61% of DV of magnesium
- 42% of DV of potassium
- 34% of DV of vitamin B6
- 26% of DV of iron
- 25% of DV of selenium
- 24% of DV of copper
- 20% of DV of calcium
You would be hard pressed to find these types of values with any other sweetener, which makes blackstrap molasses a serious consideration for your sweet tooth.
Health benefits of blackstrap molasses
Due to its high vitamin and mineral content, blackstrap molasses has been recognized to provide the following healing properties to the end user:
Helps prevent or relieve iron deficiency – a significant source of iron, blackstrap molasses can help those who are anemic (including pregnant women).
Improves bone health – due to its high mineral content, particularly magnesium and calcium, blackstrap molasses can help promote strong bone health.
Natural laxative – the high magnesium content relaxes the muscles and draws water into the stool, making it easier to pass.
Relieves stress – the b-vitamins (particularly B6, which raises serotonin levels), as well as calcium and magnesium, help combat stress and anxiety. Blackstrap molasses has all three!
Relieves PMS symptoms – the rich iron content can replace iron lost through menstruation, and the magnesium and manganese can help prevent menstrual cramping.
Promotes skin and hair health – blackstrap molasses contains lactic acid, which serves as natural acne treatment and heals other skin conditions. It also contains good levels of copper, whose peptides help rebuild skin structure that has been linked to improved hair quality.
Stabilizes blood sugar levels – The lower glycemic index naturally slows the metabolism of glucose and carbohydrates, which results in less insulin production. It also contains high levels of chromium, which increases glucose tolerance.
Lowers cholesterol – rich in potassium, this nutrient lowers systolic blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and supports a healthy cardiovascular system.
Supports thyroid health – due to the wide array of vitamins and minerals in blackstrap molasses, it can have a positive affect on thyroid function as many of these nutrients are needed to produce T4 and T3.
How many natural sweeteners do you know that can do all that? It’s clear that blackstrap molasses should be strongly considered when sweetening any food or beverage.
How to use blackstrap molasses
There are several ways to use this sweetener, including in cookies and sauces. However, if you want to use it more medicinally, consider the following:
- Add it to any smoothie that requires a bit of sweetness
- Oatmeal with bananas, pecans, and blackstrap molasses
- Add 1-2 tbsp in hot water
- Add 1-2 tbsp to your favourite tea (works great in Dandy Blend)
There is no hard and fast rules on how to use blackstrap molasses in your recipes, but generally speaking you can consider it for many recipes that would call for a sweetener. Get creative, your health and tastebuds will thank you!
Sources for this article include: