Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Health Benefits of Black Strap Molasses

I bought this bottle of Molasses at my local natural health store because the mother of a friend of mine recommended that I try it when she found out my plight with my menstrual cycle. I decided to take a tablespoon every day for a week before my upcoming cycle in order to see what it would do for me.



Blackstrap molasses is just one type of molasses, the dark liquid byproduct of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. It is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is therefore the concentrated byproduct left over after the sugar's sucrose has been crystallized. -Source

"Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you. Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple carbohydrates . . . blackstrap molasses is a healthful sweetener that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals that promote your health."

What is it used for?

Organic Blackstrap molasses has a rich, full bodied flavour that adds natural colour to food. It is the end product, or by-product, of the production of sugar and contains vitamins, minerals and trace elements naturally found in the sugar cane plant and is a good source of iron, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium and magnesium.-source

Molasses, which is what's left after all that refining during sugar production, retains many of the vitamins and minerals extracted from the raw sugar cane which can be extremely beneficial. One of the most familiar nutrients molasses is rich in is Iron.

Iron is essential for blood production which carries oxygen to the rest of our organs, such as the skin and brain as well as a very important nutrient for menstruating women and of course those who deal with anemia like myself.
Anemia can be a bothersome disease considering the symptoms can interfere with your daily life. Lack of energy, constant fatigue, headaches, cloudy thinking, moodiness and an array of symptoms all ties in with anemia and the lack of vital vitamins and minerals like iron existing in our diets. Since most of the vitamins and minerals we need on a daily basis can not be produced by the body on it's own it's important we get the following from our foods and/or supplements.






Here are some of the nutrients molasses is rich in:

The Nutrients

Copper

Helps with bone formation, nervous system, Works with other vitamins to form elastin essential for tissue and muscle fibers as well as collagen production essential for healthy glowing skin. Copper also helps with hemoglobin the protein responsible to healthy red blood cells.

Foods rich in copper: Kiwi, lychees, Avocados, Lima beans, Taro root (malanga), Spirulina, Salmon, oats, walnuts

Potassium

Aids with cholesterol plaque buildup

Aids the kidneys to help eliminate wastes

Reduces high Blood pressure

Sends oxygen to the brain which helps with headaches and clearer thinking

Foods rich in Potassium: Bannanas, Guava, cherries, Kiwi, potatoes, coconut, almonds, oats, salmon, yogurt, catfish, avocados

Iron

Important in the formation of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying factor in red blood cells; nourishes every cell in the body with oxygen; without it your body could not make ATP (the body's primary energy source), produce DNA, or carry out many other critical functions; has shown to improve restless legs syndrome; is necessary for the proper metabolism of 8-Vitamins; prevents anemia and fatigue; promotes good skin tone, and stimulates the immune system; decreases the craving for alcohol.

Foods rich in Iron: Raisins, avocado, strawberries, potatoes, beans, cashews, oats, pumpkin seeds, turkey

Other nutrients

Calcium- not only for healthy bones and teeth but also plays a major role in the transmission between nerve impulses essential for a healthy nervous system

-B-vitamins
-Selenium
-Magnesium
-Manganese

 
My experience with Blackstrap these past couple of months has been rather interesting. Molasses provides me with adequate amounts of energy. Instead of huge bursts of energy I've notice that my energy levels have been gradually increasing. Since I'm a menstruating woman and don't indulge in too much meat, I find that I can use all the energy and Iron that I can get from molasses not to mention the other nutrients it's rich in. Most importantly my cramps are less frequent and the severity of the pain has significantly decreased. I've noticed that combining exercise, stretching, and consuming the blackstrap molasses with my tea has been the most effective combination in terms of alleviating my menstrual cramps.

I bought unsulphured molasses, which is a chemical used (sulphur) during the refining process and some may be allergic to it. There are organic/unsulphured molasses. I did not see the organic version at my store so I just picked this one up

You can take molasses straight up or add it tea, milk, or include it into your smoothies.

As with anything remember to not over do it. Molasses is a sweetener so those with diabetes should be careful and consult their physician. Men should also take precaution since they don't lose as much iron as women and may end up storing more iron than needed. Excess iron in the body can cause complications from heart attacks, organ failure along with other symptoms.

Sources:

Minerals Chart

Hemoglobin and Iron

Eco Bites

The molasses I buy is made by Plantation but the other brand that I use is from Wholesome Sweeteners, a brand available throughout the United States and Canada in both larger chains (Costco, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Kroger, Publix, Target, etc.) Amazon.com, and independent health food stores.

Good Luck. =)