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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Maple Syrup, Wonder of the World?

Maple Syrup Nutritional Notes

As a Canadian, I will have to admit my love for maple syrup – I love it!!!! Maple Syrup is a regular guest in our kitchen, and it never disappoints. As a paediatric nutritionist, I often get asked about sugar in children's diets. I really don’t think refined sugar should have a place in anyone’s diet, let alone our children's diet. I do think we can find a place for unrefined sugars; after all, we all need a little sweetness in our diet.

 

Unrefined vs Refined Sugars : What's the Difference?

So, why do I make the distinction between refined and unrefined sugars? Quite simply, refining sugar removes all the nutrients from it, rendering it void of any nutrition at all. In fact, some of the nutrients removed are actually necessary for its digestion. Without them, our bodies have to supply the nutrients for its digestion, which is why you may hear refined sugar referred to as an “anti-nutrient”.

Maple Syrup - Nutrients

When we choose unrefined, natural sugars we actually provide the body with some important nutrients, and in the case of maple syrup those nutrients are manganese and zinc.

Manganese Health Benefits

The trace mineral manganese is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production, and antioxidant defences. What exactly does this mean? Basically manganese plays a role in helping our body produce energy and in protecting the body from free radical damage, which can cause inflammation and eventually disease. The mineral zinc, also present in Maple Syrup, is an antioxidant, working much like manganese, to help protect the body from free radical damage.

Zinc Health Benefits

Zinc also plays a large role in immune system function. Researchers have studied the effects of zinc deficiency (and zinc supplementation) on children, looking at their immune response and the number of white blood cells. In these studies, zinc deficiency has been shown to compromise white blood cells and immune response, while zinc supplementation has been shown to restore conditions to normal. Yet another good reason to get a little bit of maple syrup into our diets. So feel free to add a little bit of maple syrup to those pancakes, or drizzle some on your oatmeal, it will add the perfect touch of sweetness and a bit of nutrition as well.

Enjoy!

Kim

Kim Corrigan-Oliver author of Raising Happy Healthy Babies is a practising Certified Nutritional Practitioner, based in Pontypool,just south of Omemee, Ontario. Kim is dedicated to inspiring and motivating mums to make informed decisions regarding their child’s health and wellness through one-on-one consultations, workshops and cooking classes  Ms. Corrigan-Oliver's practice, "Your Green Baby", provides paediatric nutrition services offering guidance for optimizing babies' health and wellness, setting them up for good health and well-being later in life. Kim has appeared on Rogers Daytime, is a regular contributor to Lakeridge Kids Magazine and writes for blogs in Canada, US and UK.

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