By Amy Sherman
There are few win-wins in life: rescuing puppies, adopting babies, eating healthy sustainable food, those are a few that come to mind. We’re here to tell you that you’re now able to add maple syrup to that list. You’re probably already spooning maple syrup over your sprouted pancakes and whole-grain waffles, but recent research shows this sweet stuff may also be a “functional food” with health benefits.
WHAT MAPLE SYRUP CAN DO FOR YOU
Mostly sucrose, maple syrup is less processed than white sugar and has a lower glycemic index score than white sugar, agave or honey. It’s packed with antioxidant compounds that early research indicates may have anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-diabetic properties. So far, a whopping 65 phytonutrients including polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals have been identified in maple syrup.
It also may be good for gut health. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island recently found that maple syrup contains inulin, a type of complex carbohydrate. This natural dietary fiber acts as a prebiotic, working to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Is there nothing this tree sap can’t do?
WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH MAPLE SYRUP
When buying it, look for color. The darker the syrup, the stronger the flavor will be. The USDA grades maple in four categories: Golden (delicate taste); Amber (rich taste); Dark (robust taste), and Very Dark (strong taste).
Along with drizzling it on, try maple syrup in baking recipes, and as a sweetener in hot drinks, cocktails, and smoothies. It also makes a great ingredient in glazes and marinades for fish, pork or chicken. One of our faves: Combine equal parts tamari and maple syrup to make an easy glaze for everything from bok choy to salmon. Or try it in the sweet potato recipe below.
And here are even more ways to incorporate maple syrup into your day:
Drink Maple: Maple water is high in manganese, a good source of calcium and potassium, and has half the sugar of coconut water.
Maple Guild: This line of iced green and black teas is sweetened with maple. They also produce maple-flavored vinegars, waters, and cream.
Endurance Gel: These individual packs have a touch of ginger and sodium and provide minerals and antioxidants.
Rekarb: These energy syrup packs are available in maple, matcha latte, and cocoa flavors.
Bio: Amy Sherman is a San Francisco based writer, recipe developer and cookbook author. Artichokes, King salmon and mangoes make her weak at the knees. Follow her culinary escapades on instagram @cookingwithamy
Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup and Cayenne
- 4 sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a large baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, roast the sweet potatoes, about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tender when pierced by a fork. Let cool to the touch, then remove and discard the skins.
- In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes with the remaining ingredients and mash well, until thoroughly incorporated. Serve.