As I was drizzling maple syrup over my whole-wheat blueberry pancakes yesterday morning, I couldn’t help but think of the new research on some exciting beneficial compounds discovered in this Canadian favourite. The study was presented at last week’s 241st American Chemical Society‘s National Meeting.
Researcher Navindra Seeram, an assistant pharmacy professor at the University of Rhode Island, and his team looked at maple syrup’s surprisingly complex mix of polyphenol compounds, including several with antioxidant properties and many with well-documented health benefits. “I continue to say that nature is the best chemist, and that maple syrup is becoming a champion food when it comes to the number and variety of beneficial compounds found in it,’ Seeram said in a press release from URI. “It is a one-stop shop for these beneficial compounds, several of which are also found in berries, tea, red wine and flaxseed, just to name a few.’
Of course, maple syrup is still high in sugar with one tablespoon (15 mL) providing 52 calories, and Seeram said no one is suggesting that people consume large quantities of maple syrup. Rather, if you are going to use a sweetener on your pancakes, you should choose pure maple syrup for its range of antioxidant compounds and not the commercial products that contain high fructose corn syrup.
Seeram’s findings will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Functional Foods. His team’s research has received some of its financial support from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, the Conseil pour le développement de l’agriculture du Québec (CDAQ) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) on behalf of the Canadian Maple Syrup Industry.
Looking for a great pancake recipe to take advantage of this year’s batch of maple syrup now available in farmers’ markets in many areas of the country? Try Fit Mom blogger Jennifer Walker’s Best Ever Pancakes‘they are amazing! Or add a dollop of maple syrup to homemade hot cocoa in place of regular sugar.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy maple syrup?