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Molasses is a by-product of sugar production from sugarcane. It is a thick and dark liquid teeming with minerals from the sugarcane plant. (1)
When sugarcane juice is boiled, the sugar crystallizes and is separated from the liquid by filtering. The liquid left behind is called molasses. Blackstrap molasses is obtained by boiling the remaining liquid a few more times.
Nutritional Profile of Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is extremely rich in many minerals. Just 1 tablespoon or 15 g of blackstrap molasses fulfills 24% of the daily magnesium requirement, 15% of the daily calcium requirement, 10% of the daily potassium requirement, and 4% (0.72 mg) of the daily iron requirement, and all of these at 60 calories. (2)
Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap molasses can help improve your health in the following ways:
1. Can be used as a supplement for anemia
Perhaps one of the most widely discussed uses of blackstrap molasses is in treating anemia. Blackstrap molasses is used as a folk medicine to cure anemia caused by a deficiency of iron as it is believed to contain not only a good amount of iron but also iron absorption enhancers. (3)
It has double the amount of iron as compared to light molasses obtained from the first boiling of sugarcane juice. (4)
Blackstrap molasses is also recommended as an iron-rich source alongside other plant-based sources such as soy products, dark chocolate, and raisins. (5)
2. Eases constipation
Constipation is the inability to pass soft stools or passing them infrequently. It is a growing health problem amongst children. (6)
In children aged between 4 and 12 years, consuming 1 ml/kg body weight of blackstrap molasses per day for a month eased the symptoms of constipation. (7)
Experts believe blackstrap molasses is able to help with constipation through its content of polysaccharides, which act as fiber and eases the passage of stools. (8)
3. Can help fight diseases
Antioxidants are at the forefront of the fight against many illnesses. They remove free radicals from the body, which are primarily responsible for causing damage to cells. (9)
Since blackstrap molasses is a good source of antioxidants, (10) it can have a protective effect against diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, and even cancer.
4. Strengthens bones
Blackstrap molasses is rich in calcium and magnesium, providing 15% and 24% of their daily requirements, respectively, in just 1 tablespoon. (2)
Since calcium and magnesium are both involved in maintaining good bone health, (11) blackstrap molasses can be used to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and maintain healthy bones.
5. Improves hair health
Iron deficiency has been associated with alopecia, which is a type of hair loss that may be permanent. (12) As blackstrap molasses is rich in iron, its consumption can be used in treating hair loss and maintaining good hair health. (3)
6. Boosts testosterone levels in men
The human body and some of its functions are sensitive to toxic substances and can lose their ability to function well. Reproductive organs are amongst the most prone to damage caused by substances called endocrine disruptors.
In animal studies, blackstrap molasses consumption was able to suppress the activity of these endocrine disruptors and boost the level of testosterone, the male hormone involved in fertility. (13)
7. Helps improve menorrhagia
Menorrhagia is a uterine bleeding disorder that affects a lot of women during their reproductive age. It causes excessive bleeding and requires supplementing the diet with iron-rich foods to prevent anemia.
Including blackstrap molasses in the diet of these women can be helpful as it is a rich source of iron and other minerals. (14)
8. Supports brain function
The brain requires certain minerals to develop and function properly. The good news is blackstrap molasses has some of these minerals, and a cup of tea sweetened with this molasses can help the body receive these nutrients.
Rich in iron and copper, blackstrap molasses can normalize cognitive function and also prevent cognitive decline such as in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. (15)
How to Consume Blackstrap Molasses
A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses can be used in baking, as toppings for oatmeal or parfaits, or to sweeten tea or drinks.
Precautions to Consider
- Since blackstrap molasses is rich in sugar, overconsumption may cause diarrhea or stomachache.
- People with uncontrolled diabetes must be careful with blackstrap molasses consumption as it can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
Most-Asked Questions About Blackstrap Molasses
Can I take blackstrap molasses every day?
Since 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses is rich in nutrients, it may be a safe dose to take. You can choose to consume it every day, but you must be careful with its amount.
Is blackstrap molasses safe for pregnant women?
Since blackstrap molasses contains all the nutrients necessary for pregnant women, it may be a good supplement to include in a pregnant woman’s diet.
Sugar is made from sugarcane juice by boiling the juice until the sugar crystallizes. It is then filtered out, leaving behind molasses. When the leftover molasses is boiled multiple times, blackstrap molasses is formed.
Blackstrap molasses is much richer in iron than other types of molasses and is helpful in treating anemia. The polysaccharides in blackstrap also help ease the symptoms of constipation in children.
Its iron content can also help in treating hair loss associated with iron deficiency. Its rich calcium and magnesium content can also help protect the bones against osteoporosis and maintain healthy bones.
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