Blackstrap Molasses

9 Mar

With a name like blackstrap, you can rest assured this dark viscous molasses is mighty bitter but it also has a sweet side, not only in aftertaste but also in positive health benefits.

The third and final boiling of sugar cane syrup forms blackstrap molasses.  This unrefined, nutrient dense molasses was the most commonly used sweetener in the United States until the early 1900’s when refined white sugar became readily available.  Some recipes passed down from generation to generation still call for blackstrap molasses in cakes, cookies, muffins and even chicken basting.

Unlike refined sugars, blackstrap contains significant amounts of B vitamins and most of the trace minerals, including copper, magnesium and potassium.  One single tablespoon provides up to 20% of the recommended daily value (RDA) of each of these nutrients.

Just a quick search online yields quite a few testimonials about blackstrap molasses; claiming it cures cancer, arthritis, acne and even reverses graying hair and can even make your hair grow back.

While it is most definitely an acquired taste, I am inclined to believe in the so-called “miraculous” qualities of this slow-moving sweet stuff.  Having been around many natural healthcare therapists using it in their practice, I personally have witnessed many of the positive benefits of using blackstrap medicinally.

MANGANESE

Manganese, not to be confused with magnesium, is a mineral required for proper balance and equilibrium.  Without it, you start running into tables and hit door facings that have been there for years.

I also call manganese the “family love” mineral.  Simply because I have seen many new mothers who tell me they know they should love their baby but they just do not “feel” it.  When our manganese levels are low, we recognize intellectually that we ought to love our family but we just don’t feel the empathy we naturally do when our health is up to par.

1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses provides 20% of the recommended daily allowance of manganese.

B VITAMINS

B vitamins are often referred to as the “stress vitamins” since they are in highest demand when we are under any kind of stress.  They store in the liver and do not occur naturally in the body.  We must restore B vitamins to our body regularly or suffer the consequences of B vitamin deficiency, including nervous anxiety, graying and thinning hair, thinning lips, wrinkles, easily sunburned skin, etc.

The most B vitamin enriched food available is liver.  Blackstrap molasses may not beat liver as the richest B complex but it is naturally balanced in B vitamin content and in the top 10 B vitamin rich foods.  Also, since it is a whole food, it is easily digestible and rarely allergy causing.

NUTRITIOUS SWEETENER

In the early 1900’s in the U.S., men consumed approximately 6,500 calories a day, women about 4,500.  Keeping in mind, their lives were generally very active and there were no refined sweets available.  These days, folks consume about half that amount but suffer from illnesses caused by sedentary lifestyle and consuming large quantities of highly refined carbohydrates.

Blackstrap molasses is a nutrient rich, low-calorie natural sweetener.  It’s safe to cook with or simply add a teaspoon to your morning coffee.  If you experience any sugar imbalances, be sure to check with your doctor before adding to your diet.

IRON

A midwife I was associated with always suggested blackstrap molasses to her patients with anemia for its amazing ability to increase the blood count naturally, without any negative side-effects.  She suggested they take a tablespoon every night before bed and time after time, these ladies were able to recover their health mid-pregnancy.

Referred to as treacle in the UK, molasses was a common cure-all for many tummy upsets.  Brimstone and treacle — sulfur and molasses — was commonly used to loosen the bowels and thus “cleanse” the system.  No doubt, this is due to its balanced calcium, magnesium and iron content.

Blackstrap molasses can be found at your local health food store at very reasonable prices.

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