Many of us probably don’t know what molasses is. Molasses is actually a sweetener that some believe to be much healthier than sugar. Some even say that it offers a wide range of unique health benefits. This isn’t just a rumour; it’s true! The health benefits of molasses include relief from various conditions such as cancer, skin illnesses, acne, enlarged prostate, stress, diabetes, obesity and menstruation-related conditions. Keep reading to learn more!
What is Molasses?
Molasses is actually a byproduct of the process used to make sugar. Sugar beets are crushed to extract the juice, which is then boiled down to form sugar crystals. Molasses is the thick, brown syrup left over after removing these crystals.
Historically, molasses has been produced in the Caribbean, where sugar beets and sugarcanes are highly cultivated. Today, many other countries produce it, including the United States, Philippines, Brazil, Taiwan, India and Thailand. Aside from its use as a sweetener, it is also home to incredible health benefits.
Types of Molasses
Repeating of the process of creating molasses actually produces various types of molasses. They are:
Hydrol. This is created through starch hydrolysis.
Unsulfured molasses. This is created from ripe sugarcane extract. It doesn’t need any sulfur, and it retains its light and rich flavor.
Sulfured molasses. This type is derived from young sugarcane extract and preserved with sulfur dioxide.
Cane molasses. This is the byproduct of refining sugar from sugar cane juice and molasses beets.
Blackstrap molasses. This variety comes from raw cane sugar and refined sugar. In refinery settings, it is known as refinery molasses. In cane mills, it is known as the final molasses.
Nutritional Value of Molasses
Molasses actually contains many essential minerals like sodium, cobalt, chromium, phosphorus, iron, copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium and calcium. It is also a good source of carbohydrates and energy, offering substantial sugar content as well. Additionally, molasses also offers many vitamins like riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6 and niacin, or vitamin B3. Moreover, it has a relatively low fiber and fat content.
Health Benefits of Molasses
Blackstrap molasses is the most nourishing sweetener among the molasses types. Here are the health benefits molasses might contribute to the body:
Speeds up healing. Molasses is an effective treatment for wounds and burns. Moreover, it also helps promote healthy tissue growth.
Manages diabetes. Molasses is beneficial in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Moreover, it also helps prevent excess fats from accumulating, since it has a low glycemic index.
Keeps the bones healthy. Molasses is a good source of calcium, making it beneficial in maintaining bone health. Moreover, it also helps protect the bones from disease, especially those that are common to women in their menopausal stage.
Helps treat constipation. Research shows that molasses, when combined with milk, is good for treating constipation.
Improves sexual health. The manganese in molasses helps the healthy production of sex hormones. Moreover, it plays an important role in improving the function of the nervous system, producing energy from carbohydrates and protein and preventing blood clots.
Manages weight loss. Polyphenols, found in molasses, have antioxidant properties which help reduce obesity and manage weight. Research suggests that molasses extract is beneficial in lowering body weight by reducing the number of calories in the body.
Prevents menstrual cramps. Since it is a good source of iron, it is beneficial for those who have menstrual cramps. Furthermore, since it has no fats and just a few calories, it is a better way to get your iron intake than red meat.
Antioxidant-rich. Studies show that blackstrap molasses has a rich amount of antioxidants, protecting the body against oxidative damage.
Uses of Molasses
There are actually many uses for molasses, primarily in the culinary field. Molasses is a common ingredient in baked goods such as baked beans, gingerbread and pies. It is also used to make rum, which is probably why it’s so popular in regions that abundantly produce sugarcane. Molasses is what gives brown sugar its dark texture and rich flavor.
Moreover, molasses is used to make animal food, as it is rich in carbon. It is also useful in horticultural endeavors, feeding microbes and boosting soil activity. Molasses is not just a sweetener; its uses are wide-ranging and very good for us! So, if you want to try a new way of adding flavor to your foods, don’t hesitate to use molasses.