What is molasses? What are its benefits and how best to use it.
Molasses is a great alternative to refined sugar, as it contains micronutrients to support optimal health. Molasses is a thick, dark, sweet and syrupy substance, used in a lot of baked goods and sauces. it is created with sugarcanes that are juiced; the juice is then boiled down into two components: sugar crystals and liquid. The liquid is boiled down even further to produce molasses.
What are the different types of molasses?
Molasses comes in three types: light, dark and blackstrap. Each type is determined by how much it gets boiled.
Light molasses is boiled just once, known as treacle, dark molasses is boiled twice and blackstrap molasses is boiled three times.
That makes blackstrap molasses the thickest and darkest colour variety. It is also the healthiest kind, with less sweetness and takes on a slightly fruity and bitter flavour.
Uses for molasses
Light molasses is the lightest in colour and contains the highest sugar content. It's used on top of pancakes and waffles, or as a sweetener in cakes.
Dark molasses is the most commonly used in baked goods and treats, such as energy balls. It's also been known to add sweetness to sauces like barbeque, black bean and hoisin.
Blackstrap molasses is a little less well-known, but it can be used for all the reasons listed above. Some people also mix blackstrap molasses with hot or cold water and consume it as a supplement, due to its rich magnesium content, providing healthy bowel movements.
Benefits of molasses
Molasses is very sweet, but unlike refined sugar, molasses also contains some antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.
Most notably, blackstrap molasses is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium.
Vegetarians and vegans may wish to add some blackstrap molasses to their diets as a nutritional supplement, though anyone can benefit from adding molasses into their diets. Here are some of our favourite benefits of blackstrap molasses:
Good for bone health
Calcium and magnesium are important to bone growth and bone health. These nutrients are important for protecting against diseases such as osteoporosis Just a tablespoon per day of blackstrap molasses provides at least 10% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of magnesium and calcium.
Good source of iron
Many people, including vegetarians, vegans, and some women, are vulnerable to developing iron deficiency anemia, causing those affected to feel chronically tired and cause the skin to bruise easily.
Blackstrap molasses is a good source of iron, just 1 tablespoon per day can provide up to 20% of the RDI of iron.
Good for muscles and heart health
Molasses is a great source of magnesium, as well as potassium. Potassium is an important nutrient along with magnesium to help regulate blood pressure, reduce muscle cramping, and reduce the risk of a stroke. One tablespoon of molasses can have as much potassium half a banana.
Is molasses right for everyone?
Molasses is a great way to add a sweet fruity flavour into your next dish. As well as boosting your micronutrient levels.
However, it is important to note that molasses should always be consumed in moderation as even though blackstrap molasses can have less impact on blood sugar levels than refined sugar, it can still significantly impact blood sugar levels if consumed in high amounts. Chat to your healthcare professional, if you have any concerns.
At healthy.co.nz, we stock the Melrose Organic Blackstrap Molasses, which has a bitter-sweet flavour and is gluten free, dairy free, ACO and vegan friendly.
Blog post from Melrosehealth.com.au