Blackstrap molasses: Benefits and Nutrional value

What is molasses?

Molasses is a dense, viscous by-product obtained from the processing of sugarcane. The word molasses is derived from melaco (in Portuguese), derives from the Latin word "mel” which meant honey. Molasses does resemble honey in many ways, with its thick, viscous appearance, although the color is black, that’s why the origin of the name "blackstrap” to the front of the word which came from America, referencing a more bitter variety of molasses.

Cane molasses is a natural sweetener that can be used to replace sugar, bringing more advantages, especially to contain more nutrients like calcium, magnesium and iron. On the number of calories, cane syrup has fewer calories per 100 grams due to the presence of fiber, however one should not abuse on the amount as it can also gain weight.

Today, molasses is produced on a large scale in Brazil, Thailand, India, Taiwan, Philippines and the United States. Along with its use as a sweetener in food products, molasses also offers health benefits and is used to treat a wide range of diseases.



How Molasses Is Made?

The most common forms of molasses are made from either sugar cane or sugar beet juice which is boiled until is transformed to a syrup, which the sugar crystals are extracted from the syrup, being the molasses the remaining dark liquid. There are other foods besides sugar that Molasses can be made from: sorghum, pomegranate, carob, and dates.

Whats the difference between Usulphured . and Sulphured molasses?

The type of molasses Sulphured is the one that has been treated with sulphur dioxide as a preservative to conserve it. The sulphuring process can leave the molasses with a strong chemical flavor being less sweet, which make most commercial molasses turn to be unsulphured. Molasses extracted from ripe cane do not need sulfur and retain their rich flavor. This variety is referred to as non-sulfuric molasses.

What does Molasses taste like?

Light molasses has a sweet or mild taste, while dark molasses is richer and full-bodied, almost like saccharine at times, which is why it’s used to flavor sweet desserts and dishes. Blackstrap molasses tends to be bitter and unpleasant to eat alone by itself.

There are three varieties of molasses: light, dark and blackstrap; all of which come from different foods processed into sugar. Light molasses has a sweet or mild taste, while dark molasses is richer and more full-bodied, almost saccharine at times, which is why it’s used to flavor sweet desserts. Blackstrap molasses tends to be bitter and unpleasant to eat alone, being great to mix with other foods such as cookies and cakes, and its taste match well with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.

What are the main 3 types of molasses?

Light Molasses

Light molasses is made from the first boiling of the cane or beet juice. It is the lightest in color, sweetest, and mildest in flavor. This is the most commonly sold molasses, being commonly used in baking. Light molasses used to make cookies softer and bread crustier, and also used in marinades and sauces for food.

Dark Molasses?

Dark molasses comes from the second boiling of the cane or beet juice. This is a by-product of the refining of sugarcane juice. Beet molasses, on the other hand, are a by-product of sucrose extraction from beet sugar Thicker, less sweet, darker, and stronger in flavor than light molasses. It can generally be replaced for the light molasses in all uses where Molasses is commonly used.

What is Blackstrap Molasses?

Blackstrap molasses is made from the third and final boiling of the molasses, being obtained from the production of raw sugar and canned refined sugar. It is considered the healthiest of all molasses since it retains the most vitamins and minerals that are not present in white sugar. It is the thickest and darkest in color, also the least sweet with a pronounced bitter flavor. Because it is bitter, should only use blackstrap molasses if a recipe specifically calls for it. Do not replace it in recipes that match better with light or dark molasses. Blackstrap molasses is great in savory dishes like baked beans and BBQ meat.

The extraordinary Nutrional Value of Molasses

Nutritional value of molasses: Molasses contain a large number of essential minerals, such as Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Copper, Iron, Phosphorus, Chromium, Cobalt and Sodium. It is a good source of carbohydrates and energy and contains sugars. In addition, molasses offers several vitamins such as Niacin, Vitamin B6, Thiamine and riboflavin. Molasses is very low, both in the content of fats and fibers.

Nutrional Value:

290 - calories
0 - fat
0 - cholesterol
37 milligrams - sodium
75 grams - carbohydrate
0 dietary - fiber
0 grams - sugar
0 - protein
0.7 - vitamin B6 (34% of Daily Value)
0.8 - milligrams pantothenic acid (8% of Daily Value)
0.9 - milligrams niacin (5% of Daily Value)
0.1 - milligrams thiamine (3% of Daily Value)
1.5 - milligrams manganese (77% of Daily Value)
242 - milligrams magnesium (61% of Daily Value)
1,5 milligrams potassium (42% of Daily Value)
4.7 milligrams iron (26% of Daily Value)
17 micrograms selenium (25% percent of Daily Value)
0.5 milligrams copper (24% percent of Daily Value)
205 milligrams calcium (20% percent of Daily Value)
31 milligrams phosphorus (3% percent of Daily Value)
37 milligrams sodium (2 % of Daily Value)

Source from: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/45238944

18 benefits of Blackstrap Molasses

The benefits of molasses are diverse as it has a lot of nutrients essential for the general health of the body. In addition, the benefits of molasses to health include relief from problems related to menstruation, obesity, diabetes, stress, cancer, prostate enlargement, acne and other skin conditions, constipation, headaches and anemia.

It also helps to improve bone health preventing osteoporosis, electrolyte balance, hair health, sexual health, nervous system functioning and improve wound healing. Molasses also helps boost the immune system, maintain healthy hemoglobin levels and aid in the formation of new cells in the body.

Molasses is a nutritious sweetener that contains a considerable amount of nutrients that are essential for the body's functioning, unlike refined white sugar, which contains only simple carbohydrates and other components such as aspartame, which are not very healthy for the body, lacking in all the vitamins and minerals.


Antioxidant benefits:

Studies have shown that molasses contain the highest number of antioxidants compared to refined sugar, corn syrup, raw cane and other readily available sweeteners. These antioxidants protect the body against the oxidative damage associated with cancer, cardiovascular diseases and degenerative diseases. This makes molasses a much better alternative to refined sugar.

Benefits for Menstruation:

Molasses is a good source of iron and is very effective for menstruating women who are at higher risk of iron deficiency due to blood loss. Without fat and few calories, molasses is the best alternative to contribute with Iron content in the body, compared to other fatty sources such as red meat.

Iron prevents several diseases such as menorrhagia, which causes blood flow to be excessive for a longer period during menstruation. Minerals, such as Calcium and Magnesium, that are present in molasses help prevent blood clotting, relieve menstrual pain and help maintain uterine muscle health. Molasses is a healthy alternative compared to other medications for menstrual discomfort, which can have certain side effects.

Benefits for Obesity:

The polyphenols present in molasses have antioxidant effects that can be effective in reducing obesity and managing weight gain. In research conducted to assess the impact of molasses on a high-fat diet, it was evident that the molasses extract helps in reducing body weight and fat content by reducing the absorption of calories in the body.

Benefits for Healthy Sexual life:

Molasses is rich in the trace mineral of Manganese, which helps in the healthy production of sex hormones. It also plays a key role in the functioning of the nervous system, in preventing the formation of blood clots and producing energy from proteins and carbohydrates. Manganese deficiency can lead to infertility, general fatigue and weak bones.

Benefits for Constipation:

Molasses have been proven to be valuable in the treatment of constipation. Several research have shown that the enemas of milk and molasses are as effective as enemas of sodium phosphate, given in the pediatric emergency department to cure constipation. It is also noteworthy that the cure of constipation with sodium phosphate requires an additional rectal treatment. However, this is not necessary in the treatment with enemas of milk and molasses when consumed orally.

Benefits for Bones:

Black strap molasses is a good source of calcium, which plays a key role in maintaining bone health, functioning of the enzyme system, removal of toxins from the colon and function of the cell membrane. It is also needed to keep your teeth healthy and protects your body against bone disease common during menopause. In addition to healthy bones, the ability of muscle contraction is also attributed to the presence of Calcium in the body.

Benefits for Rheumatism:

Molasses has been used effectively in the preparation of medications for the treatment of rheumatism and neuralgia. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of molasses make it a reliable ingredient for curing such disorders.

Benefits for Diabetes:

Molasses helps stabilize blood sugar levels. It has a low glycemic index and helps slow down the metabolism of glucose and carbohydrates, which subsequently means less insulin production. This helps prevent accumulation of excess fats or lipids in the blood. Molasses has a substantial amount of the essential trace element of chromium, which is valuable in relation to the action of insulin and maintenance of glucose tolerance in the body.

Scientific research has shown that molasses contains a greater amount of chromium (0.266 mg / kg) than refined white sugar and brown sugar. Chromium deficiency can result in poor glucose tolerance that can lead to diabetes. This can pose a serious risk for chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, blood cholesterol and other heart disorders.

Benefits for prevent Hypokalemia:

Molasses contain the essential mineral, Potassium, which is necessary for the proper functioning of cells. It helps maintain the acid-base balance of the body and prevents heat exhaustion. Potassium plays an important role in muscle and nerve contraction and helps maintain heart health. Proper intake of potassium-rich foods like molasses helps to prevent disorder like hypokalemia and lowers blood pressure.

Benefits for Acne Relief:

The benefits of molasses for health also include acne relief. Molasses contain lactic acid, which helps relieve the symptoms of acne. Lactic acid is produced by lactic acid bacteria and plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates. It is effectively used in the preparation of natural, non-toxic and non-allergic treatments of a physiological nature to cure acne and other skin diseases. Besides molasses, lactic acid is also present in sour milk, apple and tomato juice.

Benefits to cure wounds:

Molasses has been used for its healing effects in treating wounds and burning the skin. It also promotes healthy tissue growth. Due to the great variety of essential minerals, molasses serves very well as a potent healer.

Benefits for Red Blood Cells levels:

Molasses are rich in copper, which helps to eradicate free radicals in the body. This helps in the absorption of iron, the formation of red blood cells and maintains a healthy immune system. Copper deficiency can result in anemia, thyroid problems, cardiac arrhythmia, and osteoporosis.

Benefits for Hemoglobin levels:

Iron content in molasses helps maintain healthy hemoglobin levels. Hemoglobin plays a key role in delivering oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. It is also vital for energy production and assists in maintaining a healthy metabolism.

Benefits for New Cell Formation:

Molasses is also sometimes referred to as pregnancy tea due to the presence of Iron, Vitamin B (ie Folic Acid) and other essential minerals. The consumption of molasses during pregnancy also provides calcium, which is necessary for the growth and development of the baby.

Benefits for the Nervous System:

Molasses contains magnesium, which contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous system. It keeps our nerves and blood vessels relaxed, balancing Calcium volume and preventing it from running to the nerves. The calcium-releasing fluxes into the nerves can activate them and lead to the transmission of many signs and excessive nervous contraction. Magnesium deficiency in the body can lead to hypertension, muscle cramps, spasms and general fatigue of the body.

Benefits against Headache and Fatigue:

Molasses is a good source of various minerals and vitamins, such as Vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid. The deficiency of these vitamins can cause headaches, asthma, fatigue and stress. The consumption of molasses will help provide these vitamins and minerals needed and will help in maintaining good general health.

Benefits against Cancer:

In addition to several vitamins and minerals, molasses also contain Selenium, which is beneficial in the treatment of cancer.

Benefits in Hair Care:

Molasses extracts are good for hair and also for promoting healthy hair growth. It softens and conditions the hair, adds a rich texture and prevents the graying prematurely.

What scientific research studies say about Molasses?

Name of study: Menorrhagia: A synopsis of management focusing on herbal and nutritional supplements, and chiropractic.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077876/

A study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that low levels of vitamin B6 causes depression, as the vitamin contributes to the tryptophan-serotonin pathway
Name of study: Vitamin B6 level is associated with symptoms of depression.
A low level of vitamin B6 might theoretically cause depression as vitamin B6 is a cofactor in the tryptophan-serotonin pathway.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15479988

The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that Blackstrap molasses helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which can be extremely beneficial for people with diabetes.
Name of study: Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9356027

Study published in the Journal of the American Diabetic Association suggests that blackstrap molasses serves as a nutritious alternative to refined sugar because it offers the potential benefit of antioxidant activity.
Name of study: Total antioxidant content of alternatives to refined sugar.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19103324

Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology study found that Blackstrap molasses contains lactic acid, which is produced by bacteria that plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism. Lactic acid is considered a natural acne treatment and also can help to cure other skin problems.
Name of study: Effects of applying molasses, lactic acid bacteria and propionic acid on fermentation quality, aerobic stability and in vitro gas production of total mixed ration silage prepared with oat-common vetch intercrop on the Tibetan Plateau.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25996908

What Traditional Chinese Medicine says about Blackstrap Molasses?

Molasses is an old food as well medicine used in the ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). According to TCM theory is considered warm and tonifies blood and energy of body, strengthens the spleen, lubricates lungs, stops cough.

Traditionally used to treat stomach and abdominal pain, energy and blood deficiency, cough.
Its common to used it together with other herbs that are effective to treat cough, and as well other herbs that are common to use to tonify the blood.

In Chinese Medicine Dietetics its common to mix black sesame powder with molasses for tonifying the blood. Another Chinese herb is Lycium or commonly known as Goji Berries, is normally boiled in water and then mix molasses together to drink as a nice sweet tea to tonify the blood and treat anemia or exhaustion. Can also add Ginseng powder in case there is deficiency of energy, when the person is feeling tyred and without initiave and always want to lie down.

How to use Molasses?

Blackstrap molasses is commonly used as a natural sweetener and sugar alternative. Some people use it as a spread or topping on toast, oatmeal and porridges. It’s also a great sweetener for marinades, barbeque sauce and to use while baking.

Blackstrap molasses serves as a brown sugar alternative, too. But instead molasses is healthier, you can use molasses to balance the lack of minerals and vitamins that normally white sugar don’t have.
Blackstrap molasses is about two-thirds as sweet as refined sugar, but it can be used in recipes that call for brown sugar, honey and maple syrup.

You can use molasses in any number of ways, but due to the flavor profile, molasses are commonly included in desserts and other sweet treats as a flavoring agent. If want to use it as a natural health remedy, they can be orally consumed, most commonly use by diluting it with water as a hair treatment, spread topically on the skin, mixed with tea or coffee, glazed on vegetables.

Adding it to coffee it will improve the flavor of the coffee by lowering the acidic taste and enhancing coffee nutrition value, turning it less harmful for stomach and healthier in general.

Another wonderful way to use it, is by incorporating molasses in oatmeal, yogurt or granola, why not sweeten it with blackstrap molasses, turning it into a nutritious breakfast. It’s a mineral-rich alternative to the honey or maple syrup that can be used daily.

Blackstrap molasses makes a great binding agent for recipes such as homemade power bars or energy balls since it is so sticky. Try to replace honey or maple syrup in your recipe with blackstrap molasses to add a deeper flavor and a nutritional and healthy energy. It match great with ingredients such as dates, cinnamon, almonds and raisins.

Other common way to use it, to have a morning tonic drink, by using blackstrap molasses in the morning, contributing for a healthy boost to put you well for the day by helping to balance stress hormones, stimulate digestion and detox, and regulate blood sugar.

Molasses are quite popular in the use of baked goods such as tarts, gingerbread and baked beans. It is also used in the manufacture of rum which is one of the reasons why rum is so popular in areas where growing sugar cane and molasses its production is in abundance.

Other uses of molasses: used for animal feed. Molasses is a carbon source and is effectively used in horticulture to feed microbes and increase soil microbial activity. Beet molasses are also used to make fertilizers. Molasses is a beneficial sweetener that is rich in micro and macronutrients naturally available.


How much Blackstrap Molasses should I take?

Since blackstrap molasses is relatively high on the glycemic index, it isn’t recommended to eat it in excess. However, it is generally considered safe to consume 2 tablespoons every morning, if you are trying to consume it regularly to get healthy benefits and prevent diseases. This will deliver about 120 calories, 24 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, as well as significant amounts of important minerals and B vitamins.

Where to buy Blackstrap molasses?

When purchasing blackstrap molasses, look for products that are organic and unsulfured.
It can be bought in so many places, from normal supermarkets to Bio and Organic foods shop, or even online shops.

Sources:

http://naturalsociety.com/unsulphered-blackstrap-molasses-benefits-health/
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/health-benefits-of-molasses.html
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318719.php

Sugar Processing Research Institute. (2001). Technical Report Nr. SPRI 2001-2The Effects of Sulfur Dioxide in Sugar Processing Comparing Model Sucrose and Cane Juice Systems.
Ghttps://www.medicalilbert RA, Shine Jr JM, Miller JD, et al. (2004). Sucrose accumulation and harvest schedule recommendations for CP sugarcane varieties. University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service Fact Sheet SS-AGR-221. University of Florida, UF/IFAS Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS) Database.
World Health Organization. (1974).Sulfur dioxide and sulfites. Toxicological evaluation of some food additives including anticaking agents, antimicrobials, antioxidants, emulsifiers and thickening agents. Seventeenth Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series, No. 53.


Posted by Dr. João Carrilho

Dr. João Carrilho
Doctor in Traditional Chinese Medicine by Southwest Medical University, China.
Licensed Acupuncturist (N.0500096) and Phytotherapist (N.0400028) by the Portuguese Health Ministry.
Post-Graduated in Health Sciences at Oporto University, Portugal

Related Posts: