Ask any North American to tell you their favourite topping for pancakes or waffles and very likely they’ll say pure Canadian maple syrup. Sought after worldwide for its distinctive and delicious flavour, pure Canadian maple syrup is also good for those not on sugar-reduced diets. Now there is even more good news and good reason to support one of our leading Canadian industries.
Dr. Donald Weaver, of the Krembil Research Institute at the University of Toronto, presented research at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society held in San Diego, CA in 2016 that proved maple syrup’s health benefits. Dr. Weaver’s study showed that pure maple syrup extract may help prevent the derangement of two types of proteins found in brain cells – beta amyloid and tau peptide. These cellular proteins can fold improperly and clump together, forming a plaque that is involved in the development of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.
Other research presented at the symposium showed that pure maple syrup extract had neuroprotective effects in rodents’ microglial brain cells. Past scientific research found that a decrease in microglial brain cell function is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and similar neurological problems.
The idea that an everyday breakfast choice associated with sugar, calories and secret, sinful delight could now be a healthier choice for brain health is excellent news. Already we see coffee, doughnuts, bacon, sausage, sauces and other mass consumables sold with maple syrup flavouring. Perhaps maple syrup infused products may become the new health food of choice and bite into sales of chocolate, often noted for it’s mood-boosting, anti-oxidant and anti-depression health benefits.
Most importantly, maple syrup should be vegan and is perfect for non-diabetic kids or adults who choose not to use honey for ethical or other reasons. We say “should be” as you must read the product label to be sure there are no additives, non-vegan and otherwise. One should be reminded too that maple syrup will still break down to simple glucose and may not be suitable for certain diets. Still, it’s a better choice than other forms of sugar or chemical sweeteners for most people.
Be mindful that “maple flavour” in foods is unlikely to be maple syrup at all let alone 100% maple syrup so don’t be fooled by marketing. Most flavourings are chemically-derived and not natural at all, and often accompany high doses of sugar. Look for 100% Canadian Maple Syrup on the label.
Canada’s maple syrup industry is focused largely in Quebec where 90% of the maple syrup manufactured and sold from Canada is produced. Two-thirds of our exported maple syrup lands on American tables while Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and France are also in the top five consumers list.