(NaturalNews) Because of its reputation for being used to prepare livestock feed and other commercial uses, molasses needs to be understood as a disregarded source of vital human nutrients lacking in most of our diets. Molasses provides a sweetener that is safe for most glucose or blood sugar level issues and has several naturally available minerals. It has been used to help remedy many unhealthy conditions.
Ironically, molasses is the by product or "waste" from processing sugar cane or beet into table sugar. Refined table sugar creates blood sugar and insulin instability while providing no nutrients. Actually, refined sugar will pull nutrients, especially minerals, out of the body if consumed enough.
How Molasses is Made
Sugar canes are harvested and machines are used to press the juice out of the cane. The sugar cane roots go very deeply into the soil, commonly 15 feet down and ranging from 6.5 to 19 feet - deep enough to bypass nutrient depleted topsoils that have become the norm and take in more nutrients. That juice is boiled then put through centrifugal machinery to extract the sugar crystals from the liquid. There are three grades of molasses: sulphured, unsulphured, and blackstrap.
Sulphur is used to process unripe green sugar cane. This chemical sulphur is not so good for most human consumption. Sun ripened sugar cane is processed without using sulphur. So unsulphered molasses is a better choice. The third boiling necessary to extract table sugar from sugar cane or beet sugar produces a thick dark substance known as blackstrap molasses, which is the most nutrient dense of all.
Why Use It?
It is well established that synthetically derived or composed mineral supplements are not as beneficial as whole food sources naturally nutrient dense. Iron supplements, for example, tend to create constipation and other digestive problems. Minerals are not only removed by processing foods, they tend to be lacking in depleted topsoils used for raising crops.
Many health sources claim that minerals and enzymes are even more important than vitamins for our health. For example, magnesium is essential to the metabolism and synthesis of almost all the other minerals and vitamins. Yet several health practitioners have gone on record saying that most of the population is lacking even sufficient magnesium levels. Might there be some health problems associated with that?
So What's It Got?
First thing for the sugar wary (and weary) to consider is blackstrap molasses has a low glycemic index. This means the glucose and carbohydrates are metabolized slowly, demanding less insulin production and stabilizing blood sugar. The result is less lipids or fats occurring in the blood. And it means that you're chances of becoming diabetic while satisfying your sweet tooth is virtually nil.
Because of its high iron content, many use blackstrap molasses to holistically overcome anemia. Iron is essential to creating red blood cells. In addition to iron, blackstrap molasses contains folate, a natural source for folic acid, along with some other B vitamins, which all combine to form the synergistic mix that promotes red blood cell production.
Then there is magnesium in abundance, along with calcium. Both are densely packaged within this natural food source. Magnesium is important for balancing with calcium for bone production and energy. It is necessary for the smooth function of our nervous system. It is also helpful in maintaining heart health. Insufficient magnesium levels can result in muscle spasms, including the heart muscle, which of course relates to arrhythmia or even heart attacks.
Potassium is another mineral abundant in blackstrap molasses. A deficiency in potassium results in weak muscles and is considered a factor in causing arthritis. Potassium also helps maintain a calmly functioning nervous system. It too is important for the nervous system and heart health. Even the American Heart Association has included unsulphured blackstrap molasses as a food supportive of good heart health.
Manganese, a trace mineral, is very high in content with unsulphured blackstrap molasses. Manganese ions function with a number of enzymes, and are essential to combating unusual free radicals. Like magnesium, manganese also supports cellular absorption of nutrients, and is also beneficial to the nervous system.
There certainly are a lot of nervous system supporting nutrients in this sweetener! Seems that it would be a useful alternative and deterrent to the hyperactivity and ADD in youngsters who consume too much sugar. And unsulphured blackstrap molasses has been used successfully for just that!
This trace mineral also helps synthesize fatty acids and stabilize blood sugar levels. It's true that too much manganese can be toxic. But it takes consistent breathing of manganese dust from industrial sources for that to happen.
Other minerals that appear in abundance are copper and zinc. Zinc has been tagged as the male mineral because it helps support a healthy prostate. Working with zinc, copper helps eliminate the oxidation damage of superoxides.
All the minerals and nutrients of unsulphured blackstrap molasses are in their natural, balanced form to create a bio-accessible, nutritional synergy unavailable from supplements that are not food. Regardless of the amounts of nutrients listed in synthesized supplements, there is more bang for the buck with whole or super food sources.
A few health professionals recommend a clinical determination of whether any anemic condition is actually caused by an iron deficiency. The cautious thinking is that in the rare cases iron deficiency is not the cause of anemia, one might add to an already high iron storage and create iron toxicity.
There are many testimonial anecdotes concerning the use of unsulphured blackstrap molasses. Most revolve around the fact that anemia was overcome or greatly lessened without the constipation or stomach problems from iron supplements. The result was better heart health, more energy, relief from rheumatoid arthritis, improved skin conditions, and even restored hair color!
Unsulphured blackstrap molasses can be incorporated with many food items as a sweetener despite its distinctive flavor. It works in teas or hot cereals, on pancakes and waffles or desert items, or used as a glaze for cooking. Some people take right to it. Others, especially those who have taste buds conditioned for years by sugar and artificial sweeteners, find it lacking as a sweetener.
Just like any transition from unhealthy processed "tasty" foods to healthier real foods, taste can be acquired even to a point of wondering why the junk food was consumed with so much relish while wholesome food was shunned! What is more important: a long lasting healthier condition, or immediately satisfying cravings that lead to serious health problems?
Unsulphured blackstrap molasses is easily managed as a tonic. Mixing a tablespoon or two with a glass of warm water works well as a mineral tonic. Some have used this mix three times a day as a remedy for extreme conditions. Restoring or maintaining health through natural foods requires a sustained intake over time, but is still less expensive than medications or even supplements. And the results are real and permanent without side effects.
Paul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com