(NaturalNews) Molasses is a thick syrup produced when the sugar cane plant is processed to make refined sugar for mass consumption. Whereas the toxic and unhealthy refined sugar is destined for our supermarket shelves, the highly nutritious molasses - which contains all the minerals and nutrients absorbed by the plant - is more likely to be sold as livestock feed instead.
Fortunately, the nutritional value of molasses is becoming better-known, and various grades of molasses are now being sold to us as baking ingredients, sugar substitutes and mineral supplements. This is especially true of blackstrap molasses, the highest and most nutritious grade of molasses. Below is a list of blackstrap's health benefits and advice on how to consume it as a health supplement.
What blackstrap molasses does for us
Good for hair - One serving (two tablespoons) of blackstrap contains approximately 14 percent of our RDI of copper, an important trace mineral whose peptides help rebuild the skin structure that supports healthy hair. Consequently, long-term consumption of blackstrap has been linked to improved hair quality, hair regrowth in men and even a restoration of your hair's original color! Click here for more information about blackstrap's hair benefits.
Safe sweetener for diabetics - Unlike refined sugar, blackstrap molasses has a moderate glycemic load of 55. This makes it a good sugar substitute for diabetics and individuals who are seeking to avoid blood sugar spikes. Moreover, one serving of blackstrap contains no fat and only 32 calories, making it suitable for a weight loss diet.
Laxative qualities - Blackstrap is a natural stool softener that can improve the regularity and quality of your bowel movements.
Rich in iron - Two tablespoons of blackstrap contain 13.2 percent of our RDI of iron, which our bodies need to carry oxygen to our blood cells. People who are anemic (including pregnant women) will greatly benefit from consuming 1-2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses per day.
High in calcium and magnesium - Blackstrap molasses contains a mineral profile that has been optimized by nature for superior absorption. For example, two tablespoons of blackstrap contains 11.7 percent of our RDI of calcium and 7.3 percent of our RDI of magnesium. This calcium-magnesium ratio is ideal, since our bodies need large quantities of magnesium to help absorb similarly large quantities of calcium. Both of these minerals aid the growth and development of bones, making blackstrap a good safeguard against osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
Additional mineral content - Two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses also contains 18 percent of our RDI of manganese (which helps produce energy from proteins and carbohydrates), 9.7 percent of our RDI of potassium (which plays an important role in nerve transmission and muscle contraction), 5 percent of our RDI of vitamin B6 (which aids brain and skin development) and 3.4 percent of our RDI of selenium, an important antioxidant.
Taking blackstrap as a health supplement
The best way to take blackstrap as a supplement is to mix between 1-2 tablespoons of it in a cup of boiling water and then drink it through a straw once the water has cooled. (The straw helps the molasses bypass your teeth.) This should be done daily, ideally first thing in the morning when you need the energy most.
Finally, remember to purchase blackstrap that is organic and unsulfured. Two reputable brands of molasses in the United States that sell natural, unsulfured blackstrap are Grandma's Molasses and Brer Rabbit Molasses, though other good brands can be found in health food stores.
About the author: Michael Ravensthorpe is an independent writer whose research interests include nutrition, alternative medicine, and bushcraft. He is the creator of the website, Spiritfoods, through which he promotes the world's healthiest foods.