Good news, sugar lovers. There's now more reason than ever to drown your pancakes in maple syrup. (And no, this is not an April Fool's gag.)
Scientists from the University of Rhode Island have discovered Canadian maple syrup may have similar health benefits of superfoods, like berries, tea, red wine and flax seeds.
According to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, the researchers found 54 compounds in the sweet stuff, more than double the amount previously discovered. And many of these compounds have antioxidant properties, which act as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agents.
The federation also reports that initial results suggest maple syrup could play a role in managing Type 2 diabetes, although this has yet to be backed by clinical trials. Certain compounds found in the syrup, called polyphenols, were shown to inhibit enzymes that are involved in converting carbohydrates into sugar.
These findings were presented this week at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting in Anaheim, California.
"These new scientific findings underscore the nutritional message whereby food that undergoes little to no processing provides greater health benefits," dietitian Hélène Laurendeau said in a press release from the federation. "100% pure Maple syrup is a natural, non-refined product, which gives it an edge over other sweetening agents. We have reason to be proud of our maple syrup, whose unique flavour makes it a versatile addition to countless culinary creations."
Lead researcher Dr. Navindra Seeram of the University of Rhode Island added the sheer quantity and variety of health-promoting compounds his team found may be enough to qualify maple syrup as a superfood itself.