Blackstrap molasses is actually a by-product of the refining process of sugar – where cane sugar is converted into table sugar. Regular molasses come from the first and second boiling cycle, whereas the blackstrap variety comes from the third boiling cycle of the syrup.
Before white sugar was available, it used to be the sweetener of choice. The darker the color of the molasses, the less crystalline sugar it actually contains.
It can be consumed by dissolving a teaspoonful into a glass of water, or it can simply be added to food preparations, or even used as a basting sauce in the oven. It can be used as a base for meat stock, or even a marinade. Some people even enjoy it spread on toast.
Nutritional Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses
Unlike table sugar, which is basically stripped of all nutrients except the carbohydrates, blackstrap molasses contain a multitude of minerals that give it significantly more nutritional and health benefits. The minerals and vitamins contained in this health food include the following:
These minerals are connected to a range of bodily functions, ranging from involvement in the nervous system to brain function.
The health benefits of blackstrap molasses are numerous – considering its mineral content:
Iron is used in hemoglobin – the agent used to transport oxygen inside the body. Additionally, it plays a key role in your metabolism – hence the fact that people suffering from a deficiency in iron tend to feel as if they lack energy. Adequate intake of iron is vital to growing children, as well as pregnant (and lactating) women. Additionally, menstruating women tend to lose iron from their systems, and need to replenish the body’s supply. The iron is also helpful in treating anemia.
Calcium and magnesium are essential in maintaining the bone structure, but are also involved in the nervous system. The magnesium also helps to combat high blood pressure, heart palpitations, muscle cramps, and even migraines.
Copper is essential in the processing of iron, as well as in the control of free radicals. it is also involved in the development of body tissue, the control of cholesterol, and other physiological bodily processes.
Manganese is also involved in combating free radicals, as well as being involved in the nervous system. Additionally, it is involved in the processing of proteins and carbohydrates.
Potassium is an essential electrolyte. Not only does it play a vital role in the nervous system, but it is also involved in keeping the body’s pH stable.
It has also proven to be helpful as a natural cure to prevent of osteoporosis, as well as the treatment of digestion problems - including acid reflux and constipation. Additionally, it helps to control mood swings, menstrual cramps and other menstrual symptoms.
Blackstrap molasses is not an allergenic compound – and as such it is unlikely to cause any adverse reactions. Diabetics will obviously have to avoid it, since it does contain a degree of sugar.
Lastly, try to obtain organic molasses – some commercial varieties have sulfur added to them, and some people have shown unusual sensitivity to it.