All Woman

Using molasses as a sweetener

Monday, November 26, 2012    

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Dear Donovan,

I have noticed in your recommended diet plans that you advise adding molasses to tea in the mornings for an energy boost. I read that blackstrap molasses is high in B vitamins, iron and a host of other minerals. Is blackstrap molasses the same type of molasses available locally on the supermarket shelves? Can you advise me of the best brand to get locally?

Thank you.

— Maureen

Good day Maureen,

As you have pointed out, I usually suggest the adding of molasses to teas, instead of sugar, for a bit of energy. To answer your question specifically, blackstrap molasses is not the same as ordinary molasses. Blackstrap molasses is obtained from the third boil of sugar cane syrup, compared to the first or the second boil for regular molasses.

Blackstrap molasses contains about five per cent more iron and less sugar than regular molasses. Because of its low glycaemic index, it can be used as a sweetener for diabetics, especially since it would demand less insulin production to stabilise the blood sugar level. The carbohydrate present in molasses is also broken down slowly.

When purchasing molasses, it is advisable to check out the label to see if it is blackstrap. Sulphur dioxide is sometimes also added during production as a preservative, so be sure to check whether it contains sulphur, just in case you are sensitive to it. It is also best to try and source the organic brand instead.

Calcium present in molasses is also important in the formation of proper bones and teeth, it prevents bone loss due to menopause and reduces migraine headaches. It also reduces the risk of colon cancer.

Blackstrap molasses has a small amount of sugar, but unlike refined sugar, it contains significant amounts of B-vitamins and some minerals, for example calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. Among other things, the B-vitamins are very important in controlling the metabolic rate.

Blackstrap molasses is also a good source of iron, so menstruating women can take molasses because they are at a higher risk for iron deficiency. Iron also helps in the formation of haemoglobin, which helps in the transportation of oxygen. Iron is also important in energy production and metabolism.

Copper, also found in molasses, is a major component of many enzymes, therefore playing a major role in many physiological reactions, for example iron mutation. Copper may also play a role in the removal of free radicals from the body, thereby protecting against cancer.

Molasses also contains the essential trace element manganese. This is important in the production of energy from carbohydrates. Manganese is also important in maintaining a healthy nervous system.

I generally suggest that my clients drink half a lime squeezed in a glass of water with a half teaspoon of molasses added, first thing in the morning.

The water can be at any temperature you are comfortable with.

By having this solution, you would be bolstering your body with a whole lot of nutrients.

Limes are good because they will supply a fair amount of vitamin C. This is important in boosting the immune system and preventing colds and the flu, especially at this time of the year. In addition, lime juice is a good degreaser, hence it being an active ingredient in some dishwashing liquids and soaps, and in our bodies, lime juice will definitely help to improve our bowel motion.

It is very important to pass out the remains of old foods before putting in new foods. Also, lime water cuts the appetite and it removes mucous from the body, which is why people generally take lime juice and honey when they are coming down with a cold or getting stuffy. It is always best to get real limes instead of using the lime juice from the supermarket shelf.

We will answer your weight- related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, Suite 16, 39 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston 5. Send your questions to wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com.

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