Maple syrup is a viscous amber liquid with an earthy sweet taste. It is made from the sap of the sugar, black or red maple tree. While maple syrup is not raw, it is vegan and you’ll often find maple syrup in raw recipes. Look for Grade B maple syrup; it is darker in color and contains a higher content of minerals.

Maple syrup is a good sweetener to use for heart health. The zinc supplied by maple syrup, in addition to acting as an antioxidant, has other functions that can decrease the progression of atherosclerosis. Zinc is needed for the proper function of endothelial cells and helps to prevent the endothelial damage caused by oxidized LDL cholesterol and other oxidized fats. (The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels.) Endothelial membranes low in zinc are much more prone to injury. Additionally, studies have found that in adults deficient in manganese, the other trace mineral amply supplied in maple syrup, the level of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) is decreased.

Nutrition: Maple syrup contains high amounts of zinc and manganese. Compared to honey, maple syrup has 15 times more calcium and one tenth the sodium.

Uses: Maple syrup has a unique flavor with hints of caramel and toffee. It is best used in desserts that lend themselves to that caramel flavor.

Buy maple syrup at shopOrganic.

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