Fancy molasses is one of the most well known forms of molasses, often used in cooking and baking! It’s lighter in colour, sweet and mild in flavour. However, have you ever heard of Blackstrap Molasses?
To obtain molasses, sugar cane is boiled multiple times depending on the type of molasses you’re going for. Fancy molasses is obtained from boiling sugar cane once. Blackstrap molasses is created when sugar cane is boiled 3 times, making it thicker, darker and more bitter than fancy molasses. Here’s everything you need to know!
The Science of Blackstrap Molasses
Antioxidants act to neutralize free radicals in our body, which are unstable molecules in our body that can damage the DNA in cells. Compared to refined sugars and alternative sweeteners such as corn syrup and raw cane sugar, blackstrap molasses has a highest quantity of antioxidants (Total antioxidant content of alternatives to refined sugar – PubMed (nih.gov). This can, in turn, lower our risk of cancer.
High levels of Iron
Iron is an essential component in red blood cells. Nearly 70% of the iron in our body is found in red blood cells! The bone marrow needs iron to produce red blood cells, which are responsible for delivering oxygen to the rest of our bodies. The recommended dietary allowance of iron is around 18mg for women and 8mg for men. A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses has about 2.4mg of iron, which is between 12% to 30% of iron that you need daily, slightly varying reports of 50 – 60 calories, 0 – 1 grams of protein and 0 grams of fat (nutrition breakdown).
If you do not consume sufficient iron, you may be at risk for iron-deficiency anemia. Without a sufficient supply of iron, our bodies cannot produce enough red blood cells, thus lowering our red blood cell count and our ability to effectively carry oxygen in our blood. Some symptoms of anemia include: fatigue, weakness, pale skin, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Populations that may be at risk of iron-deficiency anemia include adolescents, menstruating women, pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Decreases stress and anxiety
Blackstrap molasses contains vitamin B, calcium and magnesium, all of which contribute to decreasing stress and anxiety. Vitamin B6 raises serotonin levels in the brain, which is responsible for your mood and preventing pain, depression and fatigue. Studies show that low levels of vitamin B6 are directly associated with depression (Vitamin B6 level is associated with symptoms of depression – PubMed (nih.gov))
So how much blackstrap molasses should I eat? And how?
A healthy dosage of blackstrap molasses is still undetermined, but 1 tsp a day is a safe dosage. It is not recommended to consume more than 6 tsp of blackstrap molasses per day. Of course, consult your doctor before buying buckets of blackstrap molasses and chugging it!
A few popular ways to add blackstrap molasses to your diet is mixing 1 tsp of blackstrap molasses into a glass of warm water. You can also add blackstrap to your smoothies, baked beans, oatmeal, and even barbeque sauce, our trainer Gillian – her partner event puts it on toast!
Blackstrap molasses can also be used in specific recipes as substitutes. You can put them in cookies, bread, cake, gingerbread cookies, or even as a sauce for chicken wings and salmon! Here’s a link to various recipes you can try out: Our Best Blackstrap Molasses Recipes – Crosby’s (crosbys.com)
While blackstrap molasses is generally safe for consumption, there are a couple of reasons to avoid consuming it. Blackstrap molasses can act as a mild laxative, so individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, loose stool or watery diarrhea should avoid consumption until full recovery. Individuals allergic to sugar cane, or individuals with blackstrap molasses intolerance should avoid consumption altogether. Stop consuming blackstrap if any of these symptoms appear. As always, please check with your physician to see if this is a healthy alternative for you.
The anecdotal stuff
Unlike the scientifically proven benefits of blackstrap molasses listed above, there are a couple “wive’s tales” about its health benefits. Some individuals claim that blackstrap molasses is a great substitution for sugar as a sweetener, as it supposedly does not make your blood sugar spike as much, however there’s no science to back up this claim or prove it’s safer for individuals with diabetes. There are also claims that blackstrap molasses can promote bone health, boost hair health, relieve arthritis and promote healthy skin. We’ll wait for the researchers and scientists to confirm these ideas before we believe them!
This sounds disgusting – is it tasty?
Wondering what blackstrap molasses tastes like? Us too! We took it upon ourselves to taste test this infamous substance. Check out our reactions and thoughts in the video below.