This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Research finds that real maple syrup, which comes from the sap of a maple tree, can thwart the formation of the two hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s. The syrup halts the abnormal physiology that leads to the disease, and so it could be quite a valuable health booster.
Maple Syrup Curbs Formation of Amyloid Plaque
In the study presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting, scientists discovered the preventive effect of maple syrup against neurodegenerative disease. When analyzing the results of 24 studies that dealt with promoting a healthy brain through diet, the benefits of the syrup became clear. It helped stop the clumping together of two types of proteins present in brain cells. These are beta amyloid and tau peptide. When the protein strands improperly fold together and build up, they form plaque. This problem is the root cause of Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders.
Maple Syrup Prevents Plaque Tangling in the Brain
When the researchers analyzed the effects of maple syrup in animals that already had Alzheimer’s, they found it prevented their brain cells from tangling and prolonged their lives. As beta amyloid proteins intertwine, they form tangled clumps that block the passage of signals from cell to cell. This impedes communication between certain regions of the brain. These blockages lead to inflammation. They also cause the destruction of disabled cells.
“We already know that maple has more than 100 bioactive compounds, some of which have anti-inflammatory properties,” said Serge Beaulieu, the president of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. “Brain health is the latest topic of exploration. And we look forward to learning more about the potential benefits that maple syrup might have in this area.”
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According to the scientists, the ingredients in maple syrup responsible for the positive effects are phenolic compounds. These compounds are plant antioxidants that remove free radicals before they can harm the cells. Other botanicals contain these beneficial constituents as well.
“Natural food products such as green tea, red wine, berries and pomegranates continue to be studied for their potential benefits in combating Alzheimer’s disease,” stated lead researcher Dr. Navindra P. Seeram, a scientist at Texas State University. “And now, in preliminary laboratory-based Alzheimer’s disease studies, phenolic-enriched extracts of maple syrup from Canada showed neuroprotective effects, similar to resveratrol, a compound found in red wine.”
Guide to Buying Maple Syrup
Most breakfast and pancake syrups bear no resemblance to real maple syrup. They are a mixture of high fructose corn syrup and flavoring. When shopping, check the label of the product to see if it’s 100% pure maple syrup. Avoid maple flavoring. The real thing comes in different colors, ranging from golden to amber to dark. The lighter shades have a more delicate flavor suitable for pancakes. The darker shades have a more robust flavor and are excellent for baking. Plastic jugs will keep the syrup fresh in the refrigerator for four months. However, glass bottles will keep it fresh for up to two years.
How to Use Maple Syrup
Aside from pouring maple syrup over pancakes and adding it to recipes for baked goods, you can include it your diet in other ways. It imparts wonderful flavor to pumpkin soup or roasted vegetables. These include butternut squash, sweet potatoes or brussels sprouts. You could also use it in homemade granola or pour it over plain yogurt. Another idea is to combine it with chili powder and red pepper to flavor popcorn.