Maple syrup: A miracle food

Maple syrup: A miracle food

Recent research out of McGill University in Montreal, Canada has found that maple syrup not only serves to make pancakes more delectable, concentrated extract from North American maple trees mixed with antibiotics may act as a sort of “kryptonite” for disease-causing superbug bacteria, by making them more susceptible to the drugs they have been becoming increasingly resistant to after decades of over-use.

In fact, tests conducted by Prof. Nathalie Tufenkji of the school’s Department of Chemical Engineering found that adding a concentrated extract of maple syrup (rich in phenolic compounds) found that it enhanced the drugs’ abilities to combat certain bacteria, including E. coli as well as “synergistically act with antibiotics in destroying resistant communities of bacteria known as biofilms such as Proteus mirabilis found in difficult-to-treat infections including catheter-associated urinary tract infections The “trick” seems to center around the fact that the maple syrup from the trees is a rich source of phenolic compounds.

“We would have to do in vivo tests, and eventually clinical trials before we can say what the effect would be in humans, but the findings suggest a potentially simple and effective approach for reducing antibiotic usage. I could see maple syrup extract being incorporated eventually, for example, into the capsules of antibiotics,” stated Tufenski, who obtained all her samples of syrup from local food stores. She has also been conducting experiments using cranberry derivatives to fight bacterial infections.

In addition, Navindra Seeram of the University of Rhode Island, and Chong Lee, professor of nutrition and food sciences in URI’s College of the Environment and Life Sciences found that phenolics in maple syrup work as anti-oxidant compounds and inhibit two carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes that play an important role in managing Type 2 diabetes.

To date, at least 54 other beneficial compounds in pure maple syrup that play key roles in human health have been confirmed by scientists during the past couple of years. Among these is a molecule known as quebecol, which is actually created when the water in maple sap is boiled off to obtain the syrup, and could (one day) be used to synthesize medicines to treat inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.

“I continue to say that nature is the best chemist, and that maple syrup is becoming a champion food when it comes to the number and variety of beneficial compounds found in it,” Seeram stated back in 2015. “It’s important to note that in our laboratory research we found that several of these compounds possess anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses.”

Meanwhile, it should be noted that zinc found in pure maple syrup can also serve to give you a healthier heart by protecting the endothelial cells against damage due to the existence of excessive amounts of cholesterol, together with other oxidized lipids. In fact, the consumption of low levels of zinc has been thought to protect and prevent blood vessels against various cardiovascular disorders including atherosclerosis and stroke. Zinc is also beneficial in maintaining prostate health in men, while both zinc and magnesium found in maple syrup both play key roles in shoring up the immune system.

Note: Just because the medical community has been finding more and more reasons why people should enjoy (pure) maple syrup on their foods, researchers warn against guzzling it and recommend that readers should consult with their healthcare providers before embarking on major dietary changes. At the same time, many researchers predict that we could all be taking maple syrup pills to combat a number of health concerns in the (not too distant) future.

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