Blackstrap molasses is the thick, dark syrup produced when the sugar cane plant is processed to make refined sugar.
This type of molasses contains all the vitamins and minerals which were absorbed by the plant from the soil, but which didn’t quite make it into the end product of nutritionally devoid white sugar!
With a robust flavor, and loaded with nutrients, blackstrap molasses boasts a wealth of powerful health benefits. Keep reading to find out the top 10 reasons to invest in a jar of blackstrap molasses – which you can buy from this page on Amazon.
1. A Sweet Source of Nutrition
A one tablespoon (20 g) serving of this dark treacle contains:
- 59 Calories
- 14 g Carbohydrates
- 12 g Sugar
- 1 g Protein
- Iron – 19% DV
- Manganese – 15% DV
- Magnesium – 12% DV
- Calcium – 10% DV
- Potassium – 8% DV
- Vitamin B6 – 7% DV
- Copper – 5%
In addition, it’s free of fat and cholesterol and contains negligible amounts of sodium. Although blackstrap molasses contains a somewhat high level of sugar, its vitamin and mineral profile makes it a better option than processed sugar for those with a sweet tooth.
2. Prevent or Cure Iron-Deficiency Anemia
The most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency (although deficiencies in other nutrients such as B12 can also cause the disorder).
Characterized by fatigue, paleness, cracking at the corners of the mouth, feeling cold, anxiety, hair loss, and dizziness, anemia is caused when the body cannot produce enough healthy red blood cells to successfully transport oxygen around the body.
Because blackstrap molasses is such a fantastic source of iron, many doctors recommend a tablespoon a day stirred into hot water for those with anemia or related disorders. This tonic is often called ‘pregnancy tea’ as it’s so frequently advised for pregnant women, a group at high risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia!
3. Glowing Skin and Glossy Hair
Iron deficiency, or even suboptimal levels of the nutrient, can lead to pale and cracking skin. But it also affects the health of our hair and nails, with a review of 40 years of research finding that iron deficiency has a much closer link to hair loss than we realize.
Blackstrap molasses also contains a high amount of magnesium, another vital mineral which many are deficient in. Magnesium contributes to healthy skin by fighting eczema, acne and wrinkles; and prevents hair loss and nail breakage.
Anecdotally, long-term consumption of blackstrap has been linked to improved hair and skin quality, hair regrowth and even less gray hairs!
4. Beat PMS
Blackstrap molasses has been used for centuries has a home remedy to prevent or ease PMS – a condition that affects up to three out of every four women.
Drinking a healing tea of molasses mixed with warm water can offset some of the symptoms experienced, which include breast tenderness, bloating, water retention, acne, depression and irritability.
The rich iron content of the tonic can replace some of the iron levels naturally lost through menstruation, while its calcium content may have an even greater effect.
Several studies have suggested that PMS patients tend to have an altered calcium balance and many have linked adequate intakes of calcium with reduced PMS symptoms.
Additionally, some minerals in the molasses, like magnesium and manganese, help prevent menstrual cramping.
5. Gentle Laxative
Blackstrap molasses can gently relieve constipation due to its high nutrient content.
In particular, magnesium treats this common condition by relaxing the muscles and drawing water into the stool, making it easier to pass. Magnesium citrate is often recommended by doctors to relieve constipation but, in many cases, the magnesium present in blackstrap molasses can do the trick.
Take one to two tablespoons daily in warm water to get your digestive system moving again.
6. Strong Bones
With more than 10 million Americans suffering from osteoporosis, it’s more important than ever that we look after our bone health.
For strong bones, magnesium and calcium (along with Vitamin D) are the most important nutrients you can get. As blackstrap molasses is a great calcium source, it can be consumed regularly for strong and healthy bones. It’s also high in magnesium which plays an important role in bone health by facilitating the absorption and metabolism of calcium.
Discover the other natural ways to build and maintain strong bones.
7. Less Stress
Combat stress and anxiety by kicking off your day with some blackstrap molasses tea.
The Vitamin B6 will raise serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that influences the brain cells related to mood, sexual desire, appetite, sleep, memory and learning. Conversely, a lack of serotonin is linked with depression, compulsive behavior, anxiety, panic, and anger problems! Research has even connected low levels of vitamin B6 and depression.
Magnesium is also an old remedy for anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, irritability, restlessness and stress. What’s more, feeling stressed out actually depletes already low magnesium levels further, making it even more important to supplement with blackstrap molasses in tonics and foods when overwhelmed and under pressure.
8. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
In tests comparing the antioxidant content of several sweeteners including refined sugar, corn syrup, agave nectar, raw cane sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar, honey and molasses, it was found that dark and blackstrap molasses had the highest markers for antioxidant activity.
Antioxidants are vital to health as they fight against oxidative damage – something that is known to contribute to cognitive impairment, cancer, liver damage, high cholesterol, premature aging and just about every other negative effect you can think of!
Anything that fights oxidative damage can be considered anti-inflammatory, which is why many sufferers of the inflammatory condition Rheumatoid Arthritis swear by blackstrap molasses…although theoretically it can be used to lessen the symptoms of many inflammatory conditions.
9. Lower Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association say that a diet that includes natural sources of potassium is important for those with high blood pressure as potassium lessens the effects of sodium – a huge contributor to hypertension.
With two tablespoons containing 16% of the recommended intake of potassium, blackstrap molasses can be a pretty useful tonic to take daily.
What’s more, both magnesium and calcium lower hypertension according to research, with a 2009 study showing that people supplementing with magnesium experienced a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
You could also try adding some of these 21 blood pressure lowering foods and drinks to your diet.
10. Maintain Blood Sugar Balance
Due to its high level of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, blackstrap molasses is a better alternative to refined sugar. It also has a lower Glycemic Index – of just 55 – with the American Diabetes Association classing Low GI foods as those ranking 55 or less!
This means the syrup is ideal for those who want a little added sweetness, without experiencing the blood sugar peaks and dips often associated with refined sugar.
Bear in mind that, as a trade-off for its nutritional and glycemic profile, blackstrap molasses isn’t nearly as sweet as many other sugar alternatives! However, as you begin to cut out sugar from your diet, your palate will become more discerning and will appreciate the subtle sweetness in natural products.
How to Enjoy Blackstrap Molasses:
Blackstrap molasses (which you can buy from here) can be enjoyed at any time, and works well in a variety of sweet or savory dishes.
To make a simple nourishing tonic, just dissolve one to two tablespoons of the syrup in a mug of warm water and drink. (Note: some people cannot tolerate it on an empty stomach so see what works for you.)
If you wish to incorporate blackstrap molasses into your meals and snacks instead, use these delicious recipes as inspiration:
Homemade BBQ Sauce – this easy to prepare barbecue sauce is made without the high-fructose corn syrup you’ll often find in store bought varieties. It’s also free from gluten, soy, nuts, corn and is vegan friendly to boot! For an extra healthy version, omit or substitute the two spoons of sugar called for in the recipe.
Oatmeal with Banana and Blackstrap – for a super healthy and satiating start to the day, whip up this 10-minute breakfast. Bananas and molasses add natural sweetness while the pecans bring some crunch!
Ginger Molasses Cookies – with molasses and coconut sugar, these delicious cookies have a deep, caramelized flavor. They’re also packed with wholesome ingredients like flaxseed, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and coconut oil.
Iron Woman Gingerbread Smoothie – this meal in a glass is sure to become a Fall favorite! Containing almond milk, blackstrap molasses, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, banana and chia seeds, it provides an explosion of both nutrients and flavors.
Baked Beans – canned beans have nothing on this tasty homemade version. Incredibly simple to make, you just need to throw all the ingredients (which include apple cider vinegar, garlic, molasses and spices) into a crockpot! While you have your crockpot out, why not check out these other healthy crockpot recipes too?