|Maple syrup production occurs only in the spring – generally lasting from mid-February thru mid-April (although there is currently research being conducted on fall sap harvest and syrup production).|
|Study Finds Maple Syrup Rich in Antioxidants|
|Written by Emma Marvin|
|Thursday, 25 March 2010 08:13|
University of Rhode Island Researcher, Navindra Seeram has identified 20 bioactive phytochemicals in Canadian maple syrup - several of which are known to have anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-diabetic properties.
"We know that plants must have strong anti-oxidant mechanisms because they are in the sun throughout their lives," Seeram said. "We already know that berries, because of their bright colors, are high in anti-oxidants. Now we are looking at maple syrup, which comes from the sap located just inside the bark, which is constantly exposed to the sun."
During his maple syrup research, Seeram and his research team found phenolics, the beneficial class of anti-oxidant compounds also found in berries. "We speculated that the sugar maple is wounded when it is tapped for its sap, and that it secretes phenolics as a defense mechanism." Seeram said the sap probably has low concentrations of these native phenolics. "But when you boil the sap down, there could be higher levels because syrup is a highly concentrated liquid. Plus, the natural plant bioactives could remain intact or undergo process-induced chemical changes during the heating process resulting in further-derived bioactive compounds."
The biomedical scientist said such early research is exciting because many people would not associate such a sugary product with healthy biological properties. "At this point, we are saying, if you choose to put syrup on your pancakes, it may be healthier to use real maple syrup," he said.
Link to American Chemical Society Abstract
Link to a short video about the study.