But now something rather sweeter can be added to the list of healthy foods containing high levels of antioxidants that boost the immune system.
Maple syrup is even being described by scientists in America as a ‘one-stop shop’ for beneficial compounds.
Tests on the syrup, which is made by boiling sap from the maple tree, found that it contains compounds which could help manage Type 2 diabetes, as well as acting as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agents.
'Superfood': Maple syrup is packed with compounds that could help fight Type 2 diabetes
Several of the syrup’s polyphenol, or water-soluble, compounds inhibited the enzymes that convert carbohydrates to sugars, raising the prospect of a new way of managing Type 2 Diabetes.
They also found that many of the antioxidant compounds, which prevent the oxidation and ageing of the body’s cells, aren’t found in other natural sweeteners.
‘But we do know that the sheer quantity and variety of identified compounds with documented health benefits qualifies maple syrup as a champion food.
‘It is a one-stop shop for these beneficial compounds, several of which are also found in berries, tea, red wine and flaxseed, just to name a few.’
‘In fact, in preliminary studies, maple syrup had a greater enzyme-inhibiting effect compared to several other healthy plant foods such as berries.’
‘By 2050, one in three people will be afflicted with Type 2 diabetes, so finding a potential anti-diabetic compound in maple syrup is interesting for the scientific community and the consumer.’
The findings of Dr Seeram’s team were presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in California.
Genevihve Biland, marketing director for the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, one of the sponsors of the research, said: ‘Given its amazing potential for human health and great nutritional value, maple syrup is a natural choice for a healthy lifestyle.’
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