Maple Syrup: Besides adding flavor to ice creams, pancakes, cookies and toast, it also carries a gamut of healthy rewards such as promoting heart health, boosting immunity and lowering the risk of prostate cancer. Add it to: Baked foods, pancakes, waffles or ice cream.

This year’s Oscar Swag Bag included many interesting gifts for the losing nominees, one of them was maple syrup worth $280! The health benefits of maple syrup have long been known. Being 100 percent natural, it is widely used as an alternative sweetener to sugar. Here are some fun facts about maple syrup:

  • It’s rich in essential minerals like iron, zinc, potassium and calcium, and has ample amounts of antioxidants.
  • The sap of this syrup is naturally sweet, and is the only ingredient involved in its manufacturing process.
  • In the United States, any product sold under the name “maple syrup” contains nothing but concentrated maple tree sap, with a few minor exceptions of approved additives like salt.
  • To make this product, one to three holes are drilled into the trunk of a maple tree during early spring, a time when the sap begins to rise. Then, a metal or plastic spout is inserted into each of the holes for the sap to flow out into a plastic tub placed under it.
  • This sap is only two percent sucrose by weight; it is then evaporated to increase the concentration of the sugar to 66.9 percent.  Mineral solids are then filtered out of the syrup but the natural mineral enzymes are left in to give maple syrup its lip-smacking flavor.

You can then use this sweetener to naturally sweeten your smoothies and muffins or even make salad dressing.

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