Maple syrup: juice and health

Maple syrup: juice and health

Maple syrup: juice and health
Maple syrup: juice and health

In this article we look at maple syrup. Today's society commercially exploits all the opportunities it finds, offering products with positive properties or not, selling with a real or mythologized approach.

As for  food  , where the majority of the population continues to associate sugar and fat (rather than quantity, quality, nature and type) as negative, the sweetener boom has opened a new gap.

If we only had white sugar, now the purchase of brown sugar panel, honey, stevia,  syrup,  agave or  maple syrup  is advertised as "healthy" alternatives. This job will handle the latter.

What is maple syrup?

Syrups or syrups are juices that are extracted from various plants, which are later treated to remove some of the water and concentrate their sugars. Syrups are aqueous solutions with a sugar content which varies between 70 and 90%  1  .

After Yamamoto et al  2  ,  maple syrup  (in English  maple syrup  ) is a natural sweetener that is among the most commonly consumed worldwide.  

In addition to containing mainly sucrose, it also has phytochemicals that exhibit various biological effects.

The  maple syrup  is made by boiling to reduce the collected juice of sugar maple (  Acer Saccharum  ). Sugar maple is distributed in northeastern North America, and  maple syrup  is produced mainly in this region.

The North American maple has played an important role in traditional Indian medicine. Its color, composition, aroma and taste vary depending on the season of juice collection.

The passage of the seasons is usually associated with a darker syrup and the antioxidant activity is proportional to the increase in this shade.

How is maple syrup made?

 The details of the production  of maple syrup  3  will be explained in more detail below.

Why do you get this name?

The  maple syrup  is named after the trees that emit the sap used to make it.

Two trees are mainly used for this purpose, the sugar maple and the black maple, both present in Canadian forests (this syrup is also made in some parts of the United States).

How is maple syrup made?

To be extracted the sap from the trees, the trunk is partially perforated with tubes through which the sap drips into a bucket. Harvest time is between February and March, but will vary to a greater or lesser extent depending on the weather.

 

40 liters of sap is the amount needed to make just one liter of syrup, which together with the necessary maturity of the trees to be able to use (over 40 years old), allows us to understand the final price of a product of market.

One liter of wood is the amount of juice that approximately one tree generates during the extraction season.

As mentioned earlier, syrups differ in class, A, B, C and this classification is directly related to their color, with A being those that are lighter, characterized by their greater sweetness (more high glucose and less minerals).


Figure 4. Classification of maple syrup by color. Source: Minue (2013) 3

Usually the lighter ones correspond to the beginning of the season, while the late juice gives a darker syrup.

Properties of maple syrup

Yamamoto, T. et al. (2017)  2  reported that  maple syrup  demonstrated inhibitory effects on the growth and invasion of colorectal cancer cells, especially those of darker color.

In their study, they studied the effects of two different classes of maple syrup on the spread of gastrointestinal cancer cells.

The results showed that dark-colored maple syrup significantly inhibited the growth of gastrointestinal cancer cells compared to cancer cells without this treatment.

In addition, the application of dark maple syrup clearly inhibits the phosphorylation of protein kinase B.

Maple syrup and the flag of Canada

The current Canadian flag was first hoisted in 1965. Its author is Dr. George Stanley, who seeks to capture several important elements of Canadian history.

The central theme of the flag is the maple leaf, representing the local population, which has been using maple juice for centuries and which remains a traditional Canadian product.

The maple leaf became a symbol for Canadian athletes in the 20th century, as well as for Canadian soldiers in the two world wars  4  .

The meaning of the colors is as follows  5  : the Canadian flag is composed of two colors: white and red, which are the colors that King George V declared official in the country in 1921.

Both colors have historical significance. White refers to the French royal emblem used in the reign of Carlos VII; and the red color of the flag refers to the cross of St. George, which is the emblem of the first flag waved in Canada.

Conclusions

  • Maple syrup  is a food with a use and tradition dating back to the locals.
  • It showed positive effects to be taken into account in the field of health.
  • The production of the syrup requires a long time (mature trees) and a certain processing process.
  • Classes of maple syrup vary depending on seasonal factors.
  • The maple is an emblem of culture and national identity.