Dating back to the earliest American colonies, blackstrap molasses was brought into the United States from the sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean.
Since it was less expensive than sugar, it was the most used sweetener of its time.
Molasses is the byproduct or “waste” from processing sugar cane into unhealthful table sugar. Refined table sugar creates blood sugar and insulin instability while providing no nutrients. It actually robs nutrients, especially minerals, out of the body if consumed enough.
Once sugar canes are harvested and machines are used to press the juice out of the cane. The sugar cane roots go very deeply into the soil, commonly 15 feet down and ranging from 6.5 to 19 feet – deep enough to bypass nutrient depleted topsoil that have become the norm and take in more nutrients. That juice is boiled then put through centrifugal machinery to extract the sugar crystals from the liquid. There are three grades of molasses: sulphured, unsulphured, and blackstrap.
Sulphur is used to process unripe green sugar cane. This chemical sulphur is not so good for most human consumption. Sun ripened sugar cane is processed without using sulphur. So unsulphered molasses is a better choice. The third boiling necessary to extract table sugar from sugar cane or beet sugar produces a thick dark substance known as blackstrap molasses, which is the most nutrient dense of all.
Whereas the toxic and unhealthy refined sugar is destined for our supermarket shelves, the highly nutritious molasses – which contains all the minerals and nutrients absorbed by the plant – is more likely to be sold as livestock feed instead.
Fortunately, the nutritional value of molasses is becoming better-known, and various grades of molasses are now being sold to us as baking ingredients, sugar substitutes and mineral supplements. This is especially true of blackstrap molasses, the highest and most nutritious grade of molasses. (Make sure you buy organic and unsulphured.)
Two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses also contains 18 percent of our RDI of manganese (which helps produce energy from proteins and carbohydrates), 9.7 percent of our RDI of potassium (which plays an important role in nerve transmission and muscle contraction), 5 percent of our RDI of vitamin B6 (which aids brain and skin development) and 3.4 percent of our RDI of selenium, an important antioxidant.
Good for hair – One serving (two tablespoons) of blackstrap contains approximately 14 percent of our RDI of copper, an important trace mineral whose peptides help rebuild the skin structure that supports healthy hair. Consequently, long-term consumption of blackstrap has been linked to improved hair quality, hair regrowth in men and even a restoration of your hair’s original color! Click here for more information about blackstrap’s hair benefits.
Good for bones – High in calcium and magnesium – Like all whole foods, blackstrap molasses contains a mineral profile that has been optimized by nature for superior absorption. For example, two tablespoons of blackstrap contains 11.7 percent of our RDI of calcium and 7.3 percent of our RDI of magnesium. This calcium-magnesium ratio is ideal, since our bodies need large quantities of magnesium to help absorb similarly large quantities of calcium. Both of these minerals aid the growth and development of bones, making blackstrap a good safeguard against osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
Laxative qualities – Blackstrap is a natural stool softener that can improve the regularity and quality of your bowel movements.
Rich in iron – Two tablespoons of blackstrap contain 13.2 percent of our RDI of iron, which our bodies need to carry oxygen to our blood cells. People who are anemic (including pregnant women) will greatly benefit from consuming 1-2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses per day.
Safe sweetener for diabetics – Unlike refined sugar, blackstrap molasses has a moderate glycemic load of 55. This makes it a good sugar substitute for diabetics and individuals who are seeking to avoid blood sugar spikes. Moreover, one serving of blackstrap contains no fat and only 32 calories, making it suitable for a weight loss diet.
HOW TO ENJOY
The best way to take blackstrap as a supplement is to mix between 1-2 tablespoons of it in a cup of boiling water and then drink it once the water has cooled. Some people prefer drinking the mixture through a straw. This should be done daily, ideally first thing in the morning when you need the energy most.
It can also be added to shakes, smoothies and is widely used in baking and cooking.
You should purchase blackstrap that is organic and unsulfured.
Two reputable brands of molasses that sell natural, unsulphured blackstrap are Grandma’s Molasses and Brer Rabbit Molasses, though other good brands can be found in health food stores.