The sweetening agent in sugar cane and beet, black strap molasses, are grown widely in India, Thailand and Brazil, among other countries. Today, it’s seen more than a sweetener, in fact it’s a health product for its myriad curative properties for children’s problems, such as menstrual pain relief, cancer, stress, acne, diabetes, anemia, skin problems, headaches, anemia and constipation. A regular inclusion of black strap molasses in children’s diet gives good bones, better hair quality, better electrolyte balance and quick healing of wounds.
Children can benefit from including black strap molasses in their diet in myriad ways, such as pain relief from menstruation-related problems, diabetes, cancer, obesity, stress, acne and skin-related problems, anemia, constipation and headaches. Children also have strong bones, improved electrolyte balance and healing of wounds, better hair quality and a well-oiled nervous system.
All these benefits come to them from including black strap molasses in their daily diet. They are dense and viscous in nature and a byproduct of sugarcane and sugar beet processed to form crystallized table sugar. In Latin, molasses are better known as mel.
Black Strap Molasses
Molasses were first grown in the Caribbean, a region where growing sugarcane and sugar beet was the highest worldwide. From there, it made its way into the United States as far back as the early part of the 20th century. Today, apart from the Caribbean, black strap molasses are grown in India, Thailand, Brazil, US and the Philippines. We may know it as a sweetener for certain foods, but black strap molasses also provide several health benefits to adults and children.
Types of Molasses
- Unsulphured molasses: This is the best quality of molasses because here only a small amount of sugar has been extracted. It is also called light molasses as it is light in color and can either be sulphured or unsulphured. It is made from the juice of sun-grown cane which is concentrated and clarified. Sulphured molasses when treated with sulphur dioxide takes the role of a preservative. However, since some people are allergic to sulphur, this is not the best form of molasses for everyone.
- Sulphured molasses: Also known as dark molasses, it is made from green sugar cane that has not ripened for its full growth term. It is treated with sulfur fumes during the process of sugar extraction. At the end of the second boil, molasses turn darker in color and has a distinct flavor. It finds applications in cooking and baking, particularly gingerbread cookies.
- Black strap molasses: Molasses are boiled for the third time at this stage. This is the healthiest form of molasses as it contains the maximum number of nutrients including vitamins. These molasses aren’t as sweet as their sulphured and unsulphured counterparts, so aren’t used in cooking. However, they have the highest content of iron, copper, calcium, manganese and magnesium, apart from a whole host of nutrients. They are also used as animal feed and in several types of industrial applications.
- Fancy molasses: This type of molasses is very sweet to taste, so it is used as a topping for biscuits or pancakes. Fancy molasses is the condensed form of pure sugarcane juice, which makes it the lightest and sweetest of all the kinds of molasses.
Health Benefits of Black Strap Molasses
Black strap molasses is a nourishing food sweetener that comes loaded with essential nutrients that are very healthy for the body, particularly for growing children. This food helps children in several ways, such as:
Protects the body from oxidative damage: According to research, blackstrap molasses contains the highest number of antioxidants when compared to raw cane sugar, corn syrup, refined sugar, etc. The antioxidants contained in black strap molasses guard the body from oxidative damage linked with heart disease, cancer and degenerative diseases.
Gives diabetics enough sweet taste: They have a moderate glycemic load of just 55, making it a valuable sugar alternative for diabetics and those wanting to stabilize their sugar levels.
Improves vision and mental sharpness in children: Being rich in iron, black strap molasses keep children’s vision and brain sharp. This makes it easy for children’s growing systems to carry oxygen to the blood cells and prevent anemia from developing.
Builds strong bones: In children’s growing years, it’s important that they eat all kinds of foods rich in calcium and magnesium that will give them strong bones and a high level of energy. Both calcium and magnesium spur the growth of bones and protect the body from all kinds of bone disease. Magnesium can help children build immunity towards common ailments, and to muscle spasms, twitches in the eyelids and menstrual cramps. It also reduces the severity of side-effects of diabetes and asthma.
Provides energy and helps with brain development: Black strap molasses also contains other minerals that help with children’s internal growth. These comprise manganese that builds energy from proteins and carbs; potassium that facilitates smooth muscle contraction and nerve transmission; Vitamin B6 that aids skin and brain development; and selenium that works like an antioxidant.
How to Take Black Strap Molasses
To incorporate blackstrap molasses into children’s diet, it would be safe to give them half the dosage of adults. Adults can take a tablespoon of unsulphured blackstrap molasses diluted in a glass of water every morning. However, eating the molasses raw will help better absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream.