Maple Syrup as a Source of Antioxidants

    MONTREAL, March 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Certain foods contain substances with
powerful cancer-fighting properties. When eaten regularly, these "functional
foods" can help protect us from cancer, but with no side-effects other than
making our taste buds happy! After berries, soy, green tea, spices and even
chocolate, now maple syrup is showing its colours: recent scientific studies
have confirmed the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory qualities of maple syrup,
indicating a possible anti-cancer potential.
    Most plants, including many fruits and vegetables, produce an arsenal of
molecules that help them defend themselves against infection and the damage
caused by micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses etc.), as well as insects
and other predators in their environment. Some of these protective substances
play a leading role in our own systems of anti-cancer defence. They fight
tumours at the source, before they can reach maturity and become a threat to
health. Among such substances are phenolic compounds.
    Maple syrup is a significant source of phenol compounds, which are
naturally present in the sap. It also has contains other substances (sugars,
amino acids, organic acids and so on) with a potential to benefit health,
including reducing the risk of developing cancer. Over the last year, two
studies focusing on water and Québec maple syrup have shown that phenolic
compounds interfere with three important phenomena involved in the development
of tumours: oxidation, inflammation and angiogenesis (the formation of new
blood vessels to nourish cancer cells).
    "A 60 ml serving (1/4 cup) of maple syrup has moderate antioxidant
capacity, comparable to that of a serving of broccoli or a banana, explains
dietician Marie Breton. This benefit, combined with the fact that the same
quantity also provides significant amounts of manganese, riboflavin, zinc,
magnesium, calcium and potassium, puts maple syrup head and shoulders above
other common sweeteners like white sugar, brown sugar, honey and corn syrup."
    According to the studies, maple syrup's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
activity is due to its high content in phenols and certain other substances.
It's worth nothing that neither the region nor the part of the season in which
the sap is harvested, nor its long-term storage (6 months) or thermal
reconditioning, have any unfavourable effects on its antioxidant,
anti-inflammatory activity.
    Already, new studies are under way to show whether or not the various
antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds present in maple syrup have
cancer-fighting potential as suggested in the literature. Results are expected
within the next 12 to 24 months.

    Who said what tastes good can't be good for us too?

     Antioxidant Capacity of Maple Syrup(1) and Fruits and Vegetables(2)

                                 (in (micro)mol Trolox eq. per serving)
    Cranberries (125 ml)          7092
    Wild blueberries (125 ml)     4848
    Gala apple (1)                4553
    Maple syrup (60 ml)           1131
    Banana (1)                    1037
    Raw broccoli (125 ml)          613
    Raw tomato (1)                 415

                                 (in (micro)mol Trolox eq. per 100 g)
    Cranberries                   9584
    Blueberries                   6552
    Gala apple                    2828
    Maple syrup                   1414
    Raw broccoli                  1362
    Banana                        879
    Raw tomato                    337


    (1) Béliveau R. et al. Potentiel nutrathérapeutique de l'eau et du sirop
        d'érable: saison 2007. Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal,
        Québec (2007).
    (2) USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of
        Selected Foods- 2007.


    Thériault M. et al. Antioxidant, antiradical and antimutagenic activities
    of phenolic compounds present in maple products. Food Chemistry 98 (2006)
    Béliveau R. et al. Potentiel nutrathérapeutique de l'eau et du sirop
    d'érable: saison 2007. Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec
    Legault J. et al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of ethyl
    acetate extracts from maple sap and syrup. Université du Québec à
    Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, Québec (2007).

For further information:

For further information: Johannie Coiteux, Federation of Quebec Maple
Syrup Producers, (450) 679-0540, ext. 8609,

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