Maple syrup has received somewhat of a bad reputation for being a sugary (and therefore unhealthy) substitute for more natural sweeteners like honey. As kids, we were always taught never to douse our pancakes in the gooey, sticky goodness. While our parents were right for telling us to not soak our food in it, it turns out that maple syrup – in small amounts, of course – has far more health benefits than you might have thought.

Please note, however, that there is a vast difference between maple syrup and the regular syrup you buy on grocery store shelves (such as Aunt Jemima’s). While the grocery store syrup is filled with high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar that undergoes a lengthy refinement process, maple syrup is derived from maple trees themselves and undergoes very little processing.

Here are some of the various benefits derived from maple syrup:

It Contains Numerous Antioxidants

Unlike other sweeteners such as refined sugar, corn syrup, or even agave nectar, maple syrup is extremely rich with natural antioxidants. According to medical journal “Pharmaceutical Biology” research, pure maple syrup contains up to 24 different antioxidants. Some of these can reduce inflammation and the formation of chronic diseases.

It Scores Low on the Glycemic Index

Refined sugars are commonly metabolized by the liver far quicker than maple syrup, leading to a quick sugar high followed by a sugar crash. Even consuming too much sugar can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin levels, which is what eventually leads to diabetes.

Of all the sugary substances, maple syrup ranks lower on the glycemic index. While anything high in sugar can cause glycemic levels to rise rapidly and should be consumed in small amounts, maple syrup allows you to safely consume a little bit more than the average corn-derived fructose product.

It Combats Inflammatory Diseases  

The plant-based compounds that can be found in maple syrup reduce oxidative stress, the kind of stress which is responsible for weakening our immune system and aging our bodies quicker. Due to these anti-inflammatory properties, it can be considered part of a healthy diet that reduces things like arthritis and heart disease.

May Help Prevent Cancer

Some research has indicated that sugar can contribute to the development of cancer in the body, so while any consumption of sugar in large amounts can increase your risk of developing it, syrup contains no refined sugar or artificial sweeteners which only increases that risk exponentially. Moreover, it can even protect your cells from DNA damage.

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