When it comes to satisfying a sweet tooth, the most over the top thing I’ve probably eaten is when my son and I split and joyfully devoured a pack of eight Amish frosted sticky buns at the Syracuse farmer’s market. While it was a delightful indulgence, it certainly isn’t something I need to do again. Sugar is acid-forming, immune-weakening and in general it’s hard on your bones.
But let’s face it. Every once in a while you crave something sweet — but you don’t want to add to the 140 pounds of refined sweeteners the average American eats every year. There is a better option than refined sugar, sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup and fructose. You just need to go to the bottom of the barrel and discover blackstrap molasses.
Blackstrap molasses is thick dark syrup — full of alkalizing, bone-building trace minerals — left after the third boiling in the sugar refining process. You may be familiar with it as an ingredient in gingerbread cookies, especially if using an older recipe. However, it can be used in other recipes, such as baked beans, as a sweetener in tea, coffee substitutes, or even coffee, and even to create a simple, alkalizing, warm drink that is perfect for winter (see my recipe below.)
One key trace mineral that makes blackstrap molasses such a good alternative is manganese, which plays a special role in bone cartilage and bone collagen formation and is required for bone mineralization. In one study, women with osteoporosis were found to have ¼ the manganese levels of the women who didn’t have osteoporosis. What’s more, you only need two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses to get 18% of the recommended daily value for manganese.
In addition, blackstrap molasses is a good source for other important nutrients. Just two teaspoons provide:
• Copper (14% of the daily value) — aids in the formation of collagen for bone and connective tissue.
• Magnesium (7.3% of the daily value) — required for the absorption and metabolism of calcium, along with many other bone-building activities.
• Calcium (11.7% of the daily value) — helps reduce the risk of low bone density and fracture.
I always encourage women to get their nutrients from whole foods first. But if you have a “repair deficit” health concern like excessive bone loss, I also always strongly recommend you use a top-grade multivitamin-mineral complex with essential fatty acids that will help ensure you have the key nutrients in optimal amounts. This helps prevent bone loss leading to osteoporosis, other degenerative diseases, and accelerated aging. Sweet!
Dr. Brown's Recipe for a Traditional Blackstrap Molasses Hot Beverage
1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 cup hot water
Or some like 1/3 cup of hot water and 2/3 cup hot milk or milk substitute with the molasses.
Source for nutrition information: Whole Foods
You can try Dr. Brown’s comprehensive supplements in her at-home bone health program, developed with Women to Women. Get her exclusive formulations along with her detailed lifestyle and diet guidance, plus telephone support whenever you need it. Learn more about the Personal Program for Better Bones.
We created the Better Bones blog as our forum to express opinions and educate the public about natural means of supporting and improving bone health and overall wellness. As part of this forum, we sometimes discuss medical issues and medications, and their effects on bone health in general. However, we cannot advise readers about specific medical issues in this forum. If you wish to obtain advice from Susan E. Brown, PhD, about your specific bone health and nutritional concerns, please visit our Consultations page. Other specific medical questions should be referred to your healthcare provider.