Molasses is an end product in the sugar industry. When sugarcane and sugar beets go through the refining process and no additional sugar can be crystallized from the crop, the residual substance is molasses. Unlike refined sugars, however, this viscous, residual syrup contains substances, such as trace amounts of vitamins and several important minerals, that provide your body with vital health benefits. It's important to note that a 3.5-ounce serving of molasses also contains 290 calories, 74.7 grams of carbohydrate, 0.1 grams of fat and no protein or fiber.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in your body. It's crucial in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth and plays an important role in proper muscle contractions and relaxation. It also contributes to the healthy functioning of your heart, nerves and other body systems. In addition, calcium is linked to osteoporosis prevention. Molasses is rich in calcium. Each 3.5-ounce serving contains 205 milligrams, which is 21 percent of the daily values set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Magnesium plays an important role in the activation of more than 300 enzymes in your body that regulate body functions. It works together with calcium in maintaining proper muscle contraction, regulating blood pressure and building bones and teeth. Molasses is loaded with the mineral magnesium. Consuming 3.5 ounces of molasses provides you with 242 milligrams of magnesium, which is 61 percent of the DV set by the FDA.
Including molasses in your diet provides your body with a powerful potassium boost. Potassium plays an important role in the activation of enzymes used in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It works with calcium and magnesium to support the proper functioning of muscle contraction. Potassium also helps maintain a steady heartbeat and helps balance body fluids. A 3.5-ounce serving of molasses contains 1,464 milligrams of potassium, which is 42 percent of the DV set by the FDA.
Rich in Antioxidants
Molasses, especially the dark and blackstrap varieties, is rich in antioxidants. A study published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" in December 2012 on the potential health effects of molasses found that molasses is a good source of antioxidants. In fact, another study published in the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association" in January 2009 concluded that, based on an average intake of 130 grams per day of refined sugars and the antioxidant activity measured in typical American diets, substituting alternative sweeteners like blackstrap molasses could increase antioxidant intake to a level similar to that found in a serving of berries or nuts.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Molasses
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Sugar Cane and Sugar Beet Molasses, Antioxidant-Rich Alternative to Refined Sugar
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Total Antioxidant Content of Alternatives to Refined Sugar
- Hansa Melasse: The Origins of Molasses
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Calcium
- Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publications: Listing of Vitamins
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Magnesium
- Frostburg State University: Inorganic Chemistry: Why Is Potassium Necessary in the Diet?