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Complementary Health: Molasses

by Julia Briscoe

I work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, specialising in Complementary Therapies, my core therapy being homeopathy.  I also run a couple of support groups for people with cancer or end of life needs, one of which focuses on self-help techniques and relaxation / meditation.  Self help, in my opinion, is something that should be easy, low cost and sustainable in terms of inclusion into a lifestyle.  It should also be suitable for all, not just my cancer and end of life care patients so it’s lovely to have been asked to share a few of the suggestions I make for my patients.

Obviously many of my patients are extremely unwell but none the less, one of the first things I assess when I treat someone for the first time is their nutritional status.  Most people, especially around the winter months find it difficult to maintain adequate nutrition for many reasons including Christmas, colds and influenzas and the cold weather makes many of us lean towards more stodgy, comfort foods.

There are a couple of simple ways to ensure that your vitamin and mineral intake is adequate without having to spend a fortune on supplements and one of the main suggestions I have for people is to use Black Treacle / Blackstrap Molasses.

 

Molasses is a by product of sugar production and is therefore in essence, pure plant extract.  The following data gives you an idea of the nutritional content of 2 teaspoons of molasses:

  • There are 32 calories in 2 teaspoons of molasses
  • Provides you with quickly assimilated carbohydrates
  • Provides you with 13.3% of your daily recommended iron
  • Provides you with 11.8% of your daily recommended calcium
  • Provides you with 14% of your daily copper requirements (helpful in utilising iron, eliminating free radicals and the production of skin pigment amongst other things)
  • Provides you with 18% of your daily manganese requirements (a trace mineral which helps turn protein and carbohydrate into energy)
  • Provides you with 9.6% of your potassium needs (needed to help with muscle contraction and nerve transmission)
  • Provides you with an excellent source for B vitamins and selenium – excellent mood lifters!

There are a number of simple ways in which to take molasses.  Some people simply eat it off the spoon but if the flavour is too intense for this, it can be used in baking or stirred into porridge in the morning. For some of my patients with reduced appetites I often recommend stirring a teaspoon of treacle in boiling water and adding a dash of milk to taste.  This makes a delicious hot drink that looks like coffee.

For more information about Blackstrap Molasses, try these links:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=118#safetyissues

or

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molasses

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