The last time I had blood work done, my ferritin levels (iron stores) were 2. According to my doc, that was the lowest level she’d seen among her patients (normal is 30-300). She instructed me to start taking iron supplements right away. Unfortunately, iron supplements are constipating and I already have severe, chronic constipation. Enter blackstrap molasses.
Blackstrap molasses is essentially what’s leftover after cane sugar has been processed into table sugar. It’s thick and syrupy and full of the good nutrients that are removed to make the granulated white stuff. Here’s why I love it…
It’s a non-constipating source of iron.
As I mentioned, iron supplements can be constipating and constipation can further slow gastric emptying. Iron is necessary, however, for a bunch of very important processes within the body. That includes transporting oxygen from the lungs to all other cells, as well as regulating energy and metabolism. Menstruating women are more at risk of iron deficiency and the typical gastroparesis-friendly diet is quite low in iron.
It’s high in magnesium.
As my clients can attest, I’m a big fan of magnesium. It’s so underrated as a nutrient! It’s essential for nerve and muscle health, as well as over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Unfortunately many of us are magnesium deficient and the typical GP-friendly diet doesn’t help. Supplements can be tough on the GI tract and are often poorly absorbed in the body (only 4% of the mangesium in most magnesium oxide supplements is absorbed).
It’s got a bunch of other vitamins and minerals in it.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common among GPers due to the (sometimes overly) limited diet. As I mentioned above, vitamin and mineral supplements don’t always settle well for those of with digestive issues, and they aren’t as well absorbed as the nutrients that come from food. Blackstrap molasses is high in copper (helps to eliminate free radicals), manganese (important for proper function of the nervous system), calcium (necessary for proper contraction of all muscles, as well as conduction of nerve impulses to the brain), potassium (also necessary for muscle contraction and nerve transmission), and vitamin B6 (helps regulate blood sugar; important for nerve and brain health). Since molasses is a real food not a manufactured supplement, these nutrients are easily absorbed.
Pretty impressive, right? And while blackstrap molasses is a sweetener, it’s low-glycemic, which means it doesn’t spike blood sugar the way that table sugar or high fructose corn syrup does. Be sure to get unsulphered blackstrap molasses, as this is a purer product without any processing chemicals. I try to buy organic, as well.
So what do you do with it? If you’re me, you just stir a tablespoon in a mug of hot water and drink it once a day. You can also add it to plain yogurt or hot cereal, or use it to make muffins, pancakes or gingersnaps. Keep in mind that the flavor is quite strong and may take some getting used to. I didn’t like it at first, but now I don’t mind it. Especially given the extra energy and other health benefits!