Because refined sugar is bad for the health, many alternative sweeteners exist. One of them is grape molasses, a dark and sweet syrup out of the grape must.
It can be bought at the supermarket or made from scratch at home. Grape molasses benefits come aplenty, too, because it is so much better for the health than refined sugar.
Preventing and even reversing anemia is one of the benefits of including grape molasses in the diet. It may strengthen the bones and teeth, reduce joint pain, and deal with constipation, too. Grape molasses may also help improve PMS, lift the mood and protect the skin.
Many foods and drinks are not the same without sugar.
It is a good thing that refined sugar is not the only sweetener on the face of the planet, which means that you can please your taste buds without damaging your health.
But First: What is Grape Molasses?
Grape molasses is an ancient food and home remedy for various health and beauty-issues, too.
Before refined sugar came into being, it was already being used in the Middle East and Mediterranean countries. Grape molasses is referred to as “petimezi” in Greece. It is called “pekmez” in Turkey.
Just like what the name says, grape molasses is made from grape must. Grape must is crushed grape juice. In the traditional manner, grapes turned into the sweet and sticky syrup are harvested in the fall.
It’s for this reason why it is very popular in winter, although it is a well-loved sweetener all year round.
You can get your hands on a jar of grape molasses at most supermarkets.
However, you can also make it in the kitchen with your own two hands. Later, you will come across a simple recipe for making grape juice — so don’t stop reading now.
What’s so nice about grape molasses is that you can use it where refined sugar can be used.
However, most of the time, it is served in the morning for breakfast mixed with tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds and staple in Mediterranean cuisine.
The mixture can then be slathered on pancakes, oatmeal and yogurt.
Nine Benefits of Grape Molasses
A teaspoon of refined sugar has 20 calories. On the other hand, a teaspoon of grape molasses has 19 calories.
Despite being just one calorie less than refined sugar, grape molasses is still preferred by many health- and beauty- conscious people.
It’s because the presence of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals makes up for it. And this brings us to the crux of this article: the many grape molasses benefits.
Without further ado, here are some of the most amazing perks that grape molasses can bring:
Stronger bones and teeth
One of the many minerals in grape molasses is calcium.
It’s no secret that calcium is an important role player in keeping the bones strong. In other words, this healthier alternative to refined sugar can help prevent osteoporosis.
According to health experts, osteoporosis is common in older women. As a matter of fact, in the US, about one in four women 65 years old and above has osteoporosis.
However, young women can get osteoporosis, too. The problem with osteoporosis is that it can make the bones thin and brittle, thus making anyone who has it at high risk of fractures.
Besides adding calcium-rich grape molasses to the diet, there are other ways to lower your risk of osteoporosis.
They are eating foods rich in vitamin D (it helps the body absorb calcium), exercising on most days of the week, and quitting smoking.
Regulated bowel movements
Do you move your bowels three times or fewer in a week or have stools that are difficult to pass?
Then you may have constipation, and it is a must to deal with it before more problems strike.
Being constipated all the time is bad because of serious complications such as:
- Fecal impaction
- Anal fissure
- Rectal prolapse
There are over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives that can help deal with constipation. However, you should avoid relying on them all the time.
That’s because they are habit-forming, which means that they can make it harder for you to move your bowels drug-free. The good news is that there are many all-natural laxatives out there.
Grape molasses is one example of a 100% natural laxative. Other examples are prunes and papaya. Drinking plenty of water, eating fiber-rich foods and leading an active lifestyle can help, too.
Lowered blood pressure
It is normal to have an increased blood pressure reading from time to time. The numbers may be higher than usual if you are stressed, tired or anxious.
However, it is another story if your blood pressure reading is always higher than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
Potassium is present in grape molasses. This mineral helps lower the blood pressure in two ways:
- Potassium flushes excess sodium out of the body.
- Potassium encourages the walls of the blood vessels to relax.
Besides grape molasses, there are other food sources of potassium. Some of them are bananas, oranges, spinach and broccoli.
To keep your blood pressure within the normal range, lose excess pounds, have a well-balanced diet, get your regular dose of exercise, drink alcohol in moderation, stay away from smoking, and keep stress to a minimum.
Just a word of caution
Grape molasses has almost the same amount of calories per serving. A diet high in calories may cause too much weight gain and increased blood sugar levels.
Both of them can pave the way for high blood pressure and heart disease. This is why grape molasses should be added to your diet in moderation only.
Reduced risk of iron-deficiency anemia
Even before refined sugar was invented, grape molasses was already being used not only as a sweetener but also as a home remedy for anemia, in particular iron-deficiency anemia.
Iron-deficiency anemia is a blood disorder in which there are not enough red blood cells (RBCs) around. It is due to a lack of iron from the diet.
Iron is a major role player in t RBC production. RBCs are blood components tasked with carrying oxygen molecules from the lungs to the different cells in the body.
Women having their menstrual period and who are pregnant are at higher risk of iron-deficiency anemia.
Because grape molasses is rich in iron, it doesn’t come as a shock why it is being used since it first came into being for the prevention and even reversal of iron-deficiency anemia.
Decreased anxiety and depression
Are you feeling anxious or depressed all the time?
Give grape molasses a try.
Besides making all sorts of tasty treats and beverages better, it can also improve the mood. That’s because grape molasses is an excellent source of magnesium.
Mental health experts say that magnesium is good for the mind in two ways:
- It helps calm the nervous system. It also helps loosen muscle tension resulting from stress and anxiety, thereby helping to deal with joint pain and headaches.
- It helps increase serotonin in the brain. A happy hormone, serotonin helps stabilize the mood by increasing one’s feelings of happiness and well-being.
By the way, magnesium in grape molasses may also help to get rid of insomnia.
If you feel anxious or depressed, it is a must to get a good night’s sleep.
Otherwise, your negative emotions may become aggravated. The problem with anxiety and depression is that it can cause insomnia, thus creating a vicious circle.
If your anxiety or depression is already keeping you from having a normal and productive life, get in touch with a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or therapist, right away.
Lowered PMS and menopause symptoms
Earlier, it was mentioned that women are at higher risk of osteoporosis and iron-deficiency anemia, both of which can be prevented with grape molasses.
Well, here’s one more reason why grape molasses is great for women: it can help deal with the nasty symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause.
Grape molasses can help reduce the unfavorable physical symptoms of PMS, such as cramps and headaches, because of its magnesium content. It can help relieve the psychological symptoms of PMS, like mood swings, too.
Many PMS symptoms are also experienced by menopausal women, which is why magnesium-rich grape molasses can be so beneficial for them as well.
Grape juice also contains lots of antioxidants. Hormonal imbalance due to menopause can cause oxidative stress within the body, and antioxidants can help keep it to a minimum.
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Decreased joint inflammation
Antioxidants in grape molasses are very good at combating inflammation. If you are suffering from arthritis, it is a great idea to have a jar of grape molasses in the pantry or refrigerator.
When it comes to managing the symptoms of arthritis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the choice of doctors and most patients.
It’s because they are very good at reducing inflammation and pain due to arthritis. Alas, NSAIDs tend to cause terrible side effects. They range from bleeding stomach ulcers to liver damage.
This is why keeping one’s intake of NSAIDs to a minimum is recommended. Exploring other options is suggested, too, such as something as simple as adding antioxidant-rich grape molasses to the diet.
Reduced risk of cancer
Antioxidants in grape molasses come in all shapes and sizes. However, there is one that tends to make a lot of heads turn toward its direction. And it’s none other than resveratrol.
What’s so amazing about resveratrol is that it is proven to help combat certain types of cancer.
Resveratrol helps by preventing cancer cells from dividing, multiplying and spreading. Many studies say that this powerful antioxidant may also enhance the therapeutic effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
In some instances, resveratrol may help deal with the unwanted side effects of cancer treatment.
Aside from welcoming resveratrol-containing grape molasses into your life, here are some other ways to lower your risk of cancer:
- Maintain an ideal weight
- Have a healthy diet
- Get your regular dose of exercise
- Quit smoking
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Get regular screening tests if cancer runs in the family
Delayed signs of skin aging
Believe it or not, grape molasses is also good for your skin. It’s all because of its antioxidant content.
To neutralize free radicals that can damage healthy skin cells and speed up the aging process of the skin, all you have to do is replace refined sugar with grape molasses each time.
You may also take advantage of the skin-protecting properties of grape molasses by applying it on the face.
Having softer, smoother, and younger-looking skin can be as easy as applying a thin layer of grape molasses on your face and then leaving it there for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse off very well with water afterward.
Some people swear by mixing grape molasses with a little honey, olive oil, or mashed avocado.
Grape Molasses: Buying Guide and Making It at Home
What’s so nice about grape molasses is that you can buy it from most grocery stores without trouble.
However, you can also make it with your own two hands using only one ingredient. It’s none other than grape juice.
No matter the case, one thing remains true: grape molasses is better for your health (and beauty) than refined sugar!
Here are some tips on how to shop for grape molasses and also a simple recipe for making it at home…
Shopping for grape molasses
There is one very important thing to check on the label before you place a jar of grape molasses in your shopping cart. It’s none other than the list of ingredients.
The best grape molasses in the market has the shortest list of ingredients because it has just one entry: grapes.
If the list of ingredients contains any other ingredient, put the jar of grape molasses back on the shelf.
To enjoy the many benefits of grape molasses mentioned above, see to it that you opt for nothing but 100% grape molasses. Otherwise, it’s just like using refined sugar or any other unhealthy sweetener each time.
As a general rule of thumb, it is a great idea to go for grape molasses from the Middle East or a Mediterranean country.
How to make grape molasses at home
Do you know how to boil water? Then you can make grape molasses from scratch!
Online, you can come across many different recipes for making homemade grape molasses.
But if you want the quickest way to whip up grape molasses, look no further.
Below is a recipe that will let you enjoy grape molasses in just 30 minutes — yes, making homemade molasses can be that quick and easy!
Here’s the recipe:
- Grape juice (96 ounces)
- In a large cooking pot, bring grape juice to a boil.
- Reduce heat and allow grape juice to simmer.
- Remove the foam that rises to the surface.
- Keep simmering until the amount of grape juice is reduced to half.
- Remove from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Transfer to a sterilized jar with an airtight cover.
That’s it — you just made your very first batch of grape molasses! Yes, there is only one ingredient necessary. And yes, making grape molasses can be this trouble-free!
When making homemade grape molasses in your very own kitchen, you may use red or white grape juice.
However, if grape molasses with a traditional look is what you want, go for red grape juice.
When shopping for grape juice, check that it is 100% pure. The bottle or carton of grape juice should say that it has no added sugar and other ingredients.
You can also make grape molasses using fresh grapes. However, it’s going to be a time-consuming process. That’s because the grapes should be crushed and then strained first.
Homemade grape molasses is just as good as (or even better than) a store-bought counterpart for use on recipes using grape molasses, from making cocktails to baking cakes.
How to store grape molasses
Storing grape molasses is just like storing molasses of any kind: it should be placed in a cool, dry place. The lip of the jar should be wiped clean before covering to fend off ants and other pests. Grape molasses may also be stored in the refrigerator where the temperature is lower and more stable.
An unopened jar of store-bought grape molasses can keep in the pantry for up to 10 years. An opened bottle can keep in a cool and dry place for a year or up to the best-by date.
Storing grape molasses in the refrigerator can extend its shelf life for up to five years.
Just Before You Buy and Use Grape Molasses
There are many grape molasses benefits to enjoy. If you don’t have a jar of it in your pantry or refrigerator, consider having one so that you may be able to start reaping the many perks that it offers.
Besides making just about anything it is added to taste sweeter and more unforgettable, grape molasses can also help fend off anemia, reduce the blood pressure, strengthen the bones and teeth, and keep you looking young, among many other things.
There are more things that grape molasses can bring aside from sweetness.
However, just because grape molasses is healthier than refined sugar doesn’t mean that you can use it a lot.
Grape molasses is just as high in calories as refined sugar. Needless to say, you may gain excess pounds and wind up with a sky-high blood sugar level if you add too much of it to your diet.
Despite being healthier than refined sugar, it is still important to use grape molasses in moderation.