If you have seen me in the clinic for fertility support, chances are we've conversed about Black Strap Molasses. What is this amazing little superfood and why am I recommending it? Isn't it super high in sugar and bad for you??? How is it going to help me get pregnant? Is it still good to take when I'm not trying to get pregnant? Let's break this all down...
What Is Black Strap Molasses?
Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of sugar cane refinement; sugar cane is mashed down to create a juice and then boiled to make cane syrup. To make sugar, the cane syrup is processed and heated until it's crystallized, which makes raw sugar. Raw sugar is then filtered and bleached with bone char to make white table sugar.
However, if you skip the crystallizing, you can boil the cane syrup again to make molasses. Sometimes molasses is mixed with raw sugar or white sugar to make brown sugar.
If you want to skip all that and boil the cane syrup (now molasses) a THIRD time, the final dark viscous result is Black Strap Molasses.
What Is The Nutritional Value?
Because of this thrice-boiling process, Black Strap Molasses has a very dark earthy flavor, with the added benefit of having the lowest sugar content and highest nutritional value of any sugar cane product. It's low glycemic index and chemical makeup allows it to be digested very slowly, meaning it won't spike your blood sugar. In addition, it contains vital vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, and selenium, is considered to be anti-oxidant rich.
**While its lower on the glycemic index (about 55), it's important to remember that this is still a sugar based product. If you have any issues with blood sugar management, consult with your physician before implementing Black Strap Molasses into your diet.**
Black Strap Molasses' nutritional value comes with several health benefits including
Healthy bone development
Healthy red blood cell development
Supporting hair, skin, and nail growth
Soothing PMS by helping with cramps, bloating, acne, water retention, breast tenderness, and irritability
Replenishing lost substances after menstruation
Calming the spirit (Vit B6) by easing anxiety, boosting the mood, and can even support cognitive conditions like ADD/ADHD.
Antioxidant Rich for protecting your body against cancer, cardiovascular disease and other degenerative diseases.
In Chinese Medicine
So what do all these benefits have in common? In Chinese medicine, all of the above benefits have to do with BLOOD. Nourishing blood supports bones, hair, skin, nails, menstruation, sleep, mental cognition; in fact, blood is the mother of Qi and one of the foundational treasures of life. Anytime I treat a patient with symptoms of blood deficiency, my first dietary recommendation is to supplement with Black Strap Molasses, 1-2TBSP per day.
Black Strap for Fertility?
One of the most common causes of fertility difficulties in Chinese Medicine is blood deficiency, which can include fertility-specific issues like poor follicular development, hormonal deficiencies, and an thin proliferative endometrium, or simply imbalances that make it more difficult to achieve a viable pregnancy. With specific regard for the endometrium - think of your endometrium as the embryo's bed. For the embryo to firmly implant and grow, it wants a plush king size bed to snuggle up in! Ideally you want your endometrium to be at least 8mm, but ideally closer to 11mm (these numbers are very general, and you should ask your doctor what is ideal for you!)
If you have very light and short periods, or if you already know you struggle with endometrial thickness, I 100000% recommend you start having some Black Strap Molasses every day (in addition to other herbs and foods, but I'll get into that at a later date)
How to Eat It
I typically recommend 1-2TBSP of Black Strap Molasses every day.
Add It Into Tea:, I like to add it into my morning tea and take it with my prenatal vitamins. It gives my already earthy teas a nice gentle sweet flavor without being too overpowering. It blends well with most teas, but I especially like it with black and Pu-erh teas.
Add It Into Smoothies: You can also add into smoothies or protein shakes, just make sure you blend it and/or shake it well to make sure it's fully blended.
Drizzle it on Oatmeal: I LOVE to do this in the winter time. I prepare my oatmeal and then just mix in some goji berries and drizzle the Black Strap on top *::chef's kiss::*
Energy Bars or Balls: If you make your own energy bars or balls, this can be a great binder to keep all your ingredients together. I have yet to try it, but it's on my to-do list!
Black Strap Shooter: None of the above sound good? That's fine! Take your 1-2TBSP of Black Strap and shake it vigorously with 3-4 some hot water and guzzle it back.
You should be able to get Black Strap Molasses at most grocery stores, but it's imperative that your Black Strap be organic. I have a difficult time finding the brand I like most in stores, so I typically order mine from Amazon.
Alright! That about sums things up :) This will be cross-posted on my personal website as well, so please feel free to spread the word and share this information!
Until next time, I will leave you with a fun Chinese Medicine quip:
Qi is the foundational energy that animates and moves all life. But the Blood is the Mother of the Qi, it is Blood that nourishes us.