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Molasses, the main by-product of sugar production, is a potential source of antioxidants. In a sugar study, molasses (SCM) and beet molasses (SBM) were done for phenolic profile and antioxidant capacity in vitro, and their protective effects on human HepG2 cells exposed to oxidative stress.
Dominican healers believe that the consumption of beets in combination with molasses reduces fibroids and strengthens the uterus after the fibroid has been eliminated from the body. The possible nutritional and cultural justification for the use of beets and molasses in Dominican ethnomedicine has been rationalized. Beets contain high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber, which could theoretically affect estrogen levels. The total fiber in raw beets is 2.8g/100g, which is 7.62g per 2-cup serving, or about 30% of the Daily Value on a 2,000-calorie diet. A high dietary intake of beetroot could potentially decrease endogenous estrogen levels through increased fiber intake.
Beets are extremely high in carotenoids, which could potentially inhibit fibroid growth. However, no clinical trials have tested carotenoids or retinoic acid in the treatment of fibroids. Beets could also be used to treat iron deficiency, especially when combined with molasses. Cooked beets contain 1.55 mg of iron per tablespoon. A fibroid “potion” containing 2 cups of beet juice with 2 tablespoons of molasses would yield about 12.6 mg of iron, or about 70% of the U.S. recommended daily allowance for premenopausal women. In populations deficient in both vitamin A [retinol] and iron, the combination of both supplements is more effective in treating iron deficiency anemia than iron alone.
Consistent with its higher phenolic concentration and antioxidant capacity in vitro, SCM showed potent protection in cells, comparable to or even higher than that of α-tocopherol. The data emphasize the potential health effects of molasses and the possibility of using it for its antioxidant activity. This is important for consumers in developing countries as it has the importance of consuming an inexpensive but highly nutritious product.