Pancakes with maple syrup make a delicious morning breakfast, but did you know that maple syrup is actually packed with health benefits? Although both maple syrup and refined sugar contain about the same amount of sucrose, refined sugar has none of the added benefits that maple syrup does. Maple syrup is a natural product, which is made from the sap of maple trees. Sugar, on the other hand, must undergo intense refining processes that remove any benefits it might have contained. While you should still eat maple syrup in moderation, replacing sugar with it can provide you with many important health benefits.

1. Antioxidants

One of the best reasons to consume maple syrup is that it contains a multitude of antioxidants. Antioxidants are only found in trace amounts in refined sugar and corn syrup, and even agave nectar can’t provide the amount of antioxidants that maple syrup can. These antioxidants fight free radicals, which are cells that have been found to cause serious diseases. For the maximum antioxidant benefit, select the darkest grade of maple syrup, rather than the lighter grades, which contain fewer of these important nutrients. Other sweeteners that are known to contain high amounts of antioxidants include molasses, raw honey, and even brown sugar.