The Surprising Brain Benefits of Maple Syrup

maple syrup being poured over pancakes
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Nothing says breakfast like a stack of pancakes. But what would they be without a generous drizzle of sweet maple syrup? That’s a breakfast that does more than power up your morning. It may also power up your brain — and protect it from Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

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Turns out, maple syrup is loaded with potent, brain-boosting phenols, produced when the sap from a maple tree is boiled down. Researchers from the University of Toronto discovered that those phenols help prevent brain chemicals called peptides from clumping, a process that leads to brain diseases, especially Alzheimer’s. Those phenols helped to stop the tangling of proteins in the brain cells of rats and prolonged the life of a worm modeling Alzheimer’s disease.


Scientists still have lots of work to do, including follow-up trials in other animals and in humans, too. But for now, it’s good to know that maple syrup may have a role to play in improving cognition and keeping your brain healthy.

Learn more — and find simple, healthy recipes — when you activate your access to AARP Staying Sharp. It’s easy to enroll and is included with your AARP membership.

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