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Truth about birch sap: Nutritionist's comment

Truth about birch sap: Nutritionist's comment Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Many people gather birch sap in spring. It's a lot of work to collect it, yet no one cared much about the fate of birch trees. Often, young birch trees fall ill or dry up due to birch sap collection, and the hot, dry summers only make it worse, according to dietitian Oksana Skitalinska.

What's in birch sap?

  • Water - up to 99%
  • Sugars - from 0.2 to 1.5%
  • Protein and fats - traces
  • Copper, iron, phosphorus, silicon, and others - traces, meaning zero poing a few tenths or hundredths percent
  • Mostly potassium and magnesium, but significantly less than in fresh cabbage salad.

Is birch sap beneficial?

The expert explained that many sources claim that phytoncides found in birch sap significantly increase the body's resistance and immunotolerance to viral infections, kill bacteria and microbes, enhance immunity, which is the basis for the juice's anti-inflammatory properties. But that's not the case.

There are very few phytoncides in it, hundreds of times less than in a small clove of garlic or a piece of onion.

"How can they kill microbes and boost immunity? Or how can you treat obesity of various degrees with birch sap? You can't, and people with obesity who unsuccessfully tried to treat it with birch sap will confirm that," Skitalinska said.

According to her, there are no clinical studies of the healing properties of birch sap. Yes, it's tasty, slightly sweet due to the presence of sugars, refreshing. But it's not healthy.

Why you shouldn't collect birch sap

People use the birch sap season for "detoxing" and "healing." Birch sap is full of vital nutrients for the birch tree to grow and thrive. By collecting a lot of sap, people deprive trees of this opportunity. Moreover, many people wouldn't even think to treat the "wounds" on the tree from which the sap flowed, and they can be gateways for various infections and pests, causing the tree to become ill and wither.

As for the benefits of canned birch sap sold in stores, keep in mind that sugar and citric acid are added during preservation.

Conclusion: If people started drinking clean water more often, consuming vegetables, and berries, there would be much more health benefits than from birch sap.