Maple syrup isn't only delicious, it could also be good for the brain.

Research in Canada and the United States say that botanical compounds found in maple syrup show promise in protecting brain cells against the kind of damage found in Alzheimer's disease.

"One of the theories of Alzheimer's disease is there are proteins [beta amyloid and tau peptide, in neurons] which clump up and cause harm to the brain,"said University of Toronto professor Donald Weaver.

"So we found that a particular extract from maple syrup prevented this clumping."

At the current stage of research, tests have only been conducted in a test tube.

Determining whether the compounds have the same impact on the brain when they are ingested will be the next step.

Weaver added that he "would not recommend chugging maple syrup just yet."

Researchers only know that it contains interesting botanicals.

Syrup producers welcome findings

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers is excited about the findings.

"Brain health is the latest topic of exploration and we look forward to learning more about the potential benefits that maple syrup might have in this area," the federation's president, Serge Beaulieu, said in a statement. 

Quebec produces over 70 per cent of the world's maple syrup supply.

According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, almost 15 per cent of Canadians ages 65 and over live with Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia.

Of the top 10 causes of death in Canada, Alzheimer's is the only one that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed.