Bees are miraculous creatures, they swallow, digest and then in a process similar to alchemy, they regurgitate nectar to produce a sweet golden honey.
Honey is classed as a superfood that delivers numerous health benefits. It has been used for centuries as it contains nutritional and medicinal values and is packed with antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Honey is a natural sweetener, that although far sweeter than sugar, it is much better for our bodies to break down faster and it is gradually absorbed into the bloodstream.
Honey can be consumed raw, added to drinks or added as an ingredient in recipes to sweeten or for flavor.
Raw honey is unpasteurized and the difference between this and regular honey is the filtration it goes through which enables it to last longer.
The colour of the honey is important in judging the quality: the lighter the colour, the better the quality and more delicate flavour it will have. Honey becomes darker as it is heated and stored and that is when it loses most of its nutrients. This is only the case with honey made from pollen though.
Some companies manufacture and label honey without it having any pollen content at all. This honey may look clear, however it is only due to the filtering process, so it will not have many (if any) health benefits.
Although there are regulations, which determine what is and what isn’t considered to be real honey, there are few checks in place to ensure the honey that is being sold actually contains pollen.
To be sure that the maximum health benefits are received, it is recommended that honey is raw or organic and purchased locally from a natural food store or from a local beekeeper. Local honey is far more beneficial as it contains the immune stimulating properties our bodies require to adapt to its surrounding environment.
Studies have shown that approximately 75% of honey currently for sale in the U.S. has had the pollen filtered out.
Here are some of the health benefits of honey:
Heals wounds by killing bacteria the majority of the bacteria on the skin.
Stimulates new tissue growth by removing pus, scabs and dead tissue from the wound.
Relieves sore throats.
Increases the absorption of calcium.
Boosts energy instantly.
Relieves arthritic discomfort.
Works as a laxative to aid constipation.
Helps boost the growth of good bacteria in the intestine.
Loaded with antioxidants so it boosts memory.
Aids sleep; the rise in insulin releases serotonin.
Strengthens the immune system.
Helps to digest the fat stored in the body.
Relieves morning sickness.
Alleviates yeast infections.
Removes parasites from the colon and liver.
Natural energy drink.
Honey is a natural unprocessed sugar, containing glucose and fructose, which enters the bloodstream directly so it delivers a very fast boost of energy. This makes it the perfect natural energy drink for workouts. It is a natural source of carbohydrates, which strengthens and energises our body and also helps to prevent it from fatigue.
Mix the juice from half an organic lemon with two tablespoons of honey and one pinch of cinnamon into half a cup of warm water and drink two to three times a day to soothe and cleanse the throat.
Honey and lemon water drink.
Mix the juice from half an organic lemon with one tablespoon of honey into a mug of cooled boiled water. Drink each morning and before bed each evening to hydrate, cleanse and rejuvenate the system.
Blend together 15ml of liquid honey, 80ml of orange juice and 70ml of natural yoghurt, until smooth and then drink.
Mix the juice from half an organic lemon with one tablespoon of organic honey and apply to the face leaving for between 15-30 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water finishing with a splash of cold to close pores..
Removes dead skin cells and helps to remove black heads and acne and balances skin tone.
Honey also contains a vast array of minerals such as calcium, copper, chromium, iron, magnesium manganese, phosphorous, potassium riboflavin and zinc.
One tablespoon of raw honey contains approximately 64 calories, is fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free.
Honey is made up of approximately 80% carbohydrates, 18% water and the remainder 2% is vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Although honey is loaded with health benefits, it is not recommended that it is given to children under the age of 12 months to ensure their digestive system is strong enough to handle the spores of bacteria that are found in dirt and dust that can sometimes contaminate honey and lead to health problems.
Honey has a high fructose content so should be consumed in moderation.
Organic honey is considered a healthier option as it will be free from chemicals and pesticides and should be bound be rigorous monitoring, which include where the honey is sourced, transportation, bees management and processing temperature.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Darla Hueske