Honey is one of those delicious foods that most of us probably ate by the spoonful when we were young. Occasionally I still do! Other than being a tasty sweetener for your tea, honey also has some potential health benefits. But beware, all honey is not created equal! Find out all about honey and how to pick the best one.
What’s so great about honey?
Well we all know that it’s delicious, but it’s also an antiseptic, antioxidant and is cleansing for the body. It is used to fight infection, colds and flus, reduce inflammation and heal skin wounds. Internally, it aids digestive problems such as diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis. There is actually a WEBSITE (maybe more than one) devoted to people’s testimonials of how honey healed or helped them. Some people lost weight, cured diseases, got pain relief etc. Read for yourself:
I smashed my thumb badly with a hammer and didn’t go to the doctor. Within a week my thumb was so badly infected that the smell was unbearable from the infection. I started using honey on it and the infection and pain went away and the thumb healed to perfectly normal.
What’s in honey?
It’s mostly made up of sugars. Glucose and fructose are the top ones, but don’t be fooled. The sugar in honey is not bad for you like the sugar in a soda or chocolate bar. Honey has a high fructose content, so its sweetness actually diminishes with heat. This is why you need relatively more sugar to sweeten hot tea than ice tea. Besides the sugars, it also contains some vitamins and minerals, but at much lower levels than in fruits or vegetables. Because of it’s low water content, microorganisms (like bacteria) have a hard time growing there. This is why it’s very rare to find moldy honey.
Which honey is the best?
There are more types of honey as there are types of flowers. Bees make the honey by collecting pollen from flowers, so the type of flower they pollinate determines the type of honey. New Zealander’s claim their native manuka honey has the best antibacterial properties and have done numerous studies showing it’s benefits. The biggest problem right now with honey production, is the method used by many beekeepers to overproduce honey. Because nectar and flowers are not always available, beekeepers now feed their bees sugar. During winter months, we are stealing the bee’s food source, so they must be fed something else. Bees are generally fed some type of sugar syrup, which can include high fructose corn syrup. Bees thrive on fructose and sucrose, but there are actually some sugars that are toxic to bees. Beekeepers still feed these sugars to their bees if they are included in the cost effective syrups, as long as they are diluted.
What does feeding sugar do to the bees?
Just like feeding people processed food, feeding bees sugar weakens their bodies and immune systems. The bees get sick and die. To prevent this, beekeepers must immunize their colonies. So now our honey is not always being made from flowers, and it’s also full of antibiotics. This is why you must be very careful what type of honey you purchase!
How do I know what the bees are being fed when I buy honey?
The best thing you can do is find a local honey producer and talk to them. You get much better deals on honey when you buy a large quantity from a beekeeper than you do buying from the grocery store. This also gives you full knowledge of how your honey is being produced. Buy in bulk to save more, honey doesn’t go bad so you can store it for longer than other nutritious foods.
Honey is a delicious and nutritious food with health and practical applications. Use it topically for wounds, insect bites, sun and other burns. Use it orally for just about anything. Toss out your table sugar and never use it again!
*Note: Our honey is disappearing! If you love honey, you’ll be interested to see this documentary “Vanishing of the Bees” with Ellen Page. There is a bee epidemic worldwide, and if something doesn’t change soon, we could be without a lot more than just honey. Also read this article for more info on the bee shortage.