Is Honey Healthy?
Where Did Honey Come From?
Nature is right on schedule with blossoming trees, flowers, grass, and weeds making allergy sufferers miserable. This blog describes how honey can be your sweet spring savior.
Honey dates back as far as 10 to 20 million years ago. The practice of beekeeping to produce honey dates back to at least 700 BC (anyone see Jurassic Park?). It is a cholesterol and fat-free, sweet liquid produced primarily by honey bees (Bumblebees do make honey, but to much less of a degree because retrieving their honey breaks their hive).
Did you know honeybees are the only insects who make food for humans? Honey is the only food that includes enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water (all of the life-sustaining elements). It is also the only food that contains “pinocembrin,” an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.
Honey is sweeter than sugar (pure carbohydrate at 64 calories per teaspoon) and typically less than 18 percent water. Even though honey is mostly sugar it has a healthy Glycemic Index (GI). Honey’s sugars can be slowly absorbed into our blood (decreasing the need for the pancreas to send out insulin) and results in better digestion.
The vitamins present in honey are B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and certain amino acids. The minerals found in honey include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.
How Honey Can Help You
Are you a runner or an athlete? Honey will instantly boost performance and endurance and reduce muscle fatigue. Forget the energy drinks, the glucose is absorbed by the body quickly and gives an immediate energy boost, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy.
Nausea? When mixed with ginger and lemon juices, it relieves nausea and supplies energy.
Falls, cuts, and burns? Honey has antiseptic qualities stopping the growth of certain bacteria and keeps external wounds clean and free from infection. Honey also works as an anti-inflammatory agent, reducing swelling, pain, and potentially scarring.
Seasonal allergies? Honeybees collect pollen from trees, plants and up to 100 flowers per trip allowing their honey to contain small amounts of pollen from each species. When people living in a 20-mile radius of the bees ingest 1-2 teaspoons of honey each day during “allergy season,” the honey boosts the immune system, working as an antidote to allergies.
Ticklish? Get Rid of That Cough!
Sore throat and cough? Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, honey not only soothes throats but can also kill certain bacteria that causes the infection. A 2007 Pennsylvania State College of Medicine study revealed honey worked better than cough remedies at helping to relieve coughs and improve sleep. Recently a study of 105 children and teenagers with coughs from upper-respiratory infections revealed the group given the honey had the greatest improvements. These improvements consisted of better sleep and reduced cough frequency and severity over the Dextromethorphan group, according to a report in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.*
*According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, honey may be useful in relieving coughing, but it should never be given to children under a year of age because in rare cases it can cause infantile botulism.
Honey could be multifaceted in your home for a healthier immune system and healthier cooking in place of sugar. But the honey discussed here is only found through honey farmers.
This raw honey is the concentrated nectar of flowers which his unheated, pure, unpasteurized, and unprocessed honey. As the investigation by Food Safety News found
- 76% of honey samples bought at grocery stores were absent of pollen
- 77% of the honey from big box stores (like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Target) were absent of pollen
- 100% of the honey sampled from drug stores (like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS Pharmacy) were absent of pollen (and it is the pollen which carries all the health benefits).