Liquid Gold: The Health Benefits of Honey

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Honey, also known as “Liquid Gold,” can be traced back many millennia. Egyptian Priests and Physicians, Greek Philosophers, Chinese Healers, and the Romans all can be found using honey for both its sweetening and medicinal properties.

There are over 300 types of honey produced in the world. The most prevalent is Clover Honey which can be found globally.

It is best to purchase honey locally in order to receive the optimal health benefits. Local Honey comes from local Flora (which helps the immune system adapt to allergies). The most desirable local honey can be found at your local Farmers markets and small farms.

Here is a list of some of the most popular honey from around the world.

  • Alfalfa
  • Aster
  • Avocado
  • Basswood
  • Beechwood
  • Blue gum
  • Blueberry
  • Buckwheat
  • Clover
  • Dandelion
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fireweed
  • Ironbark
  • Leatherwood
  • Linden
  • Macadamia
  • Manuka
  • Neem
  • Orange blossom
  • Pinetree
  • Pumpkin blossom
  • Rainforest
  • Rata
  • Red Gum
  • Red Honey
  • Rewarewa
  • Sage
  • Sourwood
  • Tawari
  • Tulip poplar
  • Tupelo
  • Wildflower
  • Yellow Box

The Nutritional Facts for Honey

(Per Tablespoon)

  • Calories: 64
  • Fructose: 38.2%
  • Glucose: 31.3%
  • Maltose: 7.1%
  • Sucrose: 1.3%
  • Water: 17.2%
  • High sugars: 1.5%
  • Ash: 0.2%
  • Other /undetermined: 3.2%
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients
  • Fat: 0
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Potassium: 11mg
  • Carbohydrates: 17gm
  • Fiber: 0
  • Sugar:17 gm
  • Protein: 0.1mg

Honey typically has a PH between 3.2 and 4.5. This acidity prevents growth of bacteria.

According to the Dr. Ross Fessenden, author of The Honey Revolution, every spoon of honey contains quantities of  Floral Flavonoids, usually referred to as Antioxidants. As of today, there are believed to be 16 Flavonoids found in honey. These Floral Flavonoids have a strong influence in helping our immune system.

Consumption

Honey consumption (as compared to refined sugar or HFCS) leads directly to the formation of liver glycogen. This allows for the stabilization of blood sugar levels. As a result, honey reduces metabolic stress and improves fat metabolism and disposal, this combats two of the key parameters of the metabolic syndrome, Type II diabetes and obesity.

However, it is important to note, as healthy as honey is, it is still a “Sugar” and high in calories.  According to the American Dietetic Association spokesperson Toby Smithson, RD, CDE “even if honey is natural it is no better than white or brown sugar for dieters and people with diabetes”.

Also consider that Honey does have more carbohydrates (CHOs) and calories than sugar as noted earlier. However, honey is sweeter than sugar, so if you use half the amount of honey, you still attain the sweetness with the health benefits and can stay within your Caloric Intake Goals.

Sugar is also higher on the glycemic index than honey as a result of the lower fructose count. Calories are calories. Counting them as part of a weight management program matters. Remember, per tablespoon, honey has 64 calories and sugar has 49 calories. It is up to you to measure and be responsible in the amount you use or advise your clients to use.

As previously noted, (it cannot be stressed enough) when buying honey, it is best to buy local honey from Co-ops, farmers markets or reliable health food stores. Buying local gives you confidence that the honey you have purchased is 100% pure honey and not highly processed sugar, amber colored syrup or water.

According to Food and Safety News, “honey purchased in supermarkets, and big discount superstores, comes from China. This honey is highly processed, heated and is mainly syrup. 76% of all honey sold in stores does not contain pollen, which is one of the most important aspects of honey” (Schneider, 2013).

Natural or Imitation?

If you want ensure the honey you have is “real” honey, here are two tests:

  • Light the honey. If it flames, it is pure.
  • Put in water. If you stir pure honey into water, it will not dissolve. (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon of honey)

Important Note*

While honey has many benefits for children and adults, never give honey to an infant that is under the age of twelve months. Infants at this age are at risk of Infant Botulism. Botulism spores may find their way into the honey from dust or soil. These spores release a toxin, that in extreme cases, can result in paralysis of the diaphragm in an infant.

Types Of Honey

Raw honey comes directly from the hive. The color and flavor are determined by the types of flowers the bees harvest to create the delicious goodness nature offers us. Raw honey contains amylase that helps digest starchy foods.

Pasteurized honey is processed, heated and then filtered. This process creates a clear looking liquid that is easy to pour, as well as package and sell in mass production.

Strained honey is also filtered, however, the pollen is not removed

Comb Honey is the most natural form of honey. It is beeswax.

Micro-filtered Honey is the most filtered. All pollen and particles are removed from this honey and it appears very clear. Always read the label, as some of this honey has added sugar.

Other Components to Bees and Honey:

Royal Jelly is a jelly like potent substance worker bees feed the queen and her larvae.

Propolis also known as bee glue, is used to “glue’ or attach the honey comb to the tops and sides of the hive. It is also the mechanism to seal or encase unwanted visitors to the hive. It has been used for millennia to treat various ailments and conditions.

Bee pollen is rich in minerals and bioflavonoids. It is also the only plant source that contains Vitamin B12. This has also been used for millennia for treatments.

We have much to learn from our busy little bees. The result of their hard work  can be used in so many ways.

There is so much to learn about honey. Find your “honey” and enjoy! Take advantage of what natures has to offer!

Sources

BeWellBuzz. “Medicinal Uses of Honey.” Be Well Buzz, 24 Dec. 2011,

www.bewellbuzz.com/wellness-buzz/medicinal-uses-of-honey/.

Fessenden, Ronald E., and Mike McInnes. The Honey Revolution: Restoring the Health of  Future Generations.

WorldClassEmprise, LLC, 2010.

Schneider, Andrew. “Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey.” Food Safety News, 14 Mar.

2013, www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.Wz-JEjNKh-U.

 

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