Thursday, July 06, 2017 by Frances Bloomfield
Honey is a viscous liquid made by bees from flower nectar. The flavor of honey will vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as the types of flowers harvested for their nectar, storage conditions, and much more. Generally, however, honey is quite sweet and has been enjoyed as a natural sweetener and as a medicinal substance for thousands of years. Its health benefits have been documented as far back as ancient Grecian and Roman times, and even now honey is being consumed and used to support better overall health.
What honey lacks in cholesterol and sodium it more than makes up for in sugar: a huge portion of the calories in honey comes from its wealth of glucose, fructose, and monosaccharides. As with the flavor, the nutritional content of honey is dependent on the kind of flower nectar, but the common vitamins and minerals found in most types of honey include:
A notable medicinal use for honey is in wound management. Honey possesses antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which speeds up the healing process by stimulating wound tissues, and promotes moist wound healing. Manuka honey is most notable for its efficacy in treating chronic wound infections by destroying key bacterial proteins.
In addition to its use in caring for wounds, honey can prevent or control:
Apart from wound management, using honey on the skin can benefit it in other ways. When combined with other ingredients such as milk, honey can have a nourishing and moisturizing effect that leaves the skin looking smooth and young.
Honey can also support:
Honey is a common sugar substitute, so sweet recipes calling for sugar can be made healthier by using honey instead. For every cup of sugar, use 3/4 cup of honey.
Honey does just as well in savory dishes, particularly salmon, chicken, and quinoa bowls. Generally, honey is versatile enough that it can be used or added to just about any food or drink. Tea, pancakes, oatmeal, toast, cereals, and marinades are but a few of the foods that can be improved by a slight drizzle or generous dollop of honey.
Since honey is antibacterial, it has an incredibly long shelf-life.
Darker-colored honeys, like those from buckwheat, have higher antioxidant levels, making them quite effective at destroying free radicals.
The combination of glucose and fructose in honey makes it effective at aiding the body in blood sugar level regulation. Moreover, certain honeys like locust honey have a low hypoglycemic index and can therefore be consumed by diabetics without too much worry.
Honey offers relief from colds, coughs, and throat irritation.
Parents of babies under the age of one are warned against giving their infants honey. Whether pasteurized or raw, honey can contain botulinum endospores that can bring about infant botulism, a type of food poisoning that can result in muscle weakness, breathing problems, and even paralysis.
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