Honey has been used as a sweetener in many people’s diets long before sugar became widely available in the 16th century. The ancient Greek, Roman, and Islamic peoples have recorded their uses of honey. Philosophers and scientists such as Aristotle and Aristoxenus even used honey. (1,2)
The traditional ayurvedic medicine used honey over 4,000 years ago for treating material imbalances throughout the body. (2) Humans are not the only species with a sweet tooth for honey. Animals such as bears and badgers savor the taste as well, especially favoring honey in preparation for the winter months. (1)
The fascinating process of how honey is made
The beehive is an incredibly efficient facility where approximately 60,000 bees gather. These bees travel together over as much as 55,000 miles and can visit more than two million flowers, gathering enough nectar to make a pound a honey! (3)
Once the nectar is collected, it mixes with enzymes in the bee’s stomach and then passes to another bee’s mouth. This process continues until the nectar becomes partially digested. The honey is then deposited into a honeycomb. (1)
The bees then fan the honeycomb with their wings, helping the water to evaporate, thereby creating a thick substance known as ‘honey.’ Through the bee’s liquid secretions, the honeycomb is sealed and then hardens into beeswax to be stored indefinitely. As Live Science reported, “Away from air and water, honey can be stored indefinitely, providing bees with the perfect food source for cold winter months.” (1)
The health benefits of honey
With more than 300 different types of honey in the United States, each unique flavor and color is dependent upon the blossoms visited by the honeybees. (4) Though honey has high levels of monosaccharides, fructose, and glucose, which contain about 70-80% sugar, honey in its raw form provides many internal and external health benefits. (2)
Here are three health benefits that you may or may not know about:
- Treat and heal wounds. Unprocessed honey has been recorded to help heal wounds and ulcers. In one study, the authors found that 58 out of 59 wounds showed “remarkable improvements following topical application of honey.” (5)
- Boost your workouts. Honey is the ultimate snack before or after your workouts. As stated in Times, “In addition to being an antioxidant-rich source of carbohydrates, honey acts as a ‘time released’ fuel to provide athletes with more steady blood sugar and insulin levels over a long duration.” (6)
- Improve the scalp. When diluted with warm water, honey has been shown to improve scalp conditions that cause dandruff and itching. According to researchers, “Itching was relieved and scaling disappeared within one week. Skin lesions were healed and disappeared completely within 2 weeks. In addition, patients showed subjective improvement in hair loss.” (7)
Other health benefits of honey are to treat allergies, infections, acid reflux, and infantile gastroenteritis. (2) As you can see, honey provides many health benefits. The only precaution is to know your honey source as there are many low quality honeys out there. According to the Food Safety News (FSN), 76% of honey at grocery stores, 77% of honey from big box stores, and 100% of honey from drug stores were made without pollen. (8)
The good news is that FSN said that honey from “farmers markets, co-ops, and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.” (8)
This article is reproduced with permission from TheRawFoodWorldNews. Do not republish without seeking and obtaining your own permission.
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Image source: flic.kr
Heather Suhr is a successful deaf individual who graduated from Purdue University on a golf scholarship with a BA degree in Health and Fitness. She currently lives in Southeastern Wisconsin and stays active through running and weight lifting. She is also a certified NASM personal trainer and is passionate in helping others achieve their fitness and wellness goals. She loves cook healthy plant-based whole foods for herself and others around her.
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