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How is honey made?
Bees prepare honey from nectar which they collect from flowers and blossom of trees. They use it, as well as pollen, as food for their young. Honey is a mix of natural sugars (80%), water (18%) and minerals, vitamins, pollen, protein and amino acids (2%). Around 70% of honey's natural sugar content is made up of fructose and glucose. Raw honey has been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogens in food and food spoilage organisms.
Apitherapy honey has never been heated or filtered, and thus it retains the beneficial traces of pollen, propolis, and beeswax, which the flowers and bees have put there. These contain healthful minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and carbohydrates.
Honey forms crystals around these particles, which you see on the surface or by holding a jar up to the light. Within a month or so after the fall harvest, apitherapy honey will crystallize. To soften or reliquefy honey, place it in a warm place or in warm water.
Honey has long been recognized as a natural remedy and has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It has antiseptic properties and can be very successfully used in wound management.
and can be used as a remedy for ailments from sore throats to burns and cuts. For a soothing drink for sore throats, mix honey with the juice of half a lemon, add boiling water and stir. If you’re feeling low, try a spoonful of honey as a pick-me-up. The fructose and glucose in honey are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.
The Nutritional Benefits of Honey
Honey can be white, amber, gold, red, brown or nearly black, depending on the plants bees use to gather nectar. A lot of honey comes from clover, alfalfa, heather and acacia. Specialty honey can also be made from thyme and lavender.
Raw honey is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and an antioxidant. The health benefits depend on the quality of the honey--and the quality of the honey depends on the quality of the plants the bees visit to gather nectar. Over processed honey removes many of the phytonutrients in raw honey. The phytonutrients in raw honey contain cancer-preventing and anti-tumor properties; these are caffeic acid methyl caffeate, phenylethyl caffeate, and phenylethyl dimethylcaffeate. These substances help prevent colon cancer by negating the effect of two enzymes.
And that’s just the beginning!
Honey Far Healthier than Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup
University of Illinois researchers say that honey may be a healthier alternative to corn syrup thanks to its high level of antioxidants. In the 1970’s the food industry began manufacturing sugar from corn rather than from sugar beets or sugar cane because it’s less expensive. High fructose corn syrup can be engineered to contain up to 80 percent fructose and 20 percent glucose, which is twice the fructose of normal sugar. Natural fruit is 50-50, and the fruit’s fiber slows the body’s absorption rate of fructose. High fructose corn syrup is absorbed very quickly. It is metabolized in the liver, and it can cause cirrhosis of the liver; glucose, however, is metabolized in all cells. Fructose causes diabetes, depletes the body’s nutrients, elevates cholesterol, creates blood clots, interferes with the heart using magnesium, copper and chromium, and it inhibits white blood cells from defending the body from intruders. Sugar is a crystalline carbohydrate. It is nothing but empty calories with no nutrients whatsoever, robs the body of vitamins and minerals, and is addictive. The USDA recommends that adults consume no more than 40 grams of sugar in their typical daily 2,000 calorie diets. But the USDA reports that the average American eats 20 teaspoons of added sugars every day--that’s 80 grams, twice the amount of the USDA recommendation, and roughly 16 percent of daily calorie intake! The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that Americans eat 20 percent more sugar now than in 1986. As a result, a 21 million Americans suffer from diabetes. The carbohydrate content of honey, on the other hand, is 38.5 percent fructose, 31 percent glucose, 17.6 percent water, and 12.9 percent maltose, sucrose and other sugars. Honey also has only a mild effect on the body’s blood sugar, or glycemic, level. Unlike sugar and high fructose corn syrup, eating honey is not akin to boarding the blood sugar roller coaster. It does not make blood sugar spike and then plummet rapidly, increasing hunger. High-glycemic diets are linked to an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.
The Sweetener Full of Vitamins and Minerals
Unlike sugar and high fructose corn syrup, honey contains vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Honey contains vitamins B2 and B6, plus iron and manganese. Depending on the flowers the bees visit, honey may contain niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Adding honey to your diet and calcium supplements can also enhance the body’s calcium absorption.
Honey Contains Beneficial Antioxidants
A scientific study conducted by the University of California found that eating honey raises polyphenolic antioxidant levels. Antioxidants protect against free radicals; free radicals are a natural result of cell metabolism, but too many can damage cells and lead to cancer, heart disease and other diseases. In the study, 25 adults ate between four and 10 tablespoons of buckwheat honey every day for one month, not baked or dissolved in tea. Study participants experienced no weight gain and reported that eating honey with breakfast made them feel full and satiated. Dark honey, such as buckwheat, contains more antioxidants than light honey. It also has more flavor.
Honey Tames High Cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes
In one study, honey reduced the total cholesterol of healthy subjects by 7 percent. It also reduced triglycerides 2 percent, C-reactive protein 7 percent, homocysteine 6 percent, and blood sugar 6 percent. C-reactive protein and homocysteine are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Honey also increased HDL, or good cholesterol, by 2 percent. In subjects with high cholesterol, honey decreased total cholesterol by 8 percent, LDL cholesterol 11 percent, and C-reactive protein a whopping 75 percent! In subjects with type 2 diabetes, honey caused a much lower rise in blood sugar than the refined sugars dextrose or sucrose.
Honey Boosts Athletic Performance
Honey can even boost athletic performance. Honey acts as a carbohydrate and supplies energy at 64 calories per tablespoon, providing fuel for muscles. The University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory found honey one of the most effective carbohydrates to consume prior to and after exercise; a study involved 39 male and female weight-trained athletes. Some study participants consumed a protein shake with maltodextrin after a vigorous weightlifting workout. Maltodextrin is a corn-derived carbohydrate. Other participants had a protein shake with honey; their blood sugar levels were sustained for at least two hours post-workout. This aids in muscle recuperation, glycogen restoration and energy repletion. Glycogen is the carbohydrates stored in muscles as ready-to-use fuel.
Honey even Heals Wounds
Honey has been used as a topical antiseptic for ulcers, burns and wounds for centuries. One study in India compared honey to a conventional treatment of silver sulfadiazine on 104 first-degree burn patients. After one week, 91 percent of honey treated burns were free of infection, as compared with only 7 percent receiving silver sulfadiazine. Also, a larger percentage of burns healed more readily in patients treated with honey.
Another study examined the wound healing benefits of honey on Caesarean section and hysterectomy patients. Compared to the group treated with the standard solution of iodine and alcohol, the honey group was free of infection in fewer days, their wounds healed more cleanly, and they enjoyed a shorter hospital stay.
Since honey is composed primarily of glucose and fructrose, it absorbs water; this water absorption dries wounds quickly, inhibiting bacteria and fungi growth. Raw honey also contains the enzyme glucose oxidase, which produces the mild antiseptic hydrogen peroxide when combined with water.
The antioxidants and flavonoids present in honey also function as antibacterial agents. One antioxidant, pinocembrin, is unique to honey, and it is being studied for its antibacterial properties.
Honey is particularly effective as an antibacterial agent against Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and Candida albicans. Staphylococcus is a prevalent common bacteria that instigates infections, especially in open wounds.
The anti-inflammatory property of honey also reduces pain and improves circulation, speeding the healing process. It also stimulates tissue growth, which helps reduce scarring.
Honey can even be used topically as a beauty treatment to nourish the hair and skin!
Take Care of Your Honey!
Raw honey that has not been pasteurized, filtered or clarified, and is organic, is the best choice. Look for “100% pure” on the label.
Store honey in an airtight container in a cool, dry location. It will stay fresh for a very long time. Its high sugar content and acidic pH naturally inhibit microorganism growth.
Who says having sweets can’t be healthy? Enjoy honey as a delicious and nutritious sweetener in your foods and beverages!
Anaemia, Anorexia, Bronchial asthma, Bronchitis, Constipation, Convalescence, Cough, Dental Caries, Enteritis, Flu, Gastric disorders, Gastroduodenal Ulcer, Hay fever, Insomnia, Laryngitis, Pharyngitis, Rhinitis, Sinusitis, Sore throats
Honey in Cooking
You can use honey in cooking instead of sugar. Because it is sweeter than sugar, you need to use less. The first thing to consider when using honey to cook with is that it is judged to be twice (2 X) as sweet as sugar. Therefore, to get the same sweetness as sugar, you use one half as much as you would of sugar. Honey is about 18% water. If you round that off to 20% you can easily figure that about 1/5th of the honey you add to your recipe is water. Therefore, you cut back on the moisture in your recipe by 20% (1/5th). Honey is hydroscopic (meaning it attracts water) so it is good for baking cakes as it keeps them moist for longer.
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