Honey, a sugary-syrupy nectar made by honey bees from beautiful flowers, has been used since thousands of years. Humans have used honey both as a medicine as well as a food source. Besides an organic source of sugar, honey has many medicinal properties and is the staple ingredient of various medications.
Composition of honey
Honey, as we know, is manufactured naturally by honey bees in nests perched atop high trees. Pollination, the process of reproduction of flowers, is a result of honey bees migrating from one plant to another in search of food. The composition of honey has revealed that it’s relative sweetness is similar to granulated sugar. Moreover, harmful micro-organisms are unable to grow in honey bottles. Honey can easily be stored at normal room temperature making it a part of many home foods.
The composition of honey can be further be explained in terms of individual elements. Sugar constitutes 80%, water 17% and the rest consists of various elements such as sodium chlorine, magnesium, calcium, potassium, Iron, Sulphur and phosphate. The vitamin composition in the honey depends on pollen and nectar quality accumulated during the pollination process. A typical honey sample contains Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6.
Fructose, a sugar type, is present in the honey in large quantities. When it enters the body, it slowly releases the energy. Moreover, fructose can be digested in the body without using insulin secreted for the pancreas gland. The glucose part of the honey provides immediate energy to the body making it a great energy replenishing diet.
Honey – Diluting Honey and Quality Maintenance
According to a study, about three-fourth of the commercial honey sold through grocery stores in the United States is processed and not natural honey. This astonishing fact reveals that all is not well in the honey industry. Honey is robbed of its natural ingredients at the factories. Filtering removes the many fine particles that are sourced from pollen. Honey bees collect pollen from the flowers and natural honey contains traces of this pollen in microscopic form. When the processed honey is filtered, pollen is removed taking with it many healthy advantages. This also lowers the honey’s quality standards across the world.
As per various food safety organizations, including WHO and European Commission, quality of pollen defines the standard for natural honey. Lack of pollen makes it difficult to determine the authenticity of a honey bottle. The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S.A. has declared that ultra-refined honey containing no pollen cannot be termed honey at all. However, the checking and inspection mechanism is not in place.
Ultra-filtering technique is used to purify (or contaminate) honey. The process begins by heating honey and then adding water to it. The mixture is then passed through extremely fine filters and pollen is removed. This technique is perfected by the Chinese manufacturers, who have unloaded tons of counterfeit honey into U.S. grocery stores.
OK – Now that we have all the boring science and history out of the way, how does honey benefit you?
Health Benefits of Honey
- A natural sugar source – Sugar provides energy to the body and the sugar found in honey is better than the common processed sugars.
- It can be stored at room temperature indefinitely – which is an amazing benefit for preppers and survivalists.
- Locally sourced honey increases immunity against local pollen allergies.
- Honey is full of antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties.
- It has been shown to help medical conditions such as insomnia, cough, and upset stomach.
- Some studies lead us to believe that it helps control blood sugar levels safely and naturally.
- Honey is NOT recommended for infants – the sticky substance is a major choking hazard.
- Excessive consumption can increase sugar levels, which is not good for diabetics or those with hypoglycemia.
- Caloric content is high – even thought its tasty, eat too much and your belly will show it (Ask Winnie the Pooh!).
So what do you think? Do you have any other great uses for Honey? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!