People have used honey as a food and a medicine since ancient times. For as long as bees have been producing this amber-colored and delicious goo, we’ve been appropriating it to feed us and keep us healthy.
Bees collect sugar from the nectar of flowers, and once inside the hive, they consume and regurgitate the nectar to create honey. They use it as a food source, and the flowers they visit determine the color and taste of the honey they make. To produce one pound of honey, a colony of bees would have to visit at least two million flowers.
There are numerous health benefits of honey you might not have known. Learn more about this naturally sweet treat!
When we eat honey, what nutrients are we eating? Since bees use pollen to create honey, it’s high in plant compounds and is a better alternative to cane or refined sugar. Even though honey has a similar number of calories, you’re still ingesting nutrients instead of empty calories.
Honey has no fiber, fat, or protein, but it does contain different types of sugar, like fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose. To get even the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals, you would need to consume huge quantities of honey.
But because of the plant compounds and antioxidants, honey is the reason we humans have been using it medicinally for millennia. To get more antioxidants out of your servings of honey, you’ll want to choose darker varieties over lighter versions.
Rich in Antioxidants
Honey is rich in antioxidants, but what are they? Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals, another molecule that causes aging and can cause chronic illnesses. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants helps prevent diseases like heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
Honey contains important antioxidants such as organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids, found in all kinds of different fruits and vegetables. You also find flavonoids in products derived from plants, like wine and chocolate.
Safer for Diabetic Diets
Since honey isn’t empty calories, it’s an ideal sweetener for people with diabetes. Study results are conflicting, but honey can help lower risk factors for people with type 2 diabetes. It does so by lowering bad cholesterol levels like triglycerides and helping increase good cholesterol within the bloodstream. And even though it can raise blood sugar levels, it won’t raise it as much as refined sugars. Still, if you have diabetes, you can enjoy honey, but only in moderation, taking the same precautions you would with any other sweetener.
Lowers Heart Disease Risks
Honey helps to lower risk factors for heart disease, thanks to the antioxidants it contains. One way honey accomplishes this feat is by lowering LDL cholesterol levels, which attributes to fatty buildup in our arteries that can lead to blockages causing heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
It also fights triglycerides, a type of cholesterol that is a big contributor to heart disease. It can also cause insulin resistance, resulting in type 2 diabetes. You’ll often see this type of bad cholesterol in diets that have increased sugar and refined carbs.
But by replacing sugar consumption with honey, you can help lower these levels and reduce your chance of developing heart disease. Honey doesn’t only lower bad cholesterol levels; it can also be beneficial in other ways, such as by increasing your heart dilation and oxidative stress.
Helps Wounds Heal
Did you know that ancient Egyptians used honey as a topical ointment for burns and wounds? Some people still use honey today in this manner, especially on incision wounds that have become infected after surgery and diabetic foot ulcers, saving people from losing limbs.
How is this possible? Experts believe that the healing powers of honey come from antibacterial and anti-inflammatory components. You can even use it to treat other skin ailments, like psoriasis.
Honey can also help ease coughing from upper respiratory illnesses, which can be especially beneficial for children. Some over-the-counter cough suppressants have side effects for young children, or children may be too young to take them. However, it’s important to note that children under a year old shouldn’t have honey either due to a botulism risk.
However, there has been evidence that honey actually works better than some medications, reducing cough symptoms and improving sleep.
The health benefits of honey you might not have known are extensive! So how do we get this helpful substance from the beehive and onto our store’s shelves?
Harvesting honey falls on the shoulders of beekeepers to carefully remove honeycombs, created by the colony of bees, keeping themselves safe from stings and protecting the bees, too.
The Beekeepers’ Role
To remove honey from the honeycombs, beekeepers wear protective clothing from head to toe, such as gloves that reach to their elbows and a hat with a special veil that covers the face.
To protect themselves and the hive, the beekeepers will avoid direct contact with bees. Usually, they use a smoker to blow smoke around the hive’s entrance, driving the bees to the bottom of the hive and away from the honey they’re trying to extract.
Wooden frames hold the honeycombs, giving the beekeeper the ability to slide them out of the hive easily. The bees create a wax to hold the honey once the frame is full. To extract the liquid inside, the beekeeper uses a hot knife to slice away the wax, sometimes keeping it to make candles and even beauty products.
Next, the beekeeper extracts the honey with a tool that removes the honey without damaging the frame. After extraction, the worker returns the frame to the hive so the bees can continue their work.
The beekeepers are careful to leave behind enough honey within the honeycombs so the bees have enough food for themselves. After all, bees are an important part of our ecosystems.
After the extracted honey sits for a few days to mature, it’s ready to be bottled and shipped to stores for consumers to purchase and enjoy!
Order Honey Online
Did you know that you can purchase honey online? You find honey and buy natural food online from Sohnrey Family Foods. We’re a family-owned company that produces honey, jams, nuts, and beef jerky, among many other natural foods!