What are the Benefits of Honey: 5 Properties
Honey has a straightforward composition: 80% sugar and 20% water. At the same time, the product contains many essential vitamins and nutrients for the body. However, its benefits are often overstated.
In ancient times, people considered honey food worthy of gods and kings. It is found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, and such finds, as a rule, can be eaten after thousands of years. What is the secret?
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What is Honey
Honey is essentially sugar diluted with water. A sweet, syrupy liquid is produced by honey bees and some related insects (such as wasps).
Mentions of honey are found among the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Hindus, and Chinese. According to the Old Testament, Israel is “the land of honey and milk.” According to the New Testament, “honey and locusts” ate in the desert, John the Baptist.
This product symbolizes immortality and fertility; it was not for nothing that it was called either the “food of the gods” or the “elixir of life.” The ancient Greeks believed that bees collect honey from the morning dew. The Romans added honey to wine during fermentation.
In the Middle Ages, this product was endowed with limitless properties. So, according to the author of The History of Bees (1623), Charles Butler, this product can cope with any misfortune – from the bite of a rabid dog to open wounds – and almost return a person from the next world.
Before the invention of apiaries, beekeeping flourished – the extraction of honey from wild bees living in trees’ hollows. It was one of the essential branches of the state economy, the products were exported, but by the 17th century, the industry died out by itself due to the cutting down of trees. Today, wild bee trees are preserved only in the mysterious forests of Bashkortostan.
Benefits of Honey: 5 Properties
Honey strengthens the immune system, rich in plant compounds beneficial to health – polyphenols. It contains ascorbic and folic acids and several vitamins; however, you must overeat honey to get enough of them.
Remember: honey can cause allergies. Also, the product is not recommended for people with diabetes and gastrointestinal diseases in the acute stage.
1. Fights Aging
Honey contains a lot of antioxidants that help cells in the human body recover, slow down the aging process, strengthen the immune system, etc. The product contains beneficial plant compounds such as flavonoids and phenolic acids. They protect body cells from damage by free radicals.
2. Helps Control Blood Sugar
Researchers have found that honey can increase adiponectin levels. This hormone balances fats and carbohydrates in the body and increases insulin sensitivity in cells. Scientists noted that daily consuming the product on an empty stomach can improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, for all its advantages over refined sugar, honey should still be consumed carefully and in moderation.
3. Beneficial effect on the health of the cardiovascular system
Honey helps to lower blood pressure, normalize the heartbeat, and positively affects blood cholesterol – all these are essential factors for the health of the heart and blood vessels. In addition, propolis can improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Honey helps to protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative stress, which negatively affects its work. However, the study has been conducted only on rats.
4. Promotes Wound Healing
The inhabitants of Ancient Egypt made bandages with honey on the places of wounds and burns. Modern research confirms that the product is effective in healing minor burns and caring for postoperative wounds. Honey helps treat trophic foot ulcers, which are considered one of the complications of diabetes mellitus. Scientists attribute the healing properties of honey to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
5. It May Help Suppress Coughs in Children
Honey helps reduce the duration and intensity of coughing in children, including at night, improving their sleep quality while having no side effects. However, honey should not be given to infants under one year of age due to the risk of botulism.
Allergy can be a contraindication for the use of honey. With caution and in small quantities, it can be eaten by people with obesity and diabetes.
Honey in Cooking
Honey is added to yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, and cocktails and is also used in baking and added to the meat.
We offer a simple recipe for a milkshake with cherries, yogurt, and honey. For one serving, you will need 100 ml of milk, 100 mg of yogurt, 45 g of cherries, and 1 tbsp.
A spoonful of honey and a few coconut flakes – for decoration. Defrost the berries; if necessary, get the seeds. Puree the cherries, add the rest of the ingredients and mix in a blender. You need to beat until airy foam appears.
How to Choose and Store Honey: Tips From a Beekeeper
Bee honey is a flower and honeydew. The taste and color of the product depend on many factors, including the characteristics of the hives and the weather. It is better to prefer honey in combs – this guarantees its naturalness.
“Bad honey” is given out by color (gray shade, unnatural color) and consistency (presence of sediment). It is sour or too sugary in taste, often with an off-flavor (such as berry) flavor.
Sugaring is a natural process that does not deprive the honey of beneficial properties and is not a sign that it is spoiled. Natural honey can be stored on a shelf or in a refrigerator at −6 to 20°C. The warmer the room, the slower crystallization occurs. However, different varieties have their own speed of sugaring. So, acacia honey will remain liquid for a long time, and linden honey will thicken quite quickly.
Honey can be stored for centuries, but for this, you need to follow simple rules. In addition to the temperature regime, keeping the product in a dish made of wood (linden or beech, not needles), glass, food-grade plastic, or clay is essential. A more expensive option is wax barrels.
Keep moisture out of the honey. Otherwise, it will ferment. For this reason, it is not recommended to scoop it with a spoon from a large jar. In addition, honey does not like sunlight – because of this, it loses its beneficial properties. Store it in a dark place, such as a kitchen cabinet on a covered shelf.