Honey, probably one of the sweetest foods since time immemorial, is known for its health benefits by different communities around the world. This golden liquid can be found in any part of the world, since its maker, the bees, can easily make honey during their when searching for nectar in flowers. In addition, in ancient times, honey was used as a trading commodity, and it was a valuable food, being used as an ingredient to make drinks and a s food sweetener in sauces, and was known to be the ‘nectar of the gods’.
However, today, much of the honey comes both in raw and pasteurized forms. Raw honey, usually dark, is pricier than pasteurized honey. In addition, raw honey may contain traces of wax, yeast and pollen which may be harmful to the body, triggering allergy reactions in the long run. Raw honey is harvested directly from the hives, packed into bottles and sold to consumers.
Pasteurized honey, heated and processed to get rid of impurities, is mostly light colored or golden amber. Additionally, pasteurized honey has a longer shelf life unlike raw honey and is mostly used as an alternative to using refined sugar in most recipes, giving more healthy treats at the end of the day.
Healthy Facts about Honey
Raw Honey is an Excellent Cough Medicine
Raw honey is high in demulcent, which is a compound that helps in relieving the irritation caused by flu in the mouth and throat by a forming a protective film on this body parts. It is also high in dextromethorphan, a compound synonymous with cough syrups that helps in soothing coughs and sleep related difficulties, arising from infections on the upper respiratory tract, common in children.
Honey Can Treat Wounds
Before the invention of penicillin in the early 20th century, honey was used as an antibacterial and antifungal compound when it came to healing wounds, skin rashes among other serious skin infections. The hydrogen peroxide found in honey, is used in an enzymatic process to help in healing of external wounds and ulcers in the stomach.
Boosts the Energy Levels in the Body
In addition to getting goods amount of sleep, honey plays part in ensuring that its consumers get boundless amounts of energy levels after waking up and when consumed during the day. It helps the body produce high amounts of energy over a long duration, making it a time released fuel in the long run.
Honey Helps in Dealing with Allergies
Honey contains little amounts of pollen that can help in fixing running nose and itchy eyes when the allergy season hits. This is because, the body will produce some antibodies, at the slightest taste of pollen, making the body to produce a natural defense mechanism around itself, time and again.
Quick Tips in Using Honey as a Sweetener
- Honey can be used in dressings, marinades or sauces.
- Stir honey in tea or coffee.
- Drizzle some honey on pancakes or toast.
- Use honey as sweetener on yoghurt, oatmeal or cereal.
- Spread natural honey on whole grain bread, toping it up with butter.
Why Use Honey As Natural Sweetener Other than Refined Sugar
To begin with, honey has only 75% of sugars which are vital for the body. They are glucose and fructose, and the 25% is made up of proteins, omega-6 fatty acids, water and traces of fiber while refined sugar is 100% sucrose, which is the leading cause of diabetes in the world.
Secondly, floral honeys have low hypoglycemic levels, which helps in combating high blood glucose in the consumers, making it an excellent choice for those with diabetes. Refined sugar is thin and can be easily absorbed into the blood, making it the body have low insulin resistance.
Thirdly, the antioxidants found in sugar have a number of implications on one’s health. Antioxidants are associated with lowering heart diseases in humans. Refined sugar do not contain any nutritional value in the body, and is merely a leading source of toxins in the blood.
Last but not least, although honey has various amounts of vitamins and minerals, it should not be consumed sparingly as a sweetener because of the high calorie levels it has, but not as high as those found in refined sugar.
Arguments Against Honey Consumption
Moderate Consumption of Honey
Despite having a variety of healthy attributes related to it, it’s important to understand that honey contain high levels of fructose, which can exacerbate the pre-existing resistance to insulin, wreaking havoc if consumed in excess.
Honey Reduces Insulin Resistance in the Blood
When consuming honey and you are under medication due to high blood sugar, you are basically reducing insulin sensitivity, worsening the insulin resistance in the body in the long run.
Raw Honey Is High In Toxins
A bacteria by the name clostridium, is found in honey and if consumed in large quantities by children under one year of age, they are most likely to develop infant botulism. This leads to gastrointestinal complications in children at this tender age.
Cooked Honey Is Sometimes Dangerous
Honey, heated above 108 degrees Fahrenheit, is basically a glue like substance which is difficult to digest. It’s basically a toxin that sticks to the body tissues making it very difficult to remove it from the intestinal linings.
Beware of Fake Honey
Fake honey is characterized by lacking much of the beneficial properties that come with natural honey. In addition, it’s hidden among the processed or pasteurized honey with improper ingredient stickers attached to the honey jars. Many countries in Europe have ruled out that many fake honeys come from untrusted sources and contain impurities that pose health risks on the consumers.
Bottom line is that honey is more beneficial to the body, compared to consuming refined sugar. However, it is important to check the quantities one is consuming, so as to avoid sugar related complications such as high blood sugar in the long run. If you are confident enough, you can easily add honey to the food you are preparing, substituting sugar with it hence exercising your cooking mastery. There are a variety of honey related recipes