The golden delicious syrup that sends our tastebuds mad. The sweet stickiness that we love to spread on our toast, bananas and biscuits. The natural way to sweeten many of our favorite dishes and drinks such as tea or coffee. For millennia bees have been hard at work keeping nature working as a vital cog in the system, creating one of the best bi-products – Honey!
Honey Bees and Humanity
Humans first started eating honey with their first successful efforts at agriculture. Preserving a food source that would otherwise rot and spoil was a huge step for our ancestors. Stumbling across a bee hive was like treasure for our early ancestors . It was like discovering how to produce gold. From then on, honey mania swept across the globe. We started eating it as a staple food, sweetener, natural medicine and a healing balm for our wounds. It saved countless lives just by being available at all times and became a major source of income for many bee keepers.
The Humble Honey Bee
There exists a strange symbiotic relationship between bees and humans that has evolved over thousands of years. Bees provide us with honey and we provide them with a source of food and shelter. But bees do more than just make honey for us. They pollinate our crops and plants and can be considered as the ‘development’ arm of the economy. Bees help create new agricultural crops and they do this for free! They pollinate countless trees, flowers, vegetables and even some fruits. All of this is done without any form of payment to the beekeepers or farmers.
The Benefits Of Eating Honey
1. Honey for healing
Honey has been used as a healing balm for thousands of years. It is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral and so can be used to help with many minor ailments from colds, flu, indigestion and stomach ulcers. Used as a face mask, honey will help hydrate the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. In modern medicine, Manuka honey is used as an effective antiseptic. It has been shown that honey with a high level of Manuka honey extract killed the MRSA bacteria that can cause fatal infections in humans. Honey is a natural option for treating wounds, cuts and burns without the need for expensive antibiotics.
2. Natural Anti-biotic
Honey is a natural anti-biotic, capable of killing dangerous bacteria in the bloodstream and in hospital patients it has been used to help with digestive problems such as ulcers, gastric ulcers and stomach cancer. It is non-toxic to the body and helps reduce the chance of developing antibiotic resistance.
3. Honey for Weight Loss
Honey has been shown to help with weight loss in many studies. Regulating your blood sugar is one of the most important factors in helping you lose weight. Honey does this by slowing down the absorption of sugar in the small intestine and so stopping it from affecting your blood sugar levels too much. Honey also reduces the amount of fat that your body absorbs from your food.
4. Honey for Energy
As well as being an effective energy booster, honey can help prevent you from crashing after the energy boost drops off very quickly. The natural sugars in honey takes longer to digest and so this leads to a more sustained release of glucose into the blood stream, giving you a more even supply of energy through out the day.
Why You Should Stick To Raw Honey
Eating raw honey is the best way to make sure the nutrients remain in the honey. Too often the high heating process of commercial honey can sometimes enrich the flavour but it will destroy so many nutrients and enzymes available in the honey. By eating raw honey, you also get to keep all of the natural flavours of the honey. The taste of raw honey is very different to commercial honey. It has a very unique flavour not found in imported bottles. There are so many different types of flavours to try depending on which flowers the bees have visited.
How To Choose The Right Honey For You
There are so many different types of bees and each one has a unique flavour that is based on what flowers they visit. The colour of the honey can be an indicator of what flowers the bees have been visiting. The darker the colour, the more health benefiting nutrients that are found in that honey. You can buy raw honey in almost every supermarket but you need to make sure that it is raw and has not been heated. Honey with added flavours is usually heated and filtered to remove any solids left over from the honey.
Manuka Honey – Magical Stuff
Manuka honey is from New Zealand and is one of the most popular for its health benefits. A recent study has shown that the honey from Manuka plants, which is produced by bees foraging for nectar on the Manuka bush, have a bioactive ingredient that can assist with wound healing and help reduce infections. The same study also showed that a certain type of bacteria present in wounds displayed a reduction in growth when exposed to Manuka honey. Manuka honey comes in various grades, depending on how many antibacterial components are found within the honey.