Wellness: The Benefits of Honey
Indeed it is the new ‘buzz word’ but is honey as sweet for our health as claimed? Would you hesitate to put a spoonful containing around 63 calories in your mouth? If you are reluctant then think again as it can actually aid weight loss and has other hidden qualities. So let’s get on some gear and go exploring that beehive.
Honey bees are rather amazing creatures and they can fly up to six miles without stopping. They collect pollen and nectar and then pass duties on to the worker bees. Worker bees complete the process and the finished product is in a jar waiting to be consumed.
Why eat honey?
The first thing is very likely the convenience of it. There is no preparation required and it tastes delicious on bread, toast and in porridge. Secondly, people are becoming increasingly aware of how good it actually is for us. Thirdly, it is a completely natural product in a society bombarded with processed food.
Here in Britain we consume an amazing 35,000 tonnes per year. Although some honey is produced here the amount is limited due to our unpredictable climate.
The caloric content in honey should not be too worrying unless you are on a strict calorie controlled diet. It contains 69% of glucose and fructose but is better for your health than white sugar – despite honey having a higher calorie content.
Why is honey so beneficial to us? For starters as it is natural it is easy for the body to digest and it regulates the amount of insulin in the body which maintains blood sugar levels. Many of us may feel a loss of energy after a while if we have eaten a chocolate bar as the sugar rush wears off – honey will keep that in balance.
Can honey cure hay fever?
Do you suffer from irritated eyes and sneezing during the summer months? There is a solution to hay fever. It has been discovered that if you consume locally produced honey found at the farmers market, for example, then this will actually boost your immunity. This is because it is from the regional flowers which the bees feed upon.
Here at i the stylist we are very much aware of readers’ concerns with maintaining a healthy weight for the sake of fitting into our favourite outfits (shallow, we know). However, we must also be aware of the risk of heart disease and the onset of diabetes type 2. Honey can provide something rather smart – mixed with hot water it helps to eliminate the fat stored in the body.
Honey vs bacteria
Many of us worry about bacterial contamination and for good reason. It is known that unfortunately our hospitals are a place of risk to us all. Scientists are experimenting with honey to find cures for bacterial infections, fungal infections and even the fatal MRSA. This research is very significant and implies the far reaching qualities of this amazing natural food.
If you have been in your local health food shop recently you may have noticed something called Manuka honey. This honey is from New Zealand and it has been found to possess a special component called ‘methylglyoxal’. There is much hype surrounding this honey and it is not cheap. Before you go out and purchase a jar consider this: there is no scientific evidence to support the theory that this honey is superior and the same goes for organic brands.
So this means we can basically go to our local supermarket and find a good enough honey which will help us to lose weight, maintain blood sugar levels and boost our immune systems. It seems too good to be true almost and better yet it does wonders for our complexion combating the free radicals that can cause premature ageing.
So is all honey good honey?
Honey was discovered 2500 years ago and there is almost no part of the world where honey is not used. We continue to discover how useful and versatile it is. Factors which may affect the quality of it include the blending process, the storage conditions and the temperature of heating.
So, how can we recognise a good quality jar of honey then? Well it seems that the honey lighter in colour is of better value than the darker stuff which becomes that colour due to storage and heating.
So let’s be appreciative and awe struck by the masters of this almost scared food production – our wonderful honey bees. They say in the environmental and scientific worlds that the health of our bees can reflect our very own health. In recent years there seem to be less bees and we often witness them lying on the ground unable to fly. Pesticides are the cause of this and should make us question what we are eating and how it may affect us. We can all play a role in helping the bees by donating to bee keeping associations and planting bee friendly flowers for our garden.