The Sweet Health Benefits of Honey
Who says living a healthy lifestyle needs to be bitter? If you’re looking to begin your wellness journey but don’t want to sacrifice your sweet tooth, you might find the answer among the bees.
Bees make the sticky gold-colored liquid we’ve come to know as honey. You might have seen it used as a topping for toast or as a companion with tea with lemon, but where does it come from? What are the health benefits?
Making honey is a team effort among the bees. Worker honey bees begin the process by visiting between 50 and 100 flowers to collect nectar. Using their long straw-like tongue, they suck the nectar from the flowers and into their second stomach called a “crop.” There, the nectar breaks down from complex sugars into more simple sugars that are less likely to crystalize and turn solid. The worker bee then returns to the colony and transfers the nectar to a house bee, who packs it away into hexagon-shaped honey cells. The house bee then dries the packed honey using its wings and seals the cell with fresh beeswax. Bees stockpile honey to use as food during the cold winter months when blooming flowers become scarce.
So what can honey do for people? Although honey does contain sugar, it is also a natural source of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, iron, zinc, and antioxidants. Honey has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties, and is a healthier sweetening option than sugar because it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels as quickly. Its sweeter taste also means it can be used in smaller quantities than sugar without sacrificing flavor.
Studies have suggested that honey shows promising results as a cough suppressant. Antioxidants in honey also have the potential to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Some data also indicates that honey can be used effectively as an aid in healing wounds, burns, and other topical ailments.
Over 300 varieties of honey exist, often deriving their name from the flower its nectar came from. Because most pasteurized honey tastes similarly, it is most important to know that you are buying raw, unfiltered honey if you’d like to reap the health benefits. Ideally, You should aim to buy honey directly from the farmer or beekeeper if you can. If not, you’ll still want to make sure the honey you’re buying is legit and free of unhealthy additives. Avoid any honey labeled as “ultrafiltrated.” Know that honey labeled as “pure.” has no legal significance, and instead look for the label “True Source Certified.” True Source Honey independently verifies the ethical origins of honey so you can savor the healthy sweetness without being deceived.