Winnie the Pooh may have been right – there may be more to honey than just a natural way to sweeten foods. According to Mira Ilic, a registered dietitian, the sticky substance could be advantageous to your body.
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The method of producing honey
Bees make honey from nectar they extract from flowers. They carry the nectar back to the hive and vomit it out, and then other bees masticate it until it forms honey. This is then placed in small waxen compartments, referred to as honeycombs, and the bees fan it with their wings to thicken it.
Ilic states that the sweetness of honey is derived from its components, which comprise of two basic sugars, glucose and fructose, as well as certain minerals.
Different sorts of honey
The United States offers more than 300 varieties of honey, which can be purchased.
What is the reason for the difference in color between some honey and other honey?
The shade of honey is influenced by the flowers the honeybees go to for nectar. Ilic explains, “For example, a darker honey is produced when bees take nectar from buckwheat. Additionally, there are indications that darker honey contains more antioxidants and less water than honey with a light hue.”
She points out that honey has a wide range of flavors compared to regular sugar, ranging from sweet to bitter depending on the flower it originates from.
Pale-colored honey types
Honey of a light hue usually has a delicate taste. Types may include:
Different types of dark honey
Honeys with a darker color are famed for their intense tastes. Examples of these include:
Is honey that has been crystallized still safe to eat?
Store honey in a place that is cool and out of direct sunlight. Sometimes, however, it can still become solidified even when stored properly. According to Ilic, the higher amount of glucose compared to fructose will lead to faster crystallization. Additionally, glucose may attach to the small fragments of honeycomb and pollen present in raw honey, making it more prone to crystallizing.
Crystallized honey is still edible and can be used as a spread, similar to butter. To make it liquid again, one can place the container in a bath of warm water.
The advantages of consuming honey
Honey is known to possess antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes that may be beneficial to one’s health. Additionally, research suggests that honey may be useful in various ways.
Ilic states that numerous other affirmations have been made concerning the health advantages of honey, some of which were founded on very limited studies, while others were exaggerations and were based on conflicting research findings. Consequently, further studies are necessary.
Incorporating honey into your daily meals
Despite its health benefits which other sweeteners lack, Ilic warns that honey is still a form of added sugar and consuming it in excess can have an adverse effect on our wellbeing. The American Heart Association suggests:
Ilic stresses that the limits of added sugar in one’s diet should be respected. To stay within those limits, it is best to use honey sparingly. For example, sweetening plain yogurt with a small amount of honey and adding one’s own fruit is a better alternative than eating flavored yogurt with too much added sugar. Additionally, honey can be used in sauces, marinades, and as a face mask.
If you plan on using honey for medicinal purposes, it is best to consult with your health care provider beforehand.
Ilic’s initial suggestion? Opt for honey that doesn’t come in a miniature plastic teddy bear. This kind of honey has been processed and is not as beneficial as other types.
She states that the more transparent the honey, the more processed it is, thus suggesting that raw honey is a better choice. This is because raw honey is not heated, and therefore is likely to contain pollen and more enzymes. While pollen may have beneficial properties, it does make honey appear murkier.
If you’re getting honey from a nearby seller, she suggests inquiring as well.
Ilic warns that simply having an “organic” label does not guarantee that the honey is of high quality or better for you. He clarifies that bees may travel a few miles to forage on plants that have been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides and even organic honey may have been subjected to ultra-pasteurization.