Nowadays, there are few people who can really enjoy the benefits of natural honey. Unfortunately, counterfeits abound, which instead of providing health to our body, harm us, as all artificial foods do.
Natural honey is one that has not been subjected to any process, unlike industrial honey, which is pasteurized. Pasteurization prevents crystallization, but also drastically reduces the quality of the honey, since in the process most enzymes, antioxidants and other beneficial properties such as its antibiotic action are annulled.
Honey has an unusual chemical composition that keeps it fresh indefinitely without spoiling (as seen in jars recovered from Egyptian tombs). It is particularly low in humidity and extremely acid, which makes it an inhospitable territory for bacteria and microorganisms.
On the other hand, bees add an enzyme, glucose oxidase, which creates hydrogen peroxide as a by-product.
The most common composition of honey is:
|Water||14 – 22%|
|Fructose||28 – 44%|
|Glucose||22 – 40%|
|Saccharose||0,2 – 7%|
|Maltose||2 – 16%|
|Other Sugars||0,1 – 8%|
|Proteins and Amino Acids||0,2 – 2%|
|Vitamins, enzymes, hormones,
organic acids and others
|0,5 – 1%|
|Minerals||0,5 – 1,5%|
|Ashes||0,2 – 1,0%|
The frequent minerals in the Natural Honey are: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus and potassium. Also present around half of the existing amino acids, organic acids (acetic acid, citric acid, among others) and vitamins of the B complex, vitamin C, D and E.
Honey also has a considerable variety of antioxidants (flavonoids and phenolics).
The color of honey varies between different types
The color of honey is determined, mainly, by the floral source; however, it has not been possible to identify exactly which agents are responsible for imparting the color to the nectar and later to the honey.
Anyways, it is known that in addition to the minerals obtained from the soil, pigments of vegetable origin can contribute to the color of honey.
Besides being a food, honey can be used in many ways to benefit our health
Thanks to its multiple qualities, honey has been used as a medicinal remedy for millennia, besides having a delicious flavor and used to sweeten all kinds of foods.
Dr. Ron Fessenden, a retired physician and chairman of the Committee for Honey and Health in the United States (a non-profit organization), is an expert on the physiological benefits of honey. In one of his many lectures he reported on the properties of honey, such as regulating blood sugar, reducing metabolic stress and promote sleep recovery.
Natural honey has many benefits for our health, not other types of honey adulterated, mixed or that have been subjected to high temperatures.
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Benefits of Natural Honey that you will never find in the fake one
After finding out about some of the benefits that honey gives us, you will no longer have excuses not to include it in your shopping list.
Honey regulates blood sugar
It seems counterintuitive that honey regulates blood sugar. But the secret of their ability to do so is in the balance of fructose and glucose.
When honey is consumed, the fructose portion allows glucose to be taken up by the liver to form glycogen, which becomes available to the brain, heart, kidneys and red blood cells. This improves the functioning of essential organs and tissues, eliminating glucose from the circulation and therefore reducing blood sugar.
Studies have shown that honey does not increase blood sugar or insulin levels, producing more glycogen per gram of honey than any other food.
The consumption of natural honey reduces metabolic stress
All stress, whether emotional, psychological or physiological, is translated into the body as metabolic stress.
One function of the adrenal gland is to produce adrenaline and cortisol, which stimulates the breakdown of muscle protein into amino acids to make new sugars. This occurs when the brain thinks it is in danger of “running out of fuel”, for example when doing physical exercise or during nighttime sleep.
Natural honey produces glycogen in the liver, which is the reserve of energy needed by the brain for normal functioning.
We will have sufficient reserves of glycogen if we consume natural honey at breakfast, before bedtime and at regular intervals throughout the day (especially before and after exercise). These glycogen stores in the liver will prevent the release of stress hormones.
Natural honey promotes sleep recovery
If we consume honey before going to bed, we store glycogen in the liver, which will supply it to the blood when the brain needs it, preventing it from triggering the crisis when it detects low levels of glycogen.
In addition, consuming natural honey stimulates nighttime relaxation and sleep.
The natural sugar contained in honey produces a slight secretion of insulin, which permits tryptophan to enter the brain more easily and thus allow the secretion of melatonin, a hormone vital for the daily regulation of sleep-wake.
Therefore it is highly recommended to consume a spoonful of honey with a glass of warm milk (containing tryptophan) before bedtime, to have a good night’s sleep.
Melatonin also regulates cardiac rhythms, helps improve immunity and facilitates the reconstruction of tissues during the night.
Dr. Fessenden recommends 3 to 5 tablespoons of honey per day, without side effects, risks or negative health consequences.
Honey as a treatment for constipation
Honey has a high content of fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which although they have a mainly energetic function, when they reach the colon they behave in a similar way to vegetable fiber, capturing the water and increasing the volume of the feces, as well as causing gases that increase the peristalsis or intestinal mobility. So they exert a mild laxative effect.
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Natural honey improves brain function
Having a healthy brain and functioning properly is one of the goals of a human being. How to get it, is a more complicated issue. We need to supply it with the energy it needs for a good performance of its cells.
The function of calcium in the brain is highly important, since neurons use calcium to originate the electrical signal, which is conducted from one neuron to another to communicate the messages. If there is not enough calcium, the brain will not work properly.
There is scientific information that has shown that natural honey helps to absorb and fix the calcium in the body, favoring a correct brain function.
Besides helping our brain, being an excellent recalcifier, it also helps to prevent osteoporosis and bone problems.
Effective for acne and other skin problems
Most people suffer from acne at least once in their life. The most common causes are hormonal imbalance and bacteria in the skin.
Some natural remedies provide antibacterial coverage comparable to that of commercial products, with the advantage that they are better tolerated than conventional chemical agents. Among these natural remedies, honey is one of the best options for the acne treatment caused by bacteria.
How does honey treat acne?
As an antimicrobial agent, honey acts through various mechanisms:
- Deprives microbes of the moisture they need to survive.
- Acts as a chelating agent, altering the cellular processes of the bacterial ones that require iron.
- The bees also add an enzyme called glucose oxidase. When applying honey on the wound, this enzyme produces the local release of hydrogen peroxide. This peroxide behaves similarly to the popular acne medication, benzoyl peroxide, breaking the cell walls of bacteria.
- Reduces the pH of the surface of the skin on which it is applied. Honey has a pH between 3.2 and 4.5. This acidity level is enough to kill most microbes.
Consuming honey from the place where we live, two months before the bloom of the area, can decrease allergies.
Bees carry pollen from flowers that worsen seasonal allergies and part of this pollen is incorporated into honey. Consuming natural honey from the area before the allergy season, can help the body accept pollen without rejection and make the allergy go away.
Helps to heal wounds, eczema, burns and ulcers
The antibacterial property of honey allows to prevent the infection of burns or minor wounds. The density of honey protects against bacteria and dirt that could enter the wound. To avoid infection, honey should be applied on the cut or wound and covered with a bandage.
In the case of eczema, mix honey with baking soda obtaining a smooth paste. Then, apply on the affected area and let stand for 5 minutes. Rinse with water and dry carefully.
Repeat the process two or three times daily until obtaining the desired results.
Dry skin remedy
Honey is an excellent ingredient to use in the bath thanks to its healing and softening properties. It can be applied directly on the rough skin, or dissolve the honey in water and add the mixture in the bath water.
Helps to regulate the hormonal processes of the menstrual cycle
Honey stimulates the production of omega – 6 fatty acid, which regulates the hormonal processes in our body.
Stimulant of the immune system
Honey has antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it ideal for stimulating the immune system, not only when it is ingested, but also when it is applied topically on the skin.
These properties help clean wounds and cuts and keep them free of infection, making it an excellent natural antiseptic.
As we can see, the benefits of natural honey are numerous, not to mention those related to beauty tips.
Scientific research is still being carried out because it is thought that there are more important benefits that have not yet been corroborated.
Honey contains a natural presence of botulism soaks, therefore children under one year old should not eat honey. At twelve months of age, a child’s intestinal tract is not mature enough to inhibit the development of Clostridium botulinum, which is usually found in honey. No kind of honey should be given to babies under one year of age.
Study confirms that 76% of honey is false and toxic to health
Although the use of honey has been promoted for numerous ailments, a study by the University of Texas A & M showed that 76 percent of traded honeys are altered and ultra-refined in order to eliminate impurities and pollen.
This means that by converting honey into ultra refined, vitamins, amino acids, minerals and, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties characteristic of honey, are also eliminated.
That is to say, the greater amount of honey that is sold is adulterated, reason why not only it loses its quality, also it costs more expensive.
In the words of the president of the American Association of Honey Producers, Mark Jensen: “These honeys were produced illegally and their pollen has been removed so they can not trace their origin”; According to this, in the market, there are mostly adulterated honeys, mixtures of honey with glucose and water solutions.
On the other hand, the research of the University of Texas A & M, led by Vaughn Bryant, showed that: “A honey that does not contain honey in its composition can not be considered honey since it loses all the nutritious and healthy properties. For this reason the amount of pollen has been analyzed to determine the quality of the honey under examination”.
According to Bryant, in the case of small businesses, 76% of the products do not contain pollen; in department stores, 77%; in pharmacies and fast food restaurants, 100%.
So, the honey that is consumed in these places has gone through a process called “ultrafine”, which consists of heating the honey at high temperatures, passing it through very fine filters and adulterating it with water to get more quantity to sell.
Throughout these filters the pollen stays and with it, each of the nutritional or healing properties of honey. In other words, honey becomes a simple sweetener.
To recognize if honey is pure, it is important that:
- In the labeling there is no word “glucose”, “glucose syrup” or other additive used to stretch the honey and prevent it from solidifying.
- By putting a drop of honey on the thumb, it stays there without dripping.
- Empty a spoonful of honey into a glass with water and it falls to the bottom of the glass, instead of dissolving when it is false.
- It is caramelized if it is placed in a container in the microwave, instead of the false one that becomes foam filled with bubbles.
- Crystallizes or the mass solidifies with the passage of time, whereas the adulterated one remains liquid as the first day.
In case the honey is altered, it is a toxic food for consumption.
In fact, it is suspected that some of these ultrafine honeys contain illegal antibiotics and are contaminated with heavy metals that can have serious effects on health.
For this reason it is recommended to consume the honey that comes from local farmers markets, health food stores or as well as those that are labeled as “organic products”.
Here are some of the best raw honey brands that are organic and unprocessed that you can buy from Amazon: