Honey Benefits For Health
Honey has been used by countless cultures all around the world over the past 2,500 years. While the numerous health benefits of honey have made it an important element of traditional medicines such as Ayurvedic treatments, scientists are also researching the benefits in relation to modern medicine, particularly in the healing of wounds.
It is known as Honig in German, Miele in Italian, Shahad in Hindi, Miel in French and Spanish, Mel in Portuguese, мед in Russian, Honing in Dutch, and μελι in Greek; there is almost no part in the world where honey is not widely used and celebrated as a part of the cultural diet.
But what makes honey so popular? Most likely, it is the ease with which it can be consumed. One can eat it directly, put it on bread like a jam, mix it with juice or any drink instead of sugar, or mix it with warm water, lime juice, cinnamon, and other herbs to make a medicine. It is savored by all due to its taste as well as health benefits, making it extremely useful and versatile.
Honey Health Benefits
Its benefits include the following treatments, taken from both traditional and modern medical experts.
According to the USDA, honey contains about 64 calories per tablespoon. Therefore, it is used by many people as a source of energy. On the other hand, one tablespoon of sugar will give you about 15 calories. Furthermore, the carbohydrates in it can be easily converted into glucose, since it is very simple for the body to digest this pure and natural substance.
It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so it is often used as a natural antiseptic in traditional medicines.
Milk and honey are often served together since both of these ingredients help in creating smooth, beautiful skin. Consuming this combination every morning is a common practice in many countries for this very reason.
Though it has more calories than sugar when consumed with warm water, honey helps in digesting the fat stored in your body. Similarly, honey with lemon juice or cinnamon helps in reducing weight.
Rich in Vitamins & Minerals
It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. The type of vitamins and minerals and their quantity depends on the type of flowers used for apiculture. Commonly, honey contains vitamin C, calcium, and iron. If you check the vitamin and mineral content in regular sugar from any other source, you will find it completely insignificant.
Improves Athletic Performance
Recent research has shown that honey is an excellent ergogenic aid and helps in boosting the performance of athletes. It is a great way to maintain blood sugar levels, muscle recuperation, and glycogen restoration after a workout, as well as regulate the amount of insulin in the body.
It can be used as a substitute for sugar in many foods and drinks. It contains about 69% glucose and fructose, enabling it to be used as a sweetener which is far better for your overall health than normal white sugar. These are all amazing health benefits of honey.
What is Organic Honey?
Some people have the opinion that all honey available in the market is natural and obtained from the wild. Others feel that during its production carried out on chemically sprayed farms it can get contaminated with the pesticides sprayed on the crops and weeds.
However, the truth is that the bees may also get affected by the extensive pesticide usage which goes on in the chemically treated farms. This issue is so severe that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, warned Barack Obama in May 2013 that if the excessive use of pesticides is not reduced, it could lead to a globally volatile situation as the bee population throughout the world may become more and more affected. If pesticides can kill the bees, how can they not affect the honey produced by these bees? Moreover, non-organic production involves antibiotics for controlling diseases. It should also be noted that so far, there is no scientific proof that organic honey is healthier than non-organic.
Then why should you eat organic honey? Well, many people prefer to be cautious. Most of our decisions are based on our beliefs and conscience. Since organic production involves following stringent guidelines, people feel secure when they eat organic type as compared to when they eat non-organic. Given below are some of the ways in which pesticide and antibiotic contamination of honey can take place:
Contamination of Honey
It can be contaminated with the pesticides sprayed on crops through one or more of the following ways:
- In some cases, when the plants and weeds containing flowers have been sprayed with pesticides, the bees are poisoned too.
- At times, the pesticide is sprayed on the bees directly.
- In many cases, the bees collect nectar and pollen that has been contaminated with pesticides.
- When pesticides are sprayed, part of the amount is accumulated in the water on or near the plants. When the bees drink this water, they are also affected.
- On some occasions, the pesticide gets sprayed on the beehives or gets transported to it from the sprayed plants.
Residues of Antibiotics
Conventional bees are given large doses of antibiotics to protect them from diseases, but unfortunately, the honey also becomes contaminated with these antibiotics. In 2002, samples of Chinese honey were tested for the presence of antibiotics in Europe. Several samples were found to contain traces of antibiotics, which led to a ban on the imports of Chinese honey in Europe. The ban was later removed in 2004 due to improvements in Chinese veterinary standards and imports of honey from China were resumed.
What leads to this antibiotics contamination? Unlike organic production, conventional honey production does not involve stringent guidelines for the quantity and mode of transmission of antibiotics to the bees. As a result, apiculturists have a free hand when using these antibiotics. When farmers use excessive quantities of antibiotics the chance of contamination increases.
What is the problem with residues of antibiotics being found in honey? The antibiotics given to the bees are veterinary antibiotics such as chloramphenicol, streptomycin, and sulfonamides. Large doses of chloramphenicol administered into the human beings may cause cancer and aplastic anemia. Similarly, high doses of streptomycin and sulfonamides are harmful too.
Many countries have not banned the use of these harmful drugs in apiculture. The EU has banned all three while the US has only banned chloramphenicol till date.