by Sharon Quercioli
Why is Honey Good For You?
When I think of honey, I think one of my favorite things: a cup of tea with a teaspoon of raw honey. Yum! Let me share with you a few of the important things about honey. One of the most common uses for raw honey (other than just to sweeten foods) is for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This is because the bees add an enzyme that makes a natural hydrogen peroxide from the honey. So, raw honey is one of the best natural antibiotics you can use.
Honey can also increase your performance when it comes to athletics and physically straining activities. Olympic athletes would eat figs and honey to heighten their performance before their events. Studies have shown that honey can help maintain your glycogen levels and can help improve your recovery time (in comparison to other types of sweeteners). Speaking of which…
Despite the fact that it contains simple sugars, honey can help regulate your blood sugar. It isn’t the same as the sugars that you find in white sugar or synthetic and artificial sweeteners. This makes honey a great option for people who have difficulty regulating their blood sugar but love to lightly sweeten their drinks and treats.
If you use honey as an external application for wounds and burns, it is a great way to dry out a wound while also treating the wound with its antibacterial qualities.
Types of Honey
Did you know that there are over 40 different types of honey and each one has different properties and there are even variations of flavor? As a general rule, darker honey varieties have a higher level of antioxidants, and mono-floral honeys (honeys that come from only one species of plant) have the lowest glycemic index.
Manuka honey, which is produced by importing European honeybees that harvest pollen from the Manuka tree, grows wild throughout Australia and New Zealand. The Manuka tree also known as Tea Tree (of which I use tea tree oil for all kinds of things) produces small white flowers that have an earthy, herbaceous taste associated with Manuka honey.
Manuka honey is a powerful antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent that kills antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Honey has been used medicinally for thousands of years in ancient Greece, in India with Ayurveda, and in China for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Western culture has always seen it as a health food, but its medicinal properties, especially the Manuka honey, is considered one of the most potent. In fact, we are just starting to understand its amazing healing potential. Licensed manufacturers of Manuka honey now have a labeling system known as Unique Manuka Factor, which lets you know the potency and strength of the product.
If you’re looking at honey to be an alternative form of sweetener, instead of cane sugar, you will want to choose a mono-floral honey. An example of the differences is honey from a Black Locust tree. This type of honey has a glycemic index of 32, while clover honey (which is what you see most in the grocery stores) has the highest glycemic index, which is 69.
It is important to note right up front that you should not give honey to an infant because their immune and digestive systems are still developing. Should the honey have botulism in it, their little bodies aren’t quite ready to fight it off like that of a child or adult.
So get yourself some raw honey and try it out. It is amazing!
My Favorite Honey Recipe
Around my house, we like the taste of natural sugars that don’t spike our blood sugar. I love baking or making dessert recipes that don’t require a lot of sugar and simple carbohydrates. I like to save my sugar intake for sweet tea. Besides that, having a light dessert for the upcoming warm months is a good plan.
This is my recipe for sugar and wheat free date squares. If you are looking for something that is healthy and sweet, without all of the simple carbs that would drag your energy level down, why not give this a try.
Sugar and Wheat – Free Date Squares
What you’re going to need:
- Finely chopped large apple (make sure it is organic)
- Two cups of chopped dates
- A cup of water
- Half of a lemon, juice only
- Half of a cup of coconut oil
- A third of a cup of honey
- A teaspoon of salt
- One and three-quarter cups of rolled oats
- A fourth of a cup of potato flour
- Three-quarters of a cup of brown rice flour
What you need to do with these things:
- Preheat the oven for about 400 degrees.
- Soften chopped apples by simmering them in water until they are soft
- Add some dates and wait until they are soft
- Mash the dates and apples together
- Add the lemon juice
- Set everything aside and get another bowl
- In that bowl, mix in the coconut oil, honey and the salt together
- Add and mix in the oats.
- Place and pat down around two thirds of the mixture into a 8” by 8” pan.
- Layer in the date apple mixture.
- Place the rest of the oat mixture on top of the date apple mixture.
- Press down gently
- Bake for approximately a half an hour.
I have also attached an article written by Helen Nichols from Well-Being Secrets entitled “21 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Honey” that you should check out here: http://www.well-beingsecrets.com/health-benefits-of-honey-ultimate-guide/.