Published: 01/21/2014 - Updated: 07/26/2017
Honey is not only a sweetener, it is also an antiseptic and great source of vitamins. You might have heard that honey is beneficial for consumption, but the benefits do not end there, honey can even be used topically (applied to the skin).
If honey is not collected and preserved properly, it may not preserve its medicinal properties and therefore it is very important that its extraction and handling is done with care.
Honey should be collected by pressing or centrifugation and then heated to a temperature below 45°C with the intention of filtering impurities, thus it will crystallise quickly and ensuring a high quality product.
Its tone may be an indicator of a honey's composition: The darker honeys have more vitamins and minerals, like vitamin B and C. This is recommended for anemic and convalescent people, as it helps increase the hemoglobin level.
Honey as food
Today honey is considered a nutritious food that contains niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B complex, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. What's more, it has also been found to contain antioxidants.
According to a recent study by the University of California, adding 4 tablespoons of honey daily in your diet can increase the amount of antioxidants in the blood.
Types of Honey
The colour and flavour of honey are determined by the source of the nectar that bees collect. In fact there are around 300 known kinds of honey. When honey is darker, it tends to have a more intense flavor and when its colour is lighter, its flavor is usually also softer.
Among the most common types of honey are alfalfa, blueberry, avocado, eucalyptus, orange blossom, tupelo and cascarillo clover honey.
Benefits of honey
Honey consumption and topical application has many benefits:
- It is expectorant, helping to expel phlegm and useful for respiratory diseases.
- Increases the body's defenses.
- It promotes good digestion, good intestinal transit and assists in the treatment of gastric ulcers.
- If ingested days before the menstrual period, it can help prevent colic.
- Helps the menopause, stimulating the production of hormones.
- Has emollient and antibiotic properties.
- A source of good quality carbohydrates, which give a lot of energy. Some athletes use it to improve their performance.
- Applied to wounds, it promotes good healing and prevents infection.
- It is a moisturiser that attracts and retains moisture, so is a great ingredient to include in face masks and skin care products.
- A popular remedy for insomnia is to dissolve a teaspoon of bee honey dissolved in a cup of warm milk and drink it before going to bed. You can also use a cup of milk, warm it, add a little orange blossom and sweeten with a little honey.
- If you have dry cough and sore throat, two tablespoons of honey with fresh lemon juice can help you fight these symptoms.
- Taking two tablespoons of honey in a cup of warm water while fasting can help fight constipation.
- For gastric ulcers, and gastrointestinal function, we recommend taking a spoonful of honey on an empty stomach and swallowing slowly.
Honey or sugar?
When it comes to sweetening with honey or sugar, experts recommend the first option. The reason is that refined sugar does not contain other elements such as vitamins and nutritional properties which the honey does have. In addition, honey is a third sweeter than refined sugar. In either case, remember to moderate your intake, since both provide quite a lot of calories.