A Closer Look at Honey

Honey is an ancient remedy and a natural sweetener. It’s been used to treat ailments such as cough, asthma, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, and hay fever. It’s even been used to dress wounds. It’s also an energy booster (one tablespoon contains 17 grams of carbs).

Honey was commonly used as a sweetener up until the 1500s, when table sugar took over in popularity and was mass produced. But when it comes to honey vs. sugar, honey seems to have more to offer. Although, honey does have a heavy load of sugar and carbohydrates, it’s a complex blend of sweeteners. And it’s at least lower on the glycemic index than table sugar.

Bees use nectar to create honey in the hive. The nectar collected can vary, depending on what blossoms are available to the bees. There are actually about 300 different blends. And generally, the darker the honey, the higher the antioxidant content (raw honey is also recommended).

Honey can be contaminated by germs which can come from the bees, plants, or the collection process. The good news is, because honey has characteristics that fight germs, many of these contaminants don’t stand a chance. But, keep in mind, there is a bacteria found in honey that can be dangerous for young children, specifically those under the age of one. The bacteria can actually cause botulism. However, there is a medical grade honey on the market (such as MEDIHONEY). Also, the bacteria doesn’t appear to be dangerous to older children or adults.

In fact, honey can actually have health benefits. It provides an energy source for exercising or playing sports (add a little honey to your water bottle). It’s also a humectant. This means it can help retain moisture, so it can work wonders for the skin (it can also be wonderful in baked goods). In addition, honey contains antioxidants, which can be disease fighting.

Honey adds flavor and sweetness to dishes and drinks. It can also soothe coughs, fight illness, and make a great addition to your skin care regimen. Maybe it’s time to step back to the 1500s and make honey a regular household staple again.

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