Healthy Honey, Naturally made
All natural honey is a well-known alternative to processed sugar if you want to take the healthier, more organic route. It is most often used in the culinary field as a sweetener and to add a unique flavour to exotic dishes. At its most basic definition, honey is a carbohydrate substance produced by bees using nectar from flowers.
As opposed to chemically processed honey, all natural honey offers more physical benefits, as they are left in their unprocessed natural state, not stripped of their natural nutrients.
Formation of honey
Honey is, at its most basic definition, a food source for bees, particularly during the winter or whenever food is scarce. Worker bees raise larvae and gather nectar that will soon be turned into honey in the hive. They then collect flower nectar, which is rich in sugar, and return to the hive to begin the process of honey-making.
Bees have specialized glands that allow them to ingest and then regurgitate the nectar repeatedly until it is partly digested. This is done by several bees at once, and the regurgitation continues until a satisfactory level of quality of the honey is reached. After the honey is rendered suitable, the bees store these in honeycomb cells, which are left unsealed. Because the honey is still high in water content, bees “fan” the honey with their wings, causing evaporation of the water and preventing subsequent fermentation of the substance by yeast.
Medical benefits of natural honey
Honey is known as a nutritive sweetener, and is also used as an antibacterial agent as well as an antioxidant. It even promotes better blood sugar control, as it provides proper fuel to the liver, contributing to optimal glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Of course, this depends on the quality of the honey upon extraction, and the state with which it is handled and subsequently stored.
As opposed to when it is chemically processed, all natural honey manages to retain all its innate nutrients, thus are better consumed than the honey that comes from a factory. This is because honey processing usually removes what we call phytonutrients found in raw honey, the way it exists in the hive.
Raw honey contains traces of propolis. Propolis is a substance that bees use to seal their hive and protect it from microorganisms. It is a complex substance and is produced by the bees themselves, combining different plant resins with their own secretions. It is also called “bee glue”.
All natural honey has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Studies even show that other phytonutrients found in raw honey contain cancer-preventing properties and can also prevent tumor formation. Some of these components include phenylethyl caffeate and caffeic acid methyl caffeate. They are found to inhibit the activity of two particular enzymes: phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C and lipoxygenase, subsequently preventing the occurrence of colon cancer. These benefits are greatly diminished when honey is subjected to chemical processes.
Upper respiratory tract infections can be treated with honey, as a study involving 105 children showed that buckwheat honey can be used as an alternative treatment for relief of nocturnal cough and difficulty in sleeping, compared to the drug dextromethorphan. This is good news for parents with children two years and older suffering from cough, as it is no longer recommended for children under six to take over-the-counter cough medicines because of many potentially harmful side effects.
Findings show that all natural honey possesses large amounts of friendly bacteria, particularly lactobacilli and bifidobacteria that may be the direct causes for raw honey’s therapeutic effects.
Price of natural honey
All natural honey can be found wherever bees are kept and semi-domesticated by beekeepers. They can be a tad difficult to find if your locality does not have any beekeepers, however, online companies offer all natural honey and can ship you their products, although with an additional charge.
There are several options to choose from. Alibaba.com is a site that sells raw honey from China, however if you prefer a company much closer to home, you might want to try nextag.com. It sells all natural honey for about $6 at 22 oz.
Prices depend on the quality of the honey as well as the amount, as the honey comes in various sized bottles; be specific on how much you want to buy so as to prevent any misunderstandings on the price. All natural honey is quite affordable because they are in their raw, unprocessed state, and have not undergone any chemical alterations to enhance taste.
Taking into consideration the benefits of all natural honey and the relatively low cost, investing in a healthy alternative to sugar (plus an alternative treatment to common ailments) will benefit you in the long run.