2019-07-18 / 22:29 The theme: Food facts
INTRIGUING WORLD OF HONEY
Delicious, sweet honey has been made by little, busy bees for thousands of years. Its importance dates back as early as 7000 BC, there are some cave paintings discovered in Spain that show the earliest records of beekeeping.
In ancient Egypt, honey was used as a sweetener and as a gift to Gods. In ancient Greece, honey was not only an important food but also a medicine. Romans also valued honey in cooking as well as a gift to the Gods, therefore beekeeping during Roman Empire thrived.
Later on, when Christianity was well-established there was a high demand for honey and beeswax in order to make church candles. It all continued in Europe until the Renaissance when sugar slowly took over and by the 17th century was regularly used as a sweetener and that meant reduced honey usage dramatically.
The bees, on the other hand, continued to play an important symbolic role as they were considered to have special powers by pharaohs in ancient Egypt, often found on hieroglyphs symbolizing royalty. Very frequently used as an emblem in Greek mythology, on coins in a Greek city in the third century BC or by Napoleon who carried a flag representing bees but also had his robe embroidered with bees.
Nowadays we enjoy honey made from different plants and are overwhelmed with the choices and because of that sometimes we do not know what to choose. It is good to know some basic information about honey in order to benefit from its special properties. People who like to eat honey are very often driven by the flavour as a first thing to consider when choosing it. But is the flavour the only thing we should look at?
I have made my own research on honey a while ago and came to some own conclusions on how to choose honey, where to buy it, what to pay attention to and what is less important.
RAW HONEY VS REGULAR HONEY
I’m sure that everybody came across so many types of honey and tried lots of them but never even considered that some honey might be less nutrient than others. It turns out that raw honey and regular honey have many differences.
Raw honey is first of all not as widely available as the other, its less commercialized so the best place to look for it is probably online or the bee farm. Raw honey is pure and unprocessed; it comes straight from the beehive. It only goes through a gentle filtration process that involves straining it through the cloth to remove dead bees and beeswax. After filtration, it goes straight into a jar to be sold as raw. That process preserves all natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients and other nutritional elements present in honey.
Raw honey facts:
- It’s rich in antioxidants.
- It’s rich in B vitam.ins and contains A, C, D and E vitamins.
- It contains prebiotics that protects your gut and helps good bacteria thrive.
- It contains bee pollen that normally would be destroyed in processed honey. Bee pollen contains many nutrients necessary for the human body. It’s a source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, beneficial fatty acids etc. It also contains lots of antioxidants.
- It contains propolis made of organic compounds that are extremely rich in phenolic compounds, many vitamins and minerals.
- It protects the digestive system and does not ferment in the stomach, unlike other sugars.
- Raw honey is alkaline therefore it helps the body to maintain a neutral alkaline balance.
- It is known to help melatonin production to improve sleep.
- It has antibacterial properties that help in wound healing.
- It tastes better than regular honey.
But as everything else raw honey should be consumed in moderation.
Regular honey is made from raw honey; the difference is that it has been pasteurized and that means heated at high temperature to kill yeast and prevent fermentation. It also prevents it from granulating and that is supposed to make it look better for customers who are choosing an appealing product. Commercial honey is smoother and has a more regular colour. It is widely available everywhere in shops and costs a bit less than raw honey.
Regular honey facts:
- It is processed; high temperature is applied to it to pasteurize it.
- It might contain hidden sugars and sweeteners.
- It has a similar amount of antioxidants as raw honey.
- It has fewer enzymes than raw honey.
- Some vitamins are destroyed during pasteurization.
- It is suitable for people who have pollen allergy as it doesn’t contain any pollen.
- It is a good sugar substitute.
HONEY COLOUR AND FLAVOUR
There are so many different flavours and colours of honey, some experts mention over 300 types. They all depend on nectar source where honey bees were collecting it. Honey colour ranges from very light to dark brown and the general rule for flavour is that light-coloured honey has a milder taste and darker has a stronger taste, but of course there are some exceptions.
Examples of light-coloured honey:
- Orange blossom
Considering that there are so many flavours means that everybody should be able to choose their favourite one from the range available. If you are going to buy honey and get all the benefits from it you should probably choose raw honey. It has not been processed, you get it in its most natural form and that means you get all the nutrients from it. This is the only way to know that you bought healthy honey that you can enjoy. While it can cost a bit more and it might be more difficult to get it, it’s totally worth the effort. So enjoy and stay healthy!
If you wish to buy quality raw honey check out honey(affiliate link) section at our online partners BuyWholeFoodsOnline (affiliate link)
So far we tried Raw Bulgarian Linden honey, Raw Bulgarian Honeydew and Raw wildflower Bulgarian honey and I can say that this is the best honey I ever bought from someone that I do not know personally.
Informative post on Honey, sharing your page this with one of my friends as she loves to use honey almost every day.
time: 19 21
Thanks, Jagruty. That is the whole point of these articles and why we write them. We like to inform people and help them choose healthier food that will nourish them instead of something that just tastes nice. We like to show that it can be both great taste and healthy too.
time: 15 31
So much history for something that seems so simple! Good read thanks.
time: 19 16
That is true. When I think that people used honey not only as a food but as a medicine too makes me want to explore even more.
time: 14 05
What an interesting and informative read. Lots of facts- I particularly enjoyed reading the nutritional information.
time: 19 13
Hi Melanie, thanks for your comment. Honey is very healthy indeed and in most instances can replace sugar completely.
time: 13 32
Great information! I love honey even more now!
time: 19 11
Me too. I used to think that honey was just the same as sugar but after digging a little deeper I changed my mind.