Honey sweet health for all of us to enjoy. What do I mean by that? Simply that honey is one of nature’s precious gifts filled with healing powers that people swarm to for its many health benefits. Throughout history honey and the bee’s pollen has been used for its medicinal properties and miraculous qualities even dating back to ancient Egyptian times. Even today holistic, naturopaths, alternative medicine practitioner of all types consider it one of nature’s best remedies and it can help our bodies stay healthy and continue on our venture to living a green lifestyle.
When I speak about honey I am talking about raw honey that has not been processed or pasteurized that has been causing the destruction of the natural goodness, healing powers, and disabling many of the protective compounds. Bee pollen and honey are both used as food in a beehive, but people use honey mostly as food while pollen is taken as a nutritional supplement. Raw honey many times actually has pollen in it. There are nutritional differences in raw honey and bee pollen. One major difference is that Raw honey has more antioxidants while bee pollen has more protein.
Honey comes in various varieties and flavors depending on floral source of the pollen or nectar that the bee gathered. If you have ever checked out honey the colors vary from light to dark. According to the National Honey Board, darker honey has a higher antioxidant content than lighter honey.
For example orange blossom honey would be light in color and has a delicate and light flavor – it is good to use in something such as a honey nut cake. Buckwheat honey is one of the darkest honey varieties and has a much stronger flavor – some people enjoy using this for spreading on whole-grain bread. Another great idea when considering flavor is mixing different varieties for your own special blend to satisfy your taste buds.
Honey and sugar are interchangeable in most recipes but you might need to make some adjustments.
- Honey is sweeter than sugar – substitute 1 cup of honey for 1 1/4 cups of sugar.
- When using honey for baking, add a pinch of baking soda to neutralize honey’s acidity and help the food to rise (unless it has sour cream or milk, then you don’t need to add baking soda).
- When using honey in jams and jellies, or candies, increase cooking temperature just a bit to allow the extra liquid to evaporate.
- Numerous vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, C, D, E, and magnesium
- Has natural hormones and essential fatty acids.
- Has more protein than any animal source
- Has more amino acids that eggs, cheese or beef
- Half of its protein is in the form of free amino acids which allows it to be used immediately by the body.
Health Benefits of Honey and Bee Pollen:
- Antibacterial Power — According to Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Wiaikato in New Zealand, “All honey is antibacterial, because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide,” Honey has such miraculous antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Strengthen Our Immune System — It provides many vital nutrients plus nucleic acids and magnesium. It helps us fight off diseases that attack our bodies and helps us stay healthy in a very unhealthy world. Raw Honey is mostly carbohydrates in the form of fructose and glucose, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. It has no fat or cholesterol and negligible amounts of dietary fiber, protein and all 20 amino acids.
- Antioxidant Power — It contains polyphenols, a type of antioxidant. These antioxidants fight against disease by destroying cell-damaging free radicals which can attack our bodies and cause disease to attack our immune system. It helps to prevent cancer and heart disease.
- Boost and Restores Energy — According to the Cleveland County Center of the North Carolin State University Cooperative Extension Bee pollen increases our strength, boost our energy, helps fight fatigue, and helps improve athletic performance. It certainly can help us keep up with our busy schedule and lifestyle.
- Heals Wounds and Burns — By applying honey to wounds externally it proves to be as effective as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazene. It is speculated that the drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s anti-bacterial nature combine to create this effect. Before the 1940’s doctors always carried honey in their bags to treat wounds until the introduction of antibiotics when they unfortunately stopped using it. Dr. Molan’s says, ” We’re finding that doctors are starting to use honey when modern medicines have been tried and have failed to cure skin wounds.”
- Fight Stomach Ulcers — Just as honey derived from bee pollen can stop infection on the outside it helps keeps your body healthy inside too. A type of called Manuka honey which is produced when bees feed on a type of flowering shrub in New Zealand appears to kill the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers.
- Digestive Aid — Certain types of honey contains probiotics the friendly bacteria which includes up to 6 species of lactobacilli and 4 species of bifidobacteria. Research has shown it to help constipation, diarrhea, indigestion and other digestive problems without the use of harsh drugs.
- Controls Allergies — Bee pollen contains traces of substances that are known to trigger allergic reactions such as hay fever. Some allergists believe it can actually help lower sensitivity to local plant pollens, which can ease the effects of hay fever and other allergic reactions. One study found that a physician who treated his patients with bee pollen resulted in 94 percent becoming completely free from allergy symptoms.
- Help Control Blood Sugar Levels — Honey does contain simple sugars, but it is NOT the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Some honeys have low hypoglycemic index that doesn’t cause the blood sugar to elevate. Its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels.
- Anti-Aging — Have beautiful skin with honey and bee pollen. Filled with rich anti-bacterial and antioxidant qualities that are extremely beneficial for your skin. It helps battle the free radicals from all the stresses that damages our skin such as chemicals, environmental pollutants and toxins.
Using bee pollen in a smoothie is a great way to utilize this superfood and reap the many health benefits. Try this tasty recipe for an energy boosting drink and add it to your routine diet.
Bee Healthy Coconut Banana Blueberry Smoothie
- Raw Coconut Milk without the carrageenan in (usually can find in a can)
- 1 cup frozen organic blueberries
- 1 organic banana, cut up into several chunks
- ½ to 1” chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon bee pollen
Add raw honey to your coffee or tea instead of artificial sweeteners or processed sugar. Sprinkle some bee pollen in your cereal or salad. Be creative — nature has provided us with the wonderful healthful and natural superfood but it’s up to us to take advantage of its many health benefits!
Around the world slowly the bees are dying. Bee pollen and honey are a natural super food that we need on our planet, not just for us but for the survival of all living things. They swallow, digest and regurgitate nectar to make honey and this nectar contains almost 600 compounds. If we don’t have bees to cross-pollinate flowers, trees, and plants we not only lose all the amazing health benefits of honey, but we can not survive. Bees are part of the natural ecological system and our environment. We need to do everything we can to save them and save our planet for a healthier and safer world for all future generations.
Bee Healthy, Bee Happy And Live Green!!
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Other Sources — The Doctors Book of Food Remedies — Author Selene Yeager