The sweet liquid produced by honey bees from the nectar of flowers is a natural sweet substance that contains many essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some recipes can use it as a healthier alternative to refined sugar. In addition to its delicious flavor, honey is said to have antimicrobial and antioxidant effects and potential cough-suppressing properties. Nutritionist Lovneet Batra shares some of the benefits of this nutrient-rich superfood.
Honey is a syrup of sugars (mainly fructose and glucose) dissolved in water. It also contains enzymes, phenolic compounds, and flavonoids, giving it color and flavor. It is also a potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc source. In addition, it has small amounts of vitamin B6, riboflavin, and folate. However, the amount of nutrients in honey can vary significantly depending on the plant sources from which it is derived. In addition, most commercially available honey is pasteurized, which may reduce its nutritional value.
In addition to these nutrients, honey also contains small amounts of proteins. Bees use nectar to feed their queen, drones, and young bees but store it for future consumption. Bees create about two to three times as much honey as they need for themselves during their lifetimes.
The nectar bees collected from flowering plants are very dilute and contain only about 18% sugar. Bees fan their wings over honeycomb cells containing nectar and evaporate the water to concentrate it. They also secrete an enzyme that breaks down the sucrose in the nectar into simpler sugar molecules, mainly glucose and fructose. Once the solution is diluted, they cap it with beeswax to seal it, and it becomes honey.
A spoonful of honey can be very soothing for a sore throat. It can also help relieve symptoms of upper respiratory infections, according to a recent review of studies published in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. These viral illnesses can affect the nose, voice box, and large airways that lead to the lungs. Symptoms of these illnesses include a runny nose, congestion, and sore throat. Researchers found that people who used honey for these symptoms reported less severe symptoms than those who did not. They also took fewer medications to alleviate their symptoms, such as antihistamines and decongestants. However, it is essential to note that these studies were microscopic and that further research is needed. Also, people prone to allergies should not consume honey as it may contain pollen, which could trigger a severe allergic reaction. In addition, it is advisable to choose raw honey, which can be more effective in treating these conditions as it might have more beneficial nutrients. The higher temperatures used in the pasteurization process may decrease the healthy bacteria and enzymes found in honey. This is a great reason to opt for organic honey if you can find it.