Four Sigma Foods 101 – Honey
Honey is produced by honey bees – these fascinating insects collect nectar from flowers and carry it to their hive. The nectar is acted on by enzymes in the bee’s digestive system, transforming it into honey. It is stored in the hive for use as food – indeed, one of the most remarkable foods in the world.
The Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, and ancient writings from Persia, Egypt, China and India all speak of honey as exceptional, even miraculous, as a food, in beverages and for medicinal purposes.
History tells us that apiculture (the practice of bee keeping) had its roots in ancient Egypt, where people began keeping bees in order to collect their honey and other products for medicinal uses. An enormous number of surviving Egyptian papyrus documents and other records include mentions and depictions of bees and beehives.
In his epic works The Iliad and The Odyssey, the Greek poet Homer speaks repeatedly of honey and bee pollen. At the ancient Olympic Games, competitors made a “sports drink” by mixing honey with water. It is also said that the famous Greek mathematician Pythagoras and his students ate honey daily.
The Prophet Mohammed declared, “Honey is a remedy for all diseases” and “rivers flowing with honey” are part of the Mohammedan conception of paradise.
Honey has proven effective in treating digestive problems such as diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis.
Why to Use Honey
Honey is a superior natural sweetener. Its potent antiseptic, antioxidant and cleansing properties also make it extremely useful in caring for the body, both internally and externally. For example, honey has proven effective in treating digestive problems such as diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis.
Honey has been called “nature’s energy booster,” known for its ability to give a near-instant boost to performance and endurance, as well as reducing muscle fatigue during exercise. Honey’s glucose can be absorbed rapidly, providing an immediate energy boost; its fructose absorbs more slowly, for sustained energy.
Honey is a humectant, meaning it attracts and retains moisture. Hence its use in numerous skin-moisturizing products.
Find more information about honey from our ebook Sovereign Superfoods.Credit: Joliebean
How to Use Honey
The first and most important thing to remember is to choose only high-quality, raw honey products. Many honey producers heat the honey to high temperatures (pasteurization), destroying the healthful properties of many of the substances it contains.
Honey is said to make a better sport drink than any commercial product.
Raw honey may occasionally contain spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. The small amounts that might sometimes be present pose no threat to adults, but babies under the age of about one year have not yet developed the intestinal flora needed to deal with the bacteria. For this reason, it is very important that honey never be fed to young ones until they have passed their first birthday. Breastfeeding mothers may safely consume honey – any spores that might be present cannot be passed to the infant through the mother’s milk.
Honey may be used to sweeten almost anything. The amount to use is a matter of taste and preference, though many recipes recommend amounts to be used in place of sugar or other sweeteners. Honey is said to make a better sport drink than any commercial product. Try adding 1-2 teaspoons of honey (or more, if you like) to half a liter of water, then enhance it with a pinch of high-quality sea or rock salt. Adding a couple of teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar boosts this drink to a whole new level, providing potassium and other important electrolytes and nutrients.
Where to Buy Honey
High-quality raw organic honey can be found in most larger grocery and health food stores, all over the world. In many countries it is common to pasteurize honey, so finding unpasteurized products is sometimes a challenge – but it’s essential. Like all real honey connoisseurs, we prefer locally-produced raw honey. So go your local store and ask for some high-quality raw honey. If they can’t help you out (and you can’t find a local producer to buy from directly), the next best options are:
Wedderspoon Raw Organic Manuka Honey (with Manuka honey you can’t go wrong)
Amazon US (Affiliate): Wedderspoon Raw Organic Manuka Honey
Amazon US: Wedderspoon Raw Organic Manuka Honey
YS Royal Jelly/Honey Bee (Honey enhanced with Roal Jelly)
Amazon US (Affiliate): YS Royal Jelly/Honey Bee – Raw Honey
Amazon US: YS Royal Jelly/Honey Bee – Raw Honey