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One of the best food resources of this planet is all natural honey as it provides a tasty treat and natural sweetener while offering many positive benefits to the human body.

Natural honey refers to the sweet liquid produced from nectar that is extracted from flowers by honeybees. This type of honey is pure, unprocessed, unpasteurized, and unheated. All natural phytonutrients, enzymes and vitamins in honey are wholly preserved only when left natural and not processed.

The benefits of natural honey are much higher in comparison to processed or commercial honey. Natural honey has been in use for thousands of years and it has been of great significance in cultural and religious traditions, healing and health.


Characteristics of Natural Honey


You can acquire natural honey in solid or liquid form; however, unused natural honey in liquid form may solidify or crystallize overtime. There are several appearances honey may take on; including milky, opaque, or clear with the color being white, yellow, or brown.

These characteristics of natural honey are dependent on the flower type from which the nectar was extracted. There are more than 300 types of honey in the US alone. Lighter honey is generally mild in flavor and darker honey is stronger in flavor. It is impossible to differentiate natural and processed honey based on taste, form (solid or liquid), or color.


Benefits of Natural Honey


Bees collect and transport  nectar to the beehive to produce natural honey. The nectar from which the honey is manufactured is loaded with over 600 compounds, classifying honey as a power-food. The following are some of the benefits of natural honey:


  • Natural Sweetener

Honey is actually sweeter than sugar, meaning less can be used. Honey even balances and enhances the flavor of ingredients used in a recipe. When honey is used in dips, sauces, marinades, and dressings, it acts as a thickener and binder. As a humectant, honey allows for foods to retain moisture and it can even help extend the shelf life of baked goods.


  • Antioxidant Properties

Natural honey contains powerful antioxidants, which help in slowing down the rate of deterioration of body cells. Antioxidants are very important in the human body as they bind the free radicals safely which aid in protecting body tissue. [Free radicals cause damage to cell walls and DNA]. Various studies have confirmed these specific antioxidants makes this one of the most significant benefits of consuming natural honey.


  • Managing Diabetes

Insulin in the body is important in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Those who suffer from type-2 diabetes are incapable of producing enough insulin or adequately using it. High blood sugar as well as the excess insulin that is produced subsequently causes damage to the kidneys, heart, eyes and brain. Consuming honey in place of sugar is a better option for type-2 diabetes patients as it gets absorbed at a slower rate than sugar. Always remember, moderation is important! A diabetic patient will have more controlled insulin and blood sugar levels after ingesting natural honey instead of sugar. It is always important to consult your doctor when making changes to your diet.


  • Anti-inflammatory Properties & Protection of the Cardiovascular System

One of the benefits of natural honey is that it contains anti-inflammatory properties, which aids in fighting inflammation in the body. When the blood vessel walls get inflamed, the formation of plaque on the walls can cause heart disease. Honey helps in fighting off this inflammation as well as lowering the risk of heart disease. Remember to always consult your doctor when making changes to your diet for health reasons.


  • Seasonal Immunity to Allergy

Because natural honey is unfiltered and raw it contains molds, dust and pollens that are a source of many allergies. Many studies have shown that consuming natural honey repeatedly can help in bringing down the occurrence of allergy attacks. If you want the best results in fighting seasonal allergies, begin consuming local honey a few months before the start of allergy season. This allows for the natural honey to get into your system in time. Be sure it is local honey, as this honey will have the local pollens your allergies may react to.


  • Suppression of Nocturnal Cough and Colds

Many studies have shown that natural honey helps in healing viral colds. In addition, natural honey has been shown to be of great help in making nighttime coughs manageable. Dark natural honey gives the best results in treating coughs and colds. Be sure to have a spoonful or drink some in hot water with lemon before bed. Please know that honey should not be fed to children under the age of one.


  • Athletic Performance

In comparison to other sources of sugar, natural honey helps the body with energy restoration quickly. Before the invention of energy drinks, athletes often used natural honey for an extra boost of energy. Pure honey may be just as effective as carbohydrates when consumed before an athletic event or workout because the honey is released into the body steadily during one’s exercise.


If honey is consumed during a workout or competition, your muscles will receive nourishment and delay fatigue. It has been shown that consuming protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of exercise is the best way to refuel, decrease muscle soreness, and help level blood sugars. Honey, mixed with a protein of some sort, is a fabulous post-workout carbohydrate selection.


To consume the honey before, during, and/or after exercise, just add the honey to your bottle of water. If you want a snack after or before the workout, a great way to consume the honey is by mixing it with foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or lean meats. *See below for a great honey/protein recipe



  • Cognitive Benefits

Studies have shown that eating natural honey helps in refreshing the brain very effectively. When diluted with water, natural honey will reach the brain in less than 7 minutes. Other studies have indicated that natural honey is important in preventing brain damage. The antioxidant compounds that are contained in natural honey may prevent Alzheimer’s disease; this is by containing the free radicals that cause damage to tissues in the brain.


  • Wound Healing

Ingesting natural honey has been shown to speed up or facilitate the absorption of calcium in the body, improving on sleep quality and helping in weight control. Apart from this very important benefit of natural honey, research has also shown that natural honey was used for treating wounds before the invention of penicillin. Honey contains antibiotic qualities that help in wound healing.


  • Supporting Good Bacteria

Natural honey is important in the human body since it supports Bifidobacteria, which is found in the intestinal tract. This is very important for digestion as well as overall good health. Natural honey is loaded with pre/probiotics, which help in the activity and growth of Bifidobacteria since it produces alkaline. The alkaline does not cause fermentation and it’s often used in counteracting indigestion.


  • Natural Skin and Hair Care

Honey is naturally a humectant. This means it naturally attracts and holds in moisture. This is a fabulous natural ingredient found in items such as lotions, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and cleansers. Be sure to always check labels when looking for honey in store bought items. It is also simple to create your own skin/hair care recipe.


Storing and Cooking with Honey


Crystallization may occur in honey, but it is not an indicator of the honey being spoiled, impure, or lacking in quality. It is simply a natural process of crystals aligning from glucose sugar molecules. To keep honey from accelerated crystallization, do not store honey in a cool temperature like a refrigerator. Keep honey at room temperature, such as on a counter, in a pantry, or in a cabinet.


There is good news for you if your honey crystalizes. All you need to do is place the jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve. You can also place the jar in a pot or pan of water that was recently boiled. Do not place the jar in the pot until the pot is off the heat source. When placing the jar in the boiling water, be sure to remove the cap and leave until both the water and honey have cooled. This can be repeated as often as needed.


When cooking with honey, it is best to have recipes already geared for the use of honey. However, honey can still be used in place of granulated sugars in some recipes. When replacing sugar with honey, use about half the honey of what the recipe calls for in sugar (Tip: coat the measuring utensil in cooking spray to ease the honey off it). One twelve-ounce jar of honey is equivalent to one measuring cup. You will also want to reduce whatever the liquid in the recipe is by ¼ cup for each cup of honey, add ½ a teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey, and lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees as this will aid in diminishing over-browning.


History of Honey


Honey has been around for as far back as can be recorded. The earliest record of beekeeping is found in cave paintings from thousands of years BC and fossils of bees can be dated to years before that. It is no secret that our ancestors understand something great about honey.


Near Cairo, Egypt, bee keeping has been found in the sun temple from about 2400BC. The bee is often seen in these Egyptian wall drawings as being loved by pharaohs. It is seen these Egyptians used the honey as a sweetener. They also used honey as a gift to their gods and as an element in preserving fluid.


Honey is also found in Greek history. The Greeks knew honey as an important food, often making honey cakes. They also used honey as a healing medicine. In discovered ancient Greek recipes, the foods were full of meats and cakes with honey incorporated into them. Even cheeses included honey mixed in them to form a version of cheesecake.


Not only did the Egyptians and Greeks use honey, but also the Romans ingested honey. They too used it as a gift to gods and most importantly, they used it in many recipes for eating. The practice of beekeeping prospered throughout the entire Roman Empire.


With the establishment of Christianity, the production and needs of honey and wax increased as many more candles were demanded for churches.


Honey was continually important in Europe until the Renaissance age. It was at this time that sugar arrived, lessening the demand for honey. By the 1600’s, honey was less and less utilized as a sweetener as sugar became the central product in sweetening.


There are some interesting places honeybees can be seen throughout history:


  • The king of Lower Egypt around 3,200BC used the bee as his mark.
  • The symbol of Greek goddess Artemis was the bee.
  • In Ephesus, the Greek city, the bee was the emblem on coins.
  • In Greek mythology, Cupid complains to Venus about being stung by a bee.
  • The symbol of Pope Urban VIII was the honeybee.
  • The robe of Napoleon had bees embroidered on it and his flag had a single line of bees in flight.


*Health Recipe (Great for post workout)


As mentioned, honey is a great source of carbohydrates and energy for athletes. A great post workout snack includes not only carbohydrates, but also protein. This is one recipe to mix these two nutrients together:


Honey Peanut Butter Protein Energy Balls


You will need:

  • 1¼ cup of old fashioned oats
  • 3 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds, shelled (optional)
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter


In a medium sized bowl, mix the oats, coconut, almonds, hemp seeds, and protein powder. Be sure to evenly distribute all ingredients. Add the honey, apricots, and peanut butter. Mix well. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. Remove and roll ingredients into balls. When kept chilled, these will be good for about 5 days.