We are in the heart of winter, the days are short, the nights are cold and it’s a perfect time to fortify our bodies with one of the most fascinating foods on the planet—honey. Humans have gathered honey for over 2500 years and for good reason.
1. Raw Honey is a Super Power
Raw honey, the nectar produced by Apis mellifera, the honeybee, often called “liquid gold,” has every chemical element needed to sustain life. It is a storehouse of the B-vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and water. Further, this natural wonder contains the highest concentration of a flavonoid called pinocembrin that some recent researchers declare provides increased brain cell viability and increased cognitive function. Don’t be confused by the honey typically found in supermarkets in those cute little bears. This is generally not raw honey unless labeled as such, but honey that is blended from many sources to provide uniform taste, color and consistency. It is filtered and heated to increase shelf life, and in the process, the naturally occurring enzymes are destroyed thereby greatly decreasing its nutritional and health value. Stick with properly labeled raw honey.
2. Raw Honey Aids Sleep
Everybody needs a good night’s sleep. Sleep is necessary for the body to recuperate from the stressors of the day, restore healing and other regenerative functions. Sleep deprivation is a serious condition and should be discussed with a medical professional, but it may be good to know that when honey is consumed it raises the blood sugar slightly, which allows tryptophan to enter the brain where it is converted to serotonin. In the presence of darkness, serotonin is converted to melatonin—the well-known sleep aid. Voila! So, one hour before bedtime 1-2 tablespoons of raw honey just might be the ticket to a restful night’s sleep.
3. A Medicine Cabinet in a Jar
Honey has long been known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties in the treatment of wounds, but only recently has this phenomena been explained. It turns out that a combination of factors: low water content, high acidity, and a compound known as methlyglyoxal is responsible for honey’s remarkable abilities to assist in the fight against antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Aside from topical applications, ingesting honey with its high levels of potassium, calcium and B-complex vitamins act to lower cholesterol in the blood, can be used in the treatment of gum disease, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, heartburn as well as speeding up the fat-burning metabolism in our bodies. No wonder this gift from the honeybee has been treasured for several thousand years. This simple, but powerful substance that nature has given us is still ours for enjoying.
4. Stressed Out? Reach for the Honey Jar
Without the side effects or the cost associated with expensive pharmaceuticals, a simple recipe for soothing jangled nerves includes honey. Added to a glass of warm milk with cinnamon is a home remedy sure to provide needed relaxation. Give yourself a little TLC with this drink following a relaxing bath.
Another stress-relieving ingredient, ginger, teams up with honey to reverse the damage caused by stress. To prepare this tea, combine eight cups of water with ¼ cup of ginger root, thinly sliced. Boil in a non-reactive pot for 15-20 minutes. Strain and add honey to taste.
5. Buy Local—Support Sustainable Agriculture
It’s amazing, but bees do 80 percent of the work in pollinating America’s crops. Therefore, it is not an understatement to say that they are vital to our food supply. Supporting local beekeepers, by purchasing raw honey, has two obvious and significant benefits—personal health and the health of our food supply. This is an easy thing to do because Blue Ridge Honey Company, an apiary right here in north Georgia, produces seven varieties of honey which is unpasteurized (raw), and coarsely filtered (no bee wings!), unadulterated to give you all the health benefits nature intended. They are located in Lakemont, GA, but you can save a few gallons of gas by purchasing their honey from the Bells Ferry Walmart. They also have an online store with helpful information about the benefits of raw honey.
Ultimately, buying raw local honey is smart; the health benefits are numerous, it saves resources, and you can feel good about contributing to a vital industry.