Honey: Drop Misconceptions
Honey was the most widespread sweetener used by man. Besides having a role in religion and symbolism, it has been widely used in foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring as well as in home remedies preparations.
How is honey produced? Honey bees collect nectar from plants and process it into honey in their body. Moisture is removed as much as possible and enzymes are added that change the chemical composition of the nectar. This results in unique colors and flavors of honey. Bees store honey in cells of the comb when the moisture content is as about 17%. Subsequently, they seal the cells a white beeswax capping.
When bees have access to large areas of one kind of flower, they produce honey with a flavor and color typical of that particular plant. Comparable unique taste is easily perceived when we taste several different honeys produced in different areas. Several types of honeys are available according to types of plants bees gather their honey from. They include clover, alfalfa, buckwheat, eucalyptus, manuka, blueberries, avocado, orange blossom, sage, among others.
Wild flower honey is often used to describe honey from miscellaneous and undefined flower sources. For instance, most organic honeys in South Asia come from the forest where honey bees get nectar from wild flowers of various types of plants. The same is true in other countries as well when honey bees collect nectar from areas where no one flower predominates.
Airborne manuka honey continually rates at an NPA (Non Peroxide Activity [antibacterial activity beyond the natural antibacterial activity of honey]) of between 8 - 12, making it a great, natural warrior against a broad range of ailments.
Honey is not just sugar. The negative perception towards honey surfaces from time to time. We often hear misconception about honey such as it is sugar super-saturated with water, therefore, it is impossible to say that honey is healthier than any other concentrated sugar products. As it is a carbohydrate, it produces energy just like sugar cane, wheat or rice. Furthermore, honey is fattening so it can cause health problems like obesity and diabetes. We often hear such erroneous statements being made, and even many times not only from laymen but from the medical profession.
So, what is so special about honey? About 80% of honey is sugar, made mostly f fructose and glucose. Honey is sweeter than table sugar due to its high level of fructose content. Fructose is said to be 73% sweeter than table sugar (consists of fructose and glucose). The water content is about 17-18%. The lesser the water, the better the quality of the honey. The least percentage comprises minerals, vitamins, pollen and proteins. Honey also contains plants bioflavonoids. Some honey contains essential oils from specific plants such as Manuka or Eucalyptus.
Minerals are important micronutrients essential to human physiology. Honey contains Calcium 6 mg (1%); Iron 0.42 mg (3%); Magnesium 2 mg (1%); Phosphorus 4 mg (1%); Potassium 52 mg (1%); Sodium 4 mg (0%); and Zinc 0.22 mg (2%). Other minerals found in honey are Copper and Manganese. In human body, Major proportions of Calcium and Sodium are found extracellularly while Magnesium and Potassium intracellularly. All these minerals also found in honey and believed to biochemically help balance each other when honey is taken regularly.
Zinc is known acts as immune system stimulant and antioxidant. It also helps male fertility by keeping sperm healthy. Perhaps this is why honey is traditionally taken as aphrodisiac. Synergy is produced when honey is taken with Black Seed Oil or Shilajit.
All minerals present in honey are in the form of ions. Conductivity is said to be an indirect way of measuring the mineral content. Manuka honey has about 4 times when measured in term of conductivity compare to that of normal flower honeys. It shows that besides being the most valued for its immune system booster capability, Manuka honey also revered for its high mineral content.
Explains the physiological reasons why honey is so effective and includes recipes for honey-based remedies for many different ailments.
Reveals the healing power of honey for many common problems--from burns, ulcers, and conjunctivitis to tooth decay, diabetes, and cystic fibrosis--and honey’s ability to kill superbugs like E. coli
Calcium and Magnesium in particular help keep the normal shape of membrane cells. Magnesium has various functions including in ATP production and detoxification, Calcium intake for bone production, harmonizes homocysteine levels, heart muscle function, among others. Low levels of Magnesium is implicated in diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, PMS and many other health disorders.
The vitamins present in honey including Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.038 mg (3%); Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.121 mg (1%); Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.068 mg (1%); Vitamin B6 0.024 mg (2%); Folate (Vit. B9) 2 μg (1%); and Vitamin C 0.5 mg (1%). Vitamins Bs are known vital for various metabolic activities. Vitamin C has many functions including acting as antioxidant and co-factor in collagen production. It also helps boost the immune system
1 tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories. Glycemix Index (GI) of honey is 55 and rated as medium/low. Its GI ranges from 31 to 78, depending on the variety. One of the reason is fructose content. GI of fructose is 22 (some says 19) whereas table sugar is 64. GI is a measurement of how fast 50 grams of this a particular carbohydrate raises blood glucose levels, (and consequent insulin secretion and effects produced by the pancreas) as it is digested. In other words, GI refers to how fast glucose is released into the blood stream when a particular carbohydrate food is consumed.
Why is GI of honey lower than table sugar and much higher than fructose? Let’s look at its fructose and contents in term of percentage. Typical honey analysis: fructose 8.2%, glucose 31.3%, sucrose 1.3%, maltose 7.1%.. GI of fructose is 22, glucose 96-114%, sucrose 60-65, maltose 105. It is, therefore, all other sugars with high GI increase the overall GI level of honey. Different proportions of sugar present in honey produced from different areas yield different GI values.
Experts advise normal people, diabetics and those with Metabolic Syndrome against taking high GI foods such as white flour product, sugar, and glucose. They are also advised against taking commercially prepared fruit juices, cordials and soda as they contain high level of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
"Literally thousands of studies have confirmed that antioxidants can help prevent numerous diseases and will not only enhance life, but in all probability extend life," he writes. In The Antioxidant Miracle, he describes breakthroughs in antioxidant research and prescribes the Packer Plan: his "state-of-the-art antioxidant supplement, diet, and skin-care regimen."
Fructose has been a subject of debates for several decades. Most debates focus mainly whether natural occurring fructose such as in fruits and honey or any type of fructose regardless natural occurring ones or manufactured in the form of HFCS detrimental to human health. Fructose is said only metabolized in the liver. Excessive intakes burden the liver causing fatty liver, metabolic syndrome and other diseases (most of them commonly occur in alcoholics). Modern nutritionists, dietetics. and ignorant doctors recommend intake of fructose to diabetics for its low GI value. Unfortunately, fructose is indicated by studies to be far more damaging to diabetic’s health than sugar.s
How much honey can be safely consumed per day? Daily intake as recommended by old folks, holistic practitioners and natural food stores is not more than 10 teaspoon per day which is equivalent to 40-50 ml). Too much of a good thing is not wonderful. Make sure you take pure organic honey because it contains maximum levels of nutrients. Other important criteria when choosing honey for its fullest health benefits including buying honey not produced by heat and unadulterated. There are cases where honey made of fermented sugar/molasses sold as original or organic.
In Malaysia and Indonesia in particular, foam formed on the surface of honey is believed as an indication that the honey is purely natural. Unfortunately, fermented molasses also produces similar foam. Dishonest producer/sellers take advantageous of this type of cheap technology in producing fake honey and sell them as pure organic honey.
Honey finds its uses in many traditions as home remedies and in assisting herbal medicine concoctions. It is used traditionally to alleviate cough, sore throat, colds, and flues. It is also used in herbal medicine to lessen unpleasant taste or bitterness of herbal concoctions.
Traditional uses of honey: acidosis, antacid, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, antimicrobial, antimycotic, antioxidant, antitumor, asthma, atopic dermatitis, edema, breast ulcers, cancer prevention, cataracts, conjunctivitis, cough, dental caries, diarrhea, edema, expectorant, eye infections/inflammation, fever, Helicobacter pylori infection, hyperglycemia, immunostimulant, infections, leprosy, dental surgery adjunct, oral rehydration, pain, postherpetic corneal opacities, skin care, skin disorders, pressure sores, psoriasis, respiratory infections, septicemia, tinea corporis, tinea cruris, and tinea faciei.
An enzyme known as glucose oxidase added by bees to nectar helps transform sugars into hydrogen peroxide in a slow-release manner. Hydrogen peroxide is said to act as germicidal and antibacterial. It is only active when water is present. It requires oxygen for any chemical reaction to occur. Thus, hydrogen peroxide might not work in environments such as under wound dressings, in wound cavities or in the stomach and intestines. This is so because hydrogen peroxide is destroyed by proteolytic enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that digest proteins.
Besides containing hydrogen peroxide, manuka honey also contains plant-derived components, such as methylglyoxal and what some experts refer to as the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF®). UMF® is a floral property that comes from the nectar of manuka flowers. It has been indicated to possess extraordinary antibacterial activity. This specific factor is not present in any other type of honey.This is why manuka honey works well in conditions such as under wounds dressings, in wound cavities or in the guts. It is said to be especially useful in treating hard-to-heal wounds such as leg ulcers and bed sores. It is also useful for 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree burns that don't respond to conventional treatments, antibiotics or other traditional forms of medication.
Heat (except body heat) and light destroy hydrogen peroxide. This is why pure organic honey prepared without using heat is the most preferred type of honey, especially for medicinal purposes. Honey is a superb free iron chelator. By deactivating free iron (Fe2+), it inhibits the catalytic formation of hydroxyl free radicals from hydrogen peroxide. Hydroxyl free radicals are implicated in the formation of inflammation. Inflammation is linked to many degenerative diseases including coronary heart disease and cancer. Fortunately, various antioxidant constituents help neutralize hydroxyl free radicals present.
This book provides readers with the information and tools that have been used successfully by thousands of Dr. LaValle's patients over the last twenty years to help them take charge of their diets, their health, and their lives.