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The Health Benefits of Honey – Jennifer Spaide Guest Post

by Jeanette on September 24, 2011 · 8 Comments
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Not only is September Whole Grains Month, but it is National Honey Month too! I didn’t want the month to get away without sharing the health benefits of honey.

To help us better understand the the connection between honey and health, I am excited to introduce you all to Jennifer Spaide from Simplicious as a guest blogger today. I met Jennifer on the soccer field a few years ago when her cutie son was on the same team as my little guy. Sideline conversations always seemed to come back to food, and modest as she is, I discovered that Jennifer is not just a soccer mom, but a nutritionist and chef who cooks up healthy and easy to prepare recipes in her kitchen. 

Simplicious features recipes for Beet Relish and Savory Tomato Pie, as well as tips on greening your kitchen, and focuses on sustainability. Jennifer recently graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, so I can’t wait to see where she’s headed next! Please visit Jennifer at Simplicious.

Sweet on my Honey…

I have a sweet tooth.  And right now it’s sweet on honey.  One of the oldest sweeteners known to man, honey has enjoyed a sweet and alluring history.  Zeus was raised on it.  Aristotle thought it was the nectar of the gods.  And even us mere mortals have used honey since ancient times for its nutritive and healing properties.

The healing benefits of raw honey (unfiltered & unheated) are extensive.  It is antibiotic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, immune stimulating, and antiseptic.  It the can be applied to external wounds and sores to keep them sterile and speed the healing process.  Honey carries the medicinal properties of herbs deeper into the body’s tissues.  It is an excellent blood purifier, soothes irritated tissues (good for sore throats), flushes the kidneys, and energizes the body.  And it is full of enzymes and heart protective antioxidants.  Since raw honey is not filtered, it still contains small amounts of bee pollen which gives it another incredible boost.  

Bee pollen, often found as a nutritional supplement in health food stores, is packed with amino acids (it is a complete protein!), vitamins, minerals, hormones, fatty acids, and enzymes.  It is effective in treating allergies, bacterial infections, asthma, chronic fatigue, immune depression, nutritional disorders, and other chronic conditions.  Honey is rich in many vitamins and minerals, including the B Vitamins, iron and magnesium.  It is also very high in potassium, which is a property that makes it almost impossible for bacteria to survive in. 

A few things to keep in mind when purchasing and storing honey: 

1) The USDA grades honey according to clarity, not quality.  The greatest clarity is achieved through greatest filtering, which means more of the pollen and other health promoting factors are removed.  So Grade A honey might look great, but it’s not as good for you as the cloudier varieties.

2) Good quality, unfiltered honey will begin to crystallize at room temperature.  Don’t panic, this is normal.  Just warm it gently to re-liquefy.

3) Generally speaking, the darker the honey, the more vitamin and mineral rich it is.

4) The honey at the supermarket is a far cry from the honey your neighborhood bees are producing.  Mass produced honeys are a big hodge-podge of honey from hives all over the world, mixed in giant vats to produce uniformity.  So purchase honey from local producers for the greatest health benefits.

5) The benefits of honey are altered by cooking at high temperatures as the heat destroys its beneficial enzymes and vitamins.

So save honey for your post-cooking applications… drizzle it over fresh berries, figs or grilled stone fruit, or over your favorite blue cheese; use it as a finishing glaze on grilled meats or fish; make a delicious honey vinaigrette by combining 1 part local honey, 1 part champagne vinegar and 1.5 parts light oil; add it to your smoothies; use it instead of syrup on pancakes and waffles; drizzle over vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

National Honey Month Contest

In celebration of National Honey Month, Maty’s is holding a contest, with the winner receiving their All Natural Cough SyrupKids All Natural Cough Syrup, and Baby Chest Rub, made with antioxidant rich buckwheat honey and other all natural food ingredients.

To enter the Maty’s contest, simply (1) leave a comment letting us know how you use honey, (2) “like” Maty’s Facebook page and (3) “follow” Maty’s on Twitter. The winner will be chosen at random on Friday, September 30th. This contest is open to U.S. residents only. THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED.

Disclosure: Maty’s is providing this giveaway in celebration of National Honey Month. 

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  1. I like to use honey on scars. Not for the kids though lol

    I like on fbMeghan Finley. Follow @immortalb4

    immortalb4 at gmail dot com

  2. i'm actually not a big honey user as i don't enjoy the taste. however, i do want to learn how to use honey since it is such a healthy product. did you always like it's taste or is that something that developed over time/use?

    jacquieastemborski AT comcast DOT net

  3. So interesting, I've never thought to use honey on scars. Honey is super sweet, so I usually enjoy it in tea or drizzled on yogurt and granola. I also use to to sweeten my kids' oatmeal.

  4. Shirley @ gfe says:

    As a member of a beekeeping family, I am a huge lover of raw honey for its taste and its health benefits. Thanks to you and Jennifer for sharing so many here! If you think you don't like honey, try some local raw honey and get some that folks recommend. I'm not bragging, but folks rave over our honey and say it's the best they've ever had. That just shows that the taste can vary a lot. (No, we don't sell our honey, so that's not why I am plugging it. LOL) Heating honey (pasteurization) as shared here changes it greatly, in flavor and what benefits are left. Commercial beekeepers prefer heating because it allows them to process the honey faster. Warmed honey can be moved much more quickly through filtering and bottling than honey at room temperature. (We spin our honey out of the comb and drain it through a stainless steel filter. It takes time, but it's worth it.)

    One point that is very important that I don't see mentioned here is that children under one should not consume honey. (It can contain C. botulinum spores which may be harmful to the undeveloped immune systems of infants.) That warning is noted on the cough syrup here, too, if you click on it.

    Great post! I'm not entering the giveaway (no little ones at home), but as a honey lover especially appreciate the post. :-)


  5. Lindsay Cook says:

    I enjoy using honey for waffles and as a sweetener for iced tea. I have heard local honey helps combat allergies local to the area.

  6. Those soccer mom conversations are the best! Wonderful, informative post. Thank you Jeanette for your continued commitment to nutrition and wellness and for making this kind of information accessible through your blog.

  7. Shirley – thanks for sharing your experience – wish I could taste some of your honey!

    Lindsay – I've heard the same, but not sure if it really works. I tried it this winter and my kids still had bad hay fever.

    Kelly – I agree, those sideline conversations with the other moms are so fun. We swap recipes and make each other hungry! This summer, after so much food talk, our baseball team started tailgating and bringing some nice appetizers, so fun!

  8. France@beyondthepeel says:

    As you know I'm a big fan of honey these days and use it in everything. I know the baking process ruins a lot of the health benefits, but it's still far better than using processed sugars.
    The part about how to buy it and what to look for in a honey was helpful. Great guest post.

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