We all know the benefits of honey. Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which helps reduce the risk of some cancers and heart diseases. Recent research shows that honey treatment may help disorders such as ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis. Honey is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. However, apparently, the average person consumes eight times less honey per year than medieval Europeans. They even dressed their wounds with the sweet stuff. However, we are yet to catch up.
Human use of honey is in fact traced to some 8000 years ago as depicted by stone age paintings. In addition to important role of natural honey in the traditional medicine, during the past few decades, various clinical investigations by several research groups have proved the same. Honey has been reported to have an inhibitory effect on around 60 species of bacteria, some species of fungi and viruses. One of the best benefits of honey includes relief from cough. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists honey as a demulcent, which is a substance that relieves irritation in your mouth or throat by forming a protective film. Research shows honey works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications, to soothe cough and related sleeping difficulties due to upper respiratory tract infections in children.
Having said that, it is also a very long method to process honey. It takes about 60,000 bees, collectively traveling up to 55,000 miles and visiting more than 2 million flowers, to gather enough nectar to make 500 grams of honey. So, it is better to understand the right usage of honey. Dietician Shikha Sharma tells us the ways honey should never be used on a day to day basis.
Never use honey for baking
Whether you buy processed or raw honey, the worst thing you can do is heat it further by baking it at high temperatures for substantial amounts of time. Some minerals will remain, but the living enzymes available in raw honey are all destroyed by heat. Baking can also alter the taste of the honey and produce a bitter aftertaste.
Never boil honey
Heating honey can turn toxic. While honey is used to alleviate excess mucous and is seen in so many natural cold remedies, any honey that has been heated leads to congestion, weight gain, respiratory problems, skin conditions including acne, and blood glucose imbalances. Make sure your honey is raw, or you will not receive its benefits! Most supermarket honey is pasteurized or heated at a high temperature, thus killing off many of the raw enzymes that make it so healthy in the first place.
Never have honey with meat products
Many use honey as it enriches and adds a subtle flavour to many savoury dishes such as meat casseroles, sauces and dressings. When used in a marinade, honey will help tenderise meat. It also gives a distinctive barbecue flavour to food as it caramelises. That is the reason honey is used by many meat lovers world over. However, it is totally wrong. Honey and meat is a wrong combination. It can upset your stomach and can cause serious food poisoning.
Never have honey with milk if you want to lose weight
Time and again you would have heard people asking you to have honey with warm water first thing in the morning. It not only helps in better digestion and treating irritable bowels syndrome, it helps in losing weight as well. However, honey with warm milk will help skinny people gain some weight. So, for all those trying to use honey or are already using one, to lose weight, you should stop it. Honey when taken with milk has the capacity to slow down your metabolism.
Never feed honey to babies
Many cultures believe in the health benefits of honey and allow their babies to eat it early in their lives. In fact, Ayurvedic doctors also prescribe honey for kids of all. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents not to give their babies raw or unpasteurized honey if they are younger than 12 months old. Many researches suggest that honey can cause infant botulism. This type of bacteria produces toxins inside the digestive tract and can lead to serious side effects. While the right age to start giving honey is not yet proven, it is better to avoid it till the age of 3.