The nutritional and medicinal benefits of this wonderful rich golden substance has long been recognised by human beings, from the ancient Egyptians who used it to treat a variety of ailments, to Biblical times when milk and honey were said to denote fertility to the ancient Greeks who believed that honey could promote virility and longevity.

A product of honeybees, honey is a natural sweetener and a much healthier alternative to refined white sugar. It is referred to as ‘nature’s medicine’ because of its antibacterial and healing properties. Some studies have found it to promote sleep and help soothe children’s coughs and chest congestion.

The raw, unprocessed variety that comes directly from beehives is rich in essential vitamins important for many body functions. These include B vitamins, niacin, also called vitamin B3, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Niacin is key in cell repair while riboflavin is essential for tissue health. Pantothenic acid aids the metabolism of fats and cholesterol. Minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc are also abundant in raw honey.

Raw honey is also rich in carbohydrates as it is rich in natural sugar, which has the quality of providing instant energy when consumed. It also has antioxidants for fighting off free radicals that contribute to many serious diseases.

Honey can be used as a sweetener to replace sugar in desserts, drinks and baking. It can also be used in savoury dishes. It is also an excellent choice to use in salad dressings. Store honey in a cool location away from direct sunlight in a tightly covered container.

Published on March 2013