Why is honey good for you?
People often ask us why honey is good for you or even if it is really good for you at all! Unfortunately it's not always a question we can answer in a quick or straightforward way, especially when you take the medical, scientific and anecdotal evidence together. It can be confusing and you may get conflicting opinions from different sources.
Like anything that's part of our diets, how good it is for us often depends on how much of it we consume, how we consume it and the quality of the product itself. If a spoonful of honey helps you get a good night's sleep then that spoonful of honey is without doubt very good for you, both mentally and physically. Doctors agree that getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our overall health.
It should also be taken into account that different people can have very different dietary needs, we are all individuals and our overall health can play a large part in what our bodies can use in a productive way and what it can't. If you run or cycle regularly then a simple honey and water drink can provide both excellent hydration and a good energy boost during such exercise. If you are sat at a desk during that time, then plain water could be a better option for you.
Isn't honey just sugar?
Refined sugar and honey do share a similar make up, consisting mainly of two sugars- glucose and fructose, but there are important differences. Honey has more nutrients and is less processed. Honey varies in its nutritional composition because it's a natural product and it will change based on the nectar that the bees collected to make it. Generally speaking a good quality honey such as ours will contain pollen, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins not found in sugar.
Sugar is also higher on the glycaemic index than honey, which means it raises blood sugar levels more quickly.
Why these differences matter.
It's these extra 'ingredients' that make honey special and different to sugar. They give honey its antioxidant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties which fight against viruses, treat colds and boost our immune systems.
Honey has anti-inflammatory properties because of the phenolic and flavonoid compounds, which have been shown to help decrease chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to arthritis, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Applied topically honey can help with dermatitis, dandruff, treat wounds and skin infections, as well as helping with overall skin condition because of its antimicrobial properties. None of which can be said about refined sugar.
Honey may also be easier than sugar on our digestive system. Due to its composition, regular sugar has to be ingested before being broken down. Bees add enzymes to honey, therefore the sugars are already partially broken down, making it easier to digest. To say that honey is just 'sugar in disguise' seems a little disingenuous to us and is ignoring all the positive effects it's had on people's lives for centuries.
Manuka honey contains more minerals, amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants than any other type of honey. This makes it especially effective at boosting the immune system and providing energy when you are suffering with a cold. Manuka honey has a naturally occurring active ingredient Leptosperin, which is a chemical compound that has strong anti-inflammatory properties- while Methylglyoxal is responsible for Manuka honey's antibacterial effects. Consuming Manuka honey regularly can help to prevent cold and flu symptoms.
Manuka honey is expensive, due to both the quantity available each year and the fact it has to be imported from New Zealand. Our high quality, certified Manuka can be bought in a money saving multi-pack or on a subscription that will save you 16% on the price.
Just Bee Honey.
Not all honey on the shelf is created equally, some of it is heated to such an extent that any of the 'good' has been destroyed. Usually this is done just to make it look consistent on the supermarket shelf, in the case of some very cheap brands it may not even be real honey. So how good for you the honey is might well depend on the honey itself.
A single teaspoon of Just Bee high quality Pure Vitamin Honey contains 25% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamins D, C, B6, B12 and Echinacea (also known as purple coneflower) which Native Americans have used for centuries to treat various ailments. Today, it’s best known as an over-the-counter herbal remedy for the common cold or flu, however it’s also used to treat pain, inflammation, migraines, and all manner of other health issues. Our honey is never pasteurised or over filtered, so all the natural pollen, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, minerals and vitamins survive intact when the jar reaches you.
Everything in moderation.
My grandmother always used to say 'A little bit of what you fancy does you good.' When I was young I always took that to mean that it was fine to treat yourself to some sweets occasionally but as time has passed I see it more as a wider cautionary comment. There are many things in life that that can be good for us in small amounts but bad for us if we consume too much- and sugar (in any form) is one of those things.
Sugar is broken down into glucose in our bodies. A typical adult brain uses roughly 120 grams of glucose each day and as brain cells cannot store glucose, a constant supply must be provided from the blood stream. Mature red blood cells also rely exclusively on glucose for fuel because these cells cannot generate energy from any other nutrient source. Parts of our eyes, like the lens and some other retinal cells rely heavily on glucose too. Sugar is blamed for many health problems, but without it, your body would cease to function properly. It really is as simple as that- and despite what some will have you believe it's a fact!
The main reason refined sugar receives so much negative criticism is because of its lack of any nutritional value. Naturally occurring sugars don't face the same negativity, such as those found in fruits, because they come from sources that benefit our diets in other ways and we believe the same is true for honey. If we consume honey in moderation and part of a healthy balanced diet then we can enjoy and benefit from its many positive effects on our well-being without being negatively affected by the over consumption of sugar.