What's Up, Honey?
The National Honey Board offers an informative and amusing site with recipes, ideas and information. Its home page begins:
"Eating well today is not about what foods you should eliminate from your diet, but what foods you can add to improve overall health."
That pretty much sums up the philosophy in our sneaky kitchen. While honey is basically sugar, it offers trace amounts of other nutrients as well. The Honey people state:
"Plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables and soy get their punch from essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals such as antioxidants. Antioxidants are the "buzz" of the nutrition world. They help eliminate free radicals produced in our bodies that are believed to contribute to many serious diseases. Honey, a product of floral nectars, also contains several compounds that function as antioxidants, as well as small amounts of a wide array of vitamins and minerals. Combining honey with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables adds to your total daily nutrition."
According to Dr. Weil:
"In addition to fructose, glucose and water, honey contains other sugars as well as trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids. Tests done at the University of Wisconsin showed that honey samples from various regions contained a wide range of B vitamins, including riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine. The amount of each vitamin fluctuated widely from one region to another. Other studies found that vitamin C in honey also fluctuates. Darker honeys contain more vitamins than lighter ones and also are more likely to provide traces of several minerals including calcium, magnesium and potassium. There's also some evidence that the glucose in honey enhances calcium, magnesium and zinc absorption."
What kind of honey is best? Third Age reports the darker the better. Combined with other nutritious foods, honey can be a positive addition to the diet. But mostly, it's just really good.
Note that small children MUST NOT be given honey. It can be fatal! See dangers.
Other sources have claimed that eating honey made by bees utilizing local plants assists in alleviating pollen allergies, but documentation other than anecdotal is hard to come by. Other remedies include honey-based doses for colds, sore throats and hiccups.
When you're tired, snuffly or have a scratchy throat, try a cup of herbal or green tea sweetened with a little honey. People have sworn by it for years!
We adapted a recipe from the Honey Council: Golden Honey Yam Biscuits. You can find more recipes on the Honey site, including one for a really delicious drink absolutely bursting with various vitamins and antioxidants, Honey Tea Cooler. If your kids like strawberry candy or strawberry soda pop, they'll love this one!
As exclaimed so often by Jackie Gleason's "Ralph" on that old show, The Honeymooners, "How sweet it is!"