Better Nutrition - - HEALTHY DISH -

“Honey” can mean two very dif­fer­ent things. Most of us are fa­mil­iar with the stuff that comes in the lit­tle plas­tic bear at the su­per­mar­ket, which is the honey ver­sion of junk food. It’s been pas­teur­ized, heated, pu­ri­fied, and pro­cessed so thor­oughly that noth­ing of value ( en­zymes, pro­bi­otics) re­mains. It’s about as nu­tri­tious a food as Honey Corn Chips.

But “honey” can also mean the raw, un­fil­tered, un­pro­cessed stuff you get at farm­ers’ mar­kets— and that’s an im­por­tant dis­tinc­tion. Think of the dif­fer­ence be­tween fac­to­ry­farmed and grass- fed meat, or be­tween wild salmon and farmed. That’s the ba­sic dif­fer­ence be­tween pro­cessed and un­pro­cessed honey, when it comes to good health.

The type of plants bees for­age on de­ter­mines the color of the honey, the level of nu­tri­ents, the fra­grance, and the taste. Honey from ex­tremely cold re­gions is lighter in color than honey from the trop­ics.

Raw honey doesn’t spoil. The nec­tar that the bees bring to the hive is about 60 per­cent wa­ter, and the bees “cure” it to about 18– 19 per­cent wa­ter. At this level of wa­ter, and with a pH of 3 or 4, the honey is very sta­ble and can last for cen­turies— un­spoiled honey has ac­tu­ally been found in an­cient Egyp­tian tombs.

De­spite all of its health ben­e­fits, honey is still su­gar, so if you have blood su­gar is­sues, pro­ceed with cau­tion. How­ever, be­cause it’s a real food and con­tains a wealth of nu­tri­ents, it’s one of the health­i­est sweet­en­ers around, pro­vided you use it ju­di­ciously. And one study did show that nat­u­ral honey ac­tu­ally low­ered blood su­gar in healthy peo­ple and di­a­bet­ics.

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