Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees and some related insects, such as stingless bees.] Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or from secretions of other insects (such as honeydew), by regurgitation, enzymatic activity, and water evaporation. Honey bees store honey in wax structures called honeycombs, whereas stingless bees store honey in pots made of wax and resin. The variety of honey produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the best-known, due to its worldwide commercial production and human consumption. Honey is collected from wild bee colonies, or from hives of domesticated bees, a practice known as beekeeping or apiculture (meliponiculture in the case of stingless bees).
Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, and has about the same relative sweetness as sucrose (table sugar).Fiifteen millilitres (1 US tablespoon) of honey provides around 190 kilojoules (46 kilocalories) of food energy. It has attractive chemical properties for baking and a distinctive flavor when used as a sweetener.] Most microorganisms do not grow in honey, so sealed honey does not spoil, even after thousands of years.
Honey use and production have a long and varied history as an ancient activity. Several cave paintings in Cuevas de la Araña in Spain depict humans foraging for honey at least 8,000 years ago. Large-scale meliponiculture has been practiced by the Mayans since pre-Columbian times.
Honey is produced by bees collecting nectar and honeydew for use as sugars consumed to support metabolism of muscle activity during foraging or to be stored as a long-term food supply. During foraging, bees access part of the nectar collected to support metabolic activity of flight muscles, with the majority of collected nectar destined for regurgitation, digestion, and storage as honey. In cold weather or when other food sources are scarce, adult and larval bees use stored honey as food.
Uses of Honey
the main uses of honey are in cooking, baking, desserts, as a spread on bread, as an addition to various beverages such as tea, and as a sweetener in some commercial beverages.
Due to its energy density, honey is an important food for virtually all hunter-gatherer cultures in warm climates, with the Hadza people ranking honey as their favorite food.
Mead varieties include drinks called metheglin (with spices or herbs), melomel (with fruit juices, such as grape, specifically called pyment), hippocras (with cinnamon), and sack mead (high concentration of honey), many of which have been developed as commercial products numbering in the hundreds in the United States. Honey is also used to make mead beer, called “braggot”.
Honey is classified by its floral source, and divisions are made according to the packaging and processing used. Regional honeys are also identified. In the USA, honey is also graded on its color and optical density by USDA standards, graded on the Pfund scale, which ranges from 0 for “water white” honey to more than 114 for “dark amber” honey.
One hundred grams of honey provides about 1,270 kJ (304 kcal) of energy with no significant amounts of essential nutrients.Composed of 17% water and 82% carbohydrates, honey has low content of fat, dietary fiber, and protein.
Medical Uses and Research
Wounds and Burns
Honey is a popular folk treatment for burns and other skin injuries. Preliminary evidence suggests that it aids in the healing of partial thickness burns 4–5 days faster than other dressings, and moderate evidence suggests that post-operative infections treated with honey heal faster and with fewer adverse events than with antiseptic and gauze.
The World Health Organization recommends honey as a treatment for coughs and sore throats, including for children, stating that no reason exists to believe it is less effective than a commercial remedy.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of honey.
- Honey Contains Some Nutrients
- High-Quality Honey Is Rich in Antioxidants
- Honey Is “Less Bad” Than Sugar for Diabetics
- The Antioxidants in It Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
- Honey Also Helps Improve Cholesterol
- Honey Can Lower Triglycerides
- The Antioxidants in It Are Linked to Other Beneficial Effects on Heart Health
- Honey Promotes Burn and Wound Healing
- Honey Can Help Suppress Coughs in Children
- It’s Delicious, But Still High in Calories and Sugar.
Honey also provides additional health benefits:
It may help kill off germs because it has antimicrobial properties.
When used as a salve in gel form, it may help promote healing in wounds and minor burns.
It may also help ease coughing and sore throats.