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Well and Good: Healthy Honey

I like the taste of honey, so I’m quick to recommend it based on flavor alone. There are so many variations in honey taste and aroma, depending on where it was gathered, and what nectar the bees used to produce it. (Clover, orange blossom, sage, and chestnut honeys, for instance, all have a different flavor.)

But when you look at the health benefits associated with honey,it’s even more clear. As a general rule, honey contains 27 minerals, 22 amino acids and 5,000 live enzymes. Add the fact that honey is a natural product and the case gets even stronger. Honey is one of the purest foods for promoting general health and it’s truly a super food!

Of course, honey is still a calorie-dense food that should be used in judicious quantities; some scientists believe it’s essentially the same as any other form of sugar. Still, can regular refined sugar do any of these things?

Treatment for colds and sore throats: Honey can help soothe the pain of a sore throat, and newer studies indicate it can even help alleviate some coughs, especially nagging nighttime coughs.

Boosts immune systems: Most types of honey contain antioxidants, which help boost the body’s immune system and are linked to many other health benefits, including cancer prevention and promoting heart health.

Help heal cuts and burns: A longtime home remedy, honey applied topically has been shown to help speed healing of minor skin ailments, and can help prevent infection.

Digests more easily. Honey metabolizes more slowly; is gentle on most people’s digestive system; and because it’s sweeter than sugar you can often get away with using less. However, honey should never be given to children under one year of age.

Anti-aging skin properties.  Cleopatra, Queen of Egyptwas known to take a milk and honey bath. Honey has the natural ability to replenish the moisture level in the skin making it a natural choice not only for the skin but the hair as well.  For deep conditioning after shampooing, work into the hair from roots to ends, let set for a few minutes and rinse thoroughly.

When it comes to healthy honey, the buzz these days is all about manuka honey. Manuka honey is produced by bees that feed on the nectar of the manuka bush in New Zealand.

Manuka honey contains a special non-peroxide anti-bacterial activity that was discovered by Dr. Peter Molan of Waikato University in New Zealand.  He has found it naturally destroys strep and staph bacteria. It contains more antibacterial and antifungal properties than other types of honey, so it is used in a variety of products like lip balm, throat lozengesand wound salve. It’s also sold as medical grade honey, suggested as a daily dose for those who want to boost their immune system.

It also makes a great table honey, with a flavor that’s richer and more intense than more common honeys, like clover honey. There are no known negative side effects unless you are allergic to honey. You’ll find several forms of imported manuka honey at FRESH, both in the grocery aisles and in our Healthy & Wellness department. And of course, we also stock dozens of other brands and flavors of delicious, natural honey.