The supermarket shelves are lined with honey. So how do you know which one is best for you? To help, we've put together this handy guide on how to choose honey.
Health benefits of honey
But first, let's take a look why it is good for you to use honey, instead of other artificial sweetener. Some of the health benefits of eating honey include:
- Healthy sweetener - Honey is a healthy substitute for sugar in many food and drinks as it contains about 69% glucose and fructose.
- Weight loss - Though it contains more calories tha sugar, honey can help in digesting fat stored in your body. Using it with lemon juice or cinnamon also helps in reducing weight.
- Provides better sleep - A 2012 research study shows that honey has a very positive effect on nocturnal coughing and sleep quality.
- Energy boost - Compared to regular sugar which contains only 15 calories, honey contains about 64 calories which can be easily converted into glucose, which is best for people looking for an energy boost.
- Improves performance and memory - Honey is an excellent ergogenic aid and can help in boosting performance of athlethes as it can help maintain blood sugar levels, recuperate muscles and restore glycogen after a workout. A study have also shown the honey improves immediare memory in postmenopausal women with results comparable to when they undergo estrogen plus progestin therapy or EPT.
- Packed with vitamins and minerals - Among these are Vitamin C, calcium and iron.
- Antiseptic property - Honey also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Antioxidant properties - It also contains nutraceuticals, which helps remove free radicals from the body.
- Skin and hair care - Honey, together with milk, are often used as ingredients for helping improve the skin. Studies also confirmed that honey is perfect for treating dandruff and dermatitis, as well as hair loss.
Honey or raw honey?
There's one thing you probably want to look for when buying honey: make sure it's raw. Or organic. They essentially mean the same thing in the world of honey.
Many "standard" brands of honey aren't raw. They contain little or no bee pollen (the bit that gives you all the health benefits) and are virtually all sugar. They're also heated and treated - and it can be hard to work out exactly what they're treated with - especially when you're in a rush to get your shopping done. By heating honey, manufacturers may end up damaging the honey enzymes, as well as all the essential vitamins and minerals.
Raw honey isn't treated, so it's packed with nutrients. It also contains the natural anti-vital, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties.
You may have noticed more manuka honey in the market in recent years. Manuka honey comes from plants in the Leptospermum family. These are native to New Zealand, but Australia has more than 80 species itself.
What makes manuka honey different to the rest? It contains much higher amounts of methylglyoxal (MGO), a natural antibacterial property. This makes it ideal for treating bacterial infections and wounds. And that?s why it has a dramatically higher price point than standard, treated honey.
As you can see, there's a simple way to get all the health benefits of honey. And that's to choose raw varieties, or manuka honey.