April 14, 2013


You can buy these at Whole Foods

Perhap’s it was the smog in Sao Paolo, Brazil.  Or the fact that I was underdressed the chilly night before.  I was coughing bad and I could not sleep.  The following morning the hotel concierge suggested I walk around the corner to a honey store.  A honey store?  It was a fairly big shop, the walls of which, and glass counters, were all filled with hundreds if not almost a thousand bottles of honey from different floral source or blends creating a spectrum of colors.  The clerk suggested a teaspoon before bed.  Later that evening, it was snooze recovery.

Honey is often cited in the Bible as nourishing for the body.   Indeed, a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine found honey to be more effective than over-the-counter cough syrup for calming coughs.  A Tulane University research indicates eating raw local honey effectively helps the reduction of allergy symptoms. Consumption of raw local honey can inoculate you because you are digesting the pollen causing the allergic reaction.  
What gives honey its healing properties are attributed to its enzymes.  Enzymes are proteins which catalyze or accelerate normal biochemical reactions in the body like metabolism. There are many enzymes in honey but three predominate.  Diastase (or amylase) which helps in metabolism, boosts energy, prevents indigestion or acid reflux.  Invertase which increases immunity.  Glucose oxidase which generates the antibacterial hydrogen peroxide.  The amount of enzymes in honey depends on the floral  source.  The popular ones like  clover and orange blossom are in the low end.  Multiflorals are in the middle.  And at the high end are eucalyptus and the fetid honey from buckwheat.  All three enzymes activities are susceptible to high temperatures, hence the advise not to microwave honey.  If you need to liquefy crystallize honey, immerse the container in lukewarm water.    
An article in Vegetarian Times  a year ago quoted the so-called Bee Doctor, Chris Harp, co- founder of Honeybee Lives – a New York based organization which promotes public appreciation on the role of honeybees in our ecology.  Mr. Harp citing a report from the U.S. Federal Drug Administration that 75 percent of the honey in retail is not the real McCoy said, “Most of what’s on the market today is ultrafiltered, with the pollen removed, so all you have is the sugar content.  Also honey is naturally thick, but you’ve got these factories that want to fill bottles quickly.  Heating honey to thin it kills the enzymes and the microbes that make it a healing product.  It still tastes good, but there’s no longer the healing benefit.  So buy local, and look for raw honey, which has never been heated.”
A research done by the National Honey Board  in the U.S.concluded “heating and filtering honey does not completely eliminate all enzymes, nor does it have a negative effect on honey’s mineral and antioxidant levels.”  This statement is saying that some enzymes do get zapped.  The bee doctor is partly right –  the enzyme’s hustle  slows down with heat.  For the consumer, make sure you eyeball the rawness in every bottle.  Suppliers have different meanings of “raw”.  Real raw honey, unheated, unpasteurized, unfiltered, is almost solid, crystallize or cream like.
Is honey better than sugar for managing diabetes?  The Mayo Clinic said there is no advantage in substituting honey for sugar in a diabetic eating plan.   But other medical experts suggest that although honey is 25 per cent sweeter than sugar, the metabolism of honey is different from table sugar.   Honey is heavily fructose and glucose while sugar is sucrose.   There are claims that honey does not affect patients with diabetes the same way sugar does.
Who said diamonds are forever?  The same is true for honey.  Although honey will lose its aroma and flavor with age, it is the only food in the world which will never spoil.   Why so?  According to Jonas Luster of the Huffington Post, honey is acidic and supersaturated with sugar (it sucks off  the water from any microorganism) thus there is no chance for survival for any bacteria.  Like a black hole.
Since honey is an excellent source of carbohydrates, boosting performance, endurance and reduces muscle fatigue, I make it a routine to take a spoon of honey before I head out to the gym.
Some web sites recommend drinking a honey and lemon juice (with a desirable alkaline ph) as helpful in the treatment of obesity without the loss of energy and appetite.   Mix one teaspoon of raw honey (unheated) with the juice of two teaspoons of lime or lemon juice in a glass of room temperature or lukewarm water.  No heating – remember enzymes are temperature sensitive.  Drink once in the morning on an empty stomach. 
Also, a spoon or two of honey before bed is believed to be able to fuel the liver, speed up fat-burning metabolism, ease stress hormones and help you slumber soundly.  
WARNING: Under no circumstances should you give honey to an infant a year old or younger.  It can cause botulism to which an infant does not have immunity yet.  Before embarking on a honey therapy, consult your physician.

NOTE: This article was published by the Philippine Canadian Inquirer much later on February 7, 2014, pages 37 and 44



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