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Honey starts off as flower nectar that is collected by the bees and stored in the beehive. The hive design and constant bees’ wings’ flapping causes evaporation and transforms the nectar into honey, the thick, sweet liquid we love to lick. The colour and flavor of honey vary according to the nectar source of the bees.
Honey is a mixture of sugars and other compounds. The main carbohydrates are fructose and glucose, while maltose and sucrose and other complex carbohydrates form the remaining carbohydrates content. Honey contains trace amounts of vitamins or minerals. It also contains tiny amounts of several compounds thought to function as antioxidants. The specific composition of any batch of honey would depend on the flowers available to the bees that produced the honey.
Typical honey analysis: Fructose: 38.2%, Glucose: 31.3%, Maltose: 7.1%, Sucrose: 1.3%, Water: 17.2%, Higher sugars: 1.5%, Ash: 0.2%, Other/undetermined: 3.2%.
Honey is suitable for long-term storage. The key to preservation is limiting access to moisture. The high sugar content in honey is sufficient to inhibit fermentation. Exposure to moist air might dilute the honey to a point where fermentation may start. Honey may crystallize over time. Heating the honey will dissolve the crystals. To store, use glass jars or bottles or plastic containers at room temperature.
HOW TO CONSUME
Honey can be consumed in a variety of ways. Before a workout, take a spoon of honey. You could replace sugar in your tea with honey for a surge of energy. Mix a spoonful of honey and lemon juice from half a lemon into a cup of warm water and drink it to consume an excellent immune system booster. Use it as a sobering agent after a hangover. For this blend together 15 ml of liquid honey with 80 ml of orange juice and 70 ml of natural yogurt. For sore-throats take a spoonful of honey to soothe the inflammation or gargle with a mixture of 2 tbsp of honey, 4 tbsp of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.To combat sleeplessness, take a glass of hot milk with a tsp of honey or add 1 or 2 tsp of honey to a cup of chamomile tea and sip.
Some variations of honey can also be enjoyed. Mustard honey is a blend of mustard and honey, in an equal ratio. It is a lip-smacking dip for finger foods and can also be had as a sandwich spread. Combined with olive oil, it also becomes a salad dressing. Jamun honey is the honey obtained from the flowers of Jamun or Indian blackberry. Its astringent taste and dark amber colour give it its uniqueness. It is good for diabetics and helps in lowering cholesterol levels. Acacia honey comes from the black locust tree, known as false acacia. This honey’s low sucrose and high fructose content make it ideal for diabetics. Its mild, sweet flavor makes it a good choice for mixing with beverages. Tulsi’s healing properties combine with honey and help improve immunity and complexion, and help strengthen respiratory system. Tulsi honey serves as a general health tonic and can be added as a sweetener to teas and desserts.
The recommended serving size of honey is 1 tbsp do not exceed 10 tbsp. Eating too much honey might interfere with the small intestines' ability to absorb nutrients. Honey is slightly acidic and excess consumption might erode tooth enamel and the stomach and intestine linings that could cause acid reflux As with any excess sugar consumption, it might result in insulin insensitivity. Honey is not recommended for children below 12 months.
To learn more about the benefits of honey, click here.
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