Honey comes from flower nectar which is collected by bees and then naturally broken down into simple sugars and stored in honeycombs. Honey gets its distinct color and flavor depending on the type of flower nectar that the bees collect. For example, nectar from Orange Blossom's create a light color and those from wildflowers are darker more amber colored. A common flower that is used to make honey in the United States is the Clover. Depending on location and source, Clover honey varies in color from water-white to extra light amber and has a mild, delicate flavor. The scientific name of this type of flower is Trifolium repens.
Honey in Wound Care:
The naturally occurring properties of honey and its low pH (3.2-4.5) help to inhibit growth of microorganisms like bacteria. The mixture of honey with inflammatory factors and other substances in wounds, forms hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is formed secondary to an enzymatic reaction with glucose oxidase. When glucose oxidase is released this provides antibacterial activity without harming the surrounding tissue. A recent study from the Journal of Ayub Medical College of Abbottabad in 2014; discussed the role of honey in wound healing of diabetic ulcers. This study concluded that the use of honey significantly reduced the rate of amputation and improved wound healing when used for wound dressing in chronic diabetic foot ulcers.
Raw Honey in Nutrition:
Raw honey contains atleast 80 substances that are important in human nutrition. The most well known substances are glucose and fructose. Glucose and fructose are used in the normal metabolic process to produce energy for muscles and cells. Raw honey also contains all of the B-complex vitamins, Vitamins A, C, D, E and K, several minerals and trace elements like magnesium, iron, sulfur, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, chlorine and others. Honey also contains live enzymes, one of the highest in all foods.
Raw honey contains antioxidants called phenolic compounds. Some types of honey have as many antioxidants as fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help to protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals. Free radicals contribute to the aging process and may also contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. A study published in 2010 showed the potential of polyphenols (phenolic compounds) in honey helping protect against heart disease.
Studies have shown increases in circulating glucose concentrations have strong influences on brain functions that span many neural and behavioral measures. There has been extensive evidence in the past 25 years indicating that relatively modest increases in circulating glucose concentrations enhance learning and memory processes. There has also been a strong amount of evidence showing B-complex vitamins, specifically B12 and folate (B9), help prevent neurological conditions and improve brain function. Folate (Vitamin B9) deficiency in the womb contributes to neural tube defects in infants. Deficits in vitamin B12 (cobalamin) have negative consequences on the developing brain during infancy. Deficits of both vitamins are associated with a greater risk of depression during adulthood.
The anti-inflammatory properties of honey come from phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds found in plants that help protect the plant from harm from insects as well as UV radiation. Phytonutrients provide both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, which help maintain our health. These valuable nutrients are unique to raw honey and disappear when honey is heavily processed!
During my own exploration into raw honey I came across a raw honey company called Honey Ridge Farms in Washington state (I have no affiliation financial or otherwise with this company). They source local raw honey to produce fine quality whipped honey crèmes and vinegars. Their whipped honey crèmes are never cooked, retaining the natural goodness of raw honey as I have discussed in this article. This honey is so delicious and easy to use in recipes. Below I have included some easy and delicious ways to include honey in your next meal. In addition to these recipes you can use the honey in tea as a natural sweetener, on oatmeal and in yogurt. Enjoy!
Raw cacao bliss balls with macadamias, coconut and honey (Via The Lazy Paleo)
A perfect snack or dessert!
Ingredients:4 tablespoons coconut butter
10 medjool dates
1 cup raw macadamia nuts
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1.5 tablespoons raw honey
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup finely shredded coconut
- Line a tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place all ingredients except for the shredded coconut in a food processor, and mix for about a minute until a sticky dough forms.
- Roll into small balls, and place on the lined tray.
- Place in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes.
- Spread the shredded coconut out on a plate or cutting board.
- Remove the balls from the fridge and roll them in the shredded coconut. Use your hands to press the coconut in, so it sticks firmly to each ball.
- Refrigerate for 60 minutes
Marinated Cauliflower Steaks with Pearl Couscous Medley (Adpated Via Grubarazzi.com)
Cauliflower steaks are a nice substitue for meat. Make sure to slice the cauliflower into thick pieces before cooking. Enjoy this dish for dinner.
Serves 4 -per serving 450 calories, 10 grams of protein
1 large head of cauliflower, cut in to 1 inch slabs
1 cup pearl couscous, dry
4 tablespoons grape seed oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 teaspoons raw honey
½ teaspoon dried tarragon
½ teaspoon dried parsley
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of salt, to taste
¼ roasted red pepper, diced
¼ fresh green bell pepper, diced
20 kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cook couscous according to package directions. Set aside.
3. De-stem the cauliflower with a paring knife being sure to keep the core intact. With the core side down, start from the center and slice 1” steaks. Finely chop and reserve the cauliflower pieces that broke loose.
4. Whisk together grape seed oil, vinegar, tarragon, garlic, honey, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste.
5. Place the steaks in a large heavy roasting pan. Using half of the dressing, generously slather both sides of the cauliflower steaks. Allow them to sit in the marinade for at least ten minutes.
6. Transfer the cauliflower steaks to the oven; roast until tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
7. In a large bowl, combine reserved cauliflower with the remaining dressing, roasted pepper, bell pepper, kalamata olives, couscous, and chickpeas. Allow the mixture to sit while the cauliflower steaks finishing roasting.
8. To plate, top each cauliflower steak generously with the pearl couscous medley.