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Is Honey Good for You?

Sure, a spoonful of honey sweetens up a cup of tea. But now research supports what generations of moms and grandmas have always known: Honeyisgood for you.

For example, a Penn State study found that a tablespoon of buckwheat honey, taken just before bedtime, did a better job of reducing the severity and frequency of nighttime coughing from upper respiratory infection than a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cold medications.The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

UK study team found that manuka honey may help keep skin wounds from becoming infected. And research from the University of California, Davis, found that honey consumption raises the body’s antioxidant levels.The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Dietitian Nicole Kemp, RD, LDN, isn’t at all surprised that researchers are singing honey’s praises.

“It’s always been a healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners,” she says. “And honey is an all-natural source of carbohydrates that provides the body with energy.”

One tablespoon of honey contains nutrients such as vitamins B6 and C, magnesium and folate; Kemp says the darker the honey’s color, the higher its nutrient content. Heat can reduce honey’s nutritional value so it shouldn’t be used in applications that require temperatures over 375 degrees.

“Never boil or overcook honey, or foods containing honey, to avoid the loss of nutrients,” says Kemp, who adds that if honey is overheated the natural sugars might caramelize and alter the honey’s flavor, aroma and color.

Honey Dos and Don’ts

Kemp says there’s really no trick to storing honey. “It just needs to be kept in a cool location away from direct sunlight,” she says. “It shouldn’t be refrigerated, since it’s harder to work with when it’s cold.” She recommends keeping the container sealed tightly between uses.

Although honey can be frozen, there’s no need to do so; Kemp says it has “an indefinite shelf life.”

It’s OK if your honey becomes cloudy or milky; it’s just crystallization. “It doesn’t mean the honey has spoiled or can’t be consumed,” Kemp says. If your honey does crystallize, you can easily re-liquify it: Gently heat the jar in a pan of hot water while stirring (make sure it doesn’t boil). 

Honey is safe for just about everyone except children under 18 months. It can contain botulinum spores, and very young children’s digestive tracts haven’t matured enough to defend against them.

Kemp says that honey allergies are rare but do exist in some individuals because of the trace presence of bee pollen. However, most honey is filtered and pasteurized so the amount of bee pollen, if any, is minimal.

On the other hand, some people have reported that consuming small amounts of local honey has helped ease allergy symptoms. If you suffer from allergies, you should speak with your healthcare professional about using honey.The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Honey Varieties

There are more than 300 types of honey available in the US, each from a different floral source. That explains the differences in  taste, color and texture.

Bamboo

This actually comes from the Japanese knotweed plant instead of bamboo.

Color: Dark amber

Flavor:Robust sweetness; a milder version of buckwheat honey

Uses: Adds a nice touch of flavor to coffee, in hot cereal or barbecue sauces, or on pancakes

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a summer annual that blooms late into fall.

Color:Dark amber 

Flavor: Robust, similar to molasses

Uses: Ideal for baked goods and barbecue sauces; also pairs well with strong cheeses or grapefruit, or as a maple syrup replacement

Clover

One of the most common varieties; made from several different types of clover including white Dutch, red, sweet and white.

Color:Light amber

Flavor:Sweet and pleasingly mild

Uses:Is excellent at the table or as a key ingredient in light sauces and dressings

Locust

A rare variety because the trees only flower a couple of weeks each year and because the weather is not always conducive to nectar-gathering by the bees; may be expensive as a result.

Color: Water white

Flavor:Light and mild

Uses: The mildness makes it a good choice for cooking and baking, where a subtler sweetness is desired

Manuka

From a bush native to Australia and New Zealand; used less as a table honey and more for its beneficial properties.

Color: Dark cream to brown

Flavor:Herbaceous, with a bitter aftertaste; not as sweet as most honeys

Uses: Best known as a topical applicant for wounds and other skin problems

Orange Blossom

A leading honey plant in southern Florida, Texas, Arizona and California that blooms in March and April.

Color: Light amber

Flavor: Sweet, fruity flavor with a pronounced aroma of orange blossoms

Uses: Works well in fruit and vegetable salad dressings or in marinades for fish and poultry; also great in custards, in biscuit and muffin recipes or for flavoring tea and coffee

Wildflower

Most people visualize a meadow of blooming flowers when they see the label “wildflower”; that might be true, but often it is so named because the definitive source of pollen and nectar is unknown

Color: Amber to dark amber

Flavor: Mild floral overtones

Uses:Great addition to fruit and vegetable salad dressings, excellent in baked goods and makes a delicious table honey

The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described. The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.

The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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