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Did you know that out of more than 950,000 known insect species in the world, honey bees are the only ones to produce edible food for humans? And that honey is the only food that never goes bad! All that can happen is that it may lose its flavour or aroma in time (because it is highly prone to absorbing moisture). But is still always edible. That makes it a favourite natural food preservative that evens add to the health quotient.
With growing awareness of the health benefits of honey, what has also increased is various other arguments, making honey unattractive for many. Some of these arguments have continued from earlier days as well. In today’s time, when beekeepers are going all out to harvest natural and organic honey, using sustainable practices, it’s a call for us to bust the myths around this superfood and let it truly benefit us, the environment and our tireless heroes – the bees!
Myth 1 – Honey is sweet. Hence as unhealthy as sugar.
Typically, table or refined sugar is made of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Honey is 40% fructose, 30% glucose and the remainder is water, pollen, vitamins, and minerals like magnesium and potassium. The higher fructose content in sugar raises the blood sugar levels more quickly as compared to honey. It is also the additional nutrient components that make honey a healthier substitute of sugar. However, honey is still sweet and has more calories than sugar. So, you can use much lesser quantity to achieve the same effect and still have a natural, healthier option. And did you know that the human body demands certain quantity of sugar to function every day. What form we take it in is up to us.
Myth 2 – Local honey is organic.
We have believed that for years and have relied on the guys who collect it from nearby beehives and distribute to friends and family. However healthy the harvesting practices may be, it is difficult to be sure of the quality of the honey, unless we are sure of the surroundings of the beehives to be completely organic and chemical free. This is because, most of the bees travel within 1 mile radius of the hives to collect nectar. So, to be sure that the nectar they collect is organic, they must feed on organic flowers. Not many of us have the luxury of living close to organic farms and orchards or knowing people who do and use sustainable honey harvesting practices. So no, local honey may not necessarily be organic unless the source is organic.
Myth 3 - Honey contains pollen and hence can cause allergies.
Bees do not make honey from pollen. They make it from the nectar. But yes, honey bees do collect pollen as well in the cute bags in their back legs, which is how they carry on pollination. But the amount of pollen that goes into the honey is minuscule (around 0.1 to 0.4%), according to the National Honey Board, and is not enough to affect the nutrient value and cause allergies.
Myth 4 – Buying good honey is bad for the bees.
It’s true that honey is the only food that the bees make all summer and store for winter. But the growing love for organic honey is also giving rise to sustainable bee-keeping and honey-harvesting practices. Responsible bee-keepers take care to leave enough for the bees and harvest only the extra bit, while also contributing towards healthy bee breeding.
So the next time, you’re out shopping for organic grocery, don’t forget to throw in a 100% natural, unprocessed honey. Until then, wait for our next post on how to choose your honey of the month.
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