The purpose of this publication IS NOT to present to your attention curious facts about honey, though you might be really intrigued by some of them. While curious facts are limited to just feeding people’s curiosity, this text aims at “feeding” your general knowledge about honey, as some of the presented ideas will be translated into practical application, while others will simply give you a better idea of this magic product nature has given us.
Honey is high in carbohydrates. It IS NOT a simple mixture of sugars and water, as some believe, considering only the limited information on food labels or some generalized tables on energy, nutritional and other values published on various Internet websites. Some of honey ingredients are not thoroughly studied yet. It contains over 300 known substances that vary in composition and quantity depending on the nectar of the plants it is obtained from. They end in -cyn, -in, -on, -an, -ose and any other suffixes you might think of. It is extremely difficult to list and summarize them in a single publication – there are whole books written on the matter.
Honey also contains some volatile antimicrobial substances which may evaporate due to improper storage.
Direct sunlight destroys honey valuable substances. If stored in a glass container, the latter should be kept in dark or be opaque.
Honey is characterized by extracorporeal digestion (digestion outside the body). Some of honey enzymes remain active, decomposing some of its substances.
For example, in their honey sacs bees decompose sucrose to glucose and fructose by the invertaze enzyme. Invertaze, however, keeps functioning in the jar of honey on the table, without you realizing what is going on within the jar while spreading butter over your toast.
The invertaze enzyme has dual origin – it comes from the nectar of plants and from bee glands.
Ferments (enzymes) continue to exert their beneficial effect in the human body itself.
When you combine other foods with honey, for example a piece of a round loaf or a slice of bread, honey enzymes are added to one’s own body enzymes and thus food is digested better and faster.
Different foods are assimilated differently by the human body. Honey is assimilated 100%.
Honey and bee products undoubtedly have a very wide range of beneficial effects both in a number of general cases and in specific areas. However, they should never be considered a panacea or a universal substitute of anything. It is unacceptable to go to extremes in this regard as it could be harmful. A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle matter the most :)
Floral honey has рН between 3 and 4 (acid), whereas honeydew honey has рН over 4. Honey adulterated with invert sugar has a very low рН indicator.
When heating honey, some of the fructose disintegrates, whereby formic and levulinic acids are formed, which increases its acidity.
Honey is a biologically active product.
As a food product, honey has a high caloric value.
- 1 kg. of refined sugar - 3900 calories
- 1 kg. of honey - from 3150 to 3350 calories
- wheat bread - 2170 calories
- beef - 1330 calories
- potatoes - 836 calories
- cow milk 665 - calories
- hen eggs (20) - 1590 calories
Honey does not increase blood cholesterol.
It regulates metabolism.
Honey facilitates fat disintegration. It has the same effect if applied externally - on a lipoma, for example.
It is best to consume honey on an empty stomach. One hour before or three hours after a meal. It is not harmful to combine it with other foods.
It is important to know that the vitamins that are found in honey are suitably combined with other substances essential to the body, such as sugars, mineral salts, enzymes, etc.
It is recommended to keep crystallized honey under the tongue. If liquid, it is also good to keep it longer in the oral cavity for better absorption of some nutrients by the sublingual glands. However, that is not mandatory.
Microwave radiation immediately destroys valuable honey components, even if you put it in just for a few seconds.
Consumers’ general knowledge on honey and bee products is still at a relatively low level. A number of them are not familiar with honey in its natural form in terms of nutrition value, therapeutic effects, etc. Share this post with more people only if you think it would be helpful and valuable to someone.
The daily recommended dosage of honey is 1-2 grams per kilogram of body weight. It is good to take it 3 times a day on an empty stomach.
Daily honey consumption over 8 g. per kilogram of body weight is contraindicated. It is possible to develop an allergy to honey and bee products, which later might manifest itself even if consuming minimum amounts of honey. This allergy usually lasts for a lifetime.
Although it is quite difficult to reach that limit (e.g. 75 kg. multiplied by 8 g. = 600 g. of honey), there are such cases.
At -36°С (-32.80000ºF) honey freezes, whereby its volume decreases by 10%. When heated, it expands, as at +25°С (77.00000ºF) its volume increases by 5%.
Honey is best stored at cool temperatures (under 10°С / 50.00000ºF).
Honey is hygroscopic, readily absorbing moisture.
It is not a good idea to store honey in the refrigerator, precisely because of moisture.
Honey absorbs or gives out moisture until equilibrium is reached with the relative humidity of the ambient air.
Along with glass containers, wood containers are also quite suitable for honey storage (linden, aspen, alder tree, poplar, etc.), the humidity of which should not exceed 18-20%. Pine, juniper and oak are not suitable materials for such containers. Oak makes it darker, whereas pine and juniper add resin smell to it.
Honeydew honey is more hygroscopic than floral honey and absorbs humidity faster.
Honey that contains more than 20% water is non-standard.
Honey that contains more than 22% water and 5% sucrose is of poor quality.
Honey contains some yeasts. When its water content exceeds 22%, it starts fermenting (getting sour).
Honey crystallizes with time and from liquid its texture turns solid.
Honey crystallization does not change its properties in any way.
There are some differences in the chemical, physical and biological properties of honeydew honey and floral honey.
Honeydew honey is not good for bees. According to some authors, they collect honeydew only when there are little or no other sources of nectar. Honeydew honey is not a suitable bee food in winter, as it may cause diarrhea and even death (honeydew toxicosis). Some scholars attribute the unsuitability of honeydew honey for bee wintering to the presence of melicitose, dextrin and high content of mineral substances in honey. Honeydew honey, however, is not harmful to man.
When heating honey, fructose is partially converted into hydroxymethylfurfural which has a toxic effect.
Honey-combs are taken out of the beehive for extraction when at least 2/3 of the honey cells are capped. Then honey is mature. Otherwise it would have higher water content.
Did you know that bees can produce honey on demand? If they are deliberately fed, for example, with carrot juice, milk with honey syrup dissolved in it, certain type of medicines etc., the final product will be honey from the material consumed. Thus it is possible to produce honey for specific needs and sicknesses or with a different nutritional value.
Such honey has a number of advantages: provides unlimited durability of the medical substance; it tastes good (the medicine); along with the drug substances, a number of other biologically active substances enter the body (proteins, vitamins, saccharides, etc.) that facilitate drug substance absorption and boost the immune system of the receiver.
Over time, honey changes its original color from lighter to darker when stored at room temperature.
Honey also changes its color after crystallization.
Composition of honey varies and depends not only on the nectar as a feedstock, but also on the geographical location, soil composition and mineralization, the climate, etc. Even in Bulgaria, which is small in size, there are differences in some sugars and components of honey, obtained in different areas.
Fructose and glucose predominate as sugars in the carbohydrate composition of honey. They are the two main carbohydrates which form honey invert sugar. In most types of honey, the percentage content of fructose is higher than that of glucose.
The increased percentage of sucrose is an indication of poor quality and shows that honey has been obtained in an unnatural way.
Most authors agree that darker honey has a higher mineral content. Light-colored honey varieties contain 4 times less iron, 2 times less copper and 14 times less manganese than darker varieties. In light-colored honey mineral salts reach 0,16%, and in darker varieties - 0,26%. There are some exceptions.
Non-uniform honey has a higher and more diverse mineral composition.
Some authors find certain closeness between the mineral composition of honey and human blood.
It is not a good idea to store honey in metal containers, as it slowly decomposes metals and forms salts with them. Whereas the claim that we should not eat honey with a metal spoon is just a myth.
Mineral substances in honey help to detect market sugar adulteration, regardless of whether it is caused directly or by feeding bees with sugar syrup. In such honey, minerals are present in the form of traces and silicon is the predominant element.
Heating honey to over 60°С (140.0000ºF) leads to the destruction of ferments, the evaporation of etheric and antimicrobial substances, precipitation of certain compounds, formation of poorly soluble salts, whereby honey loses its flavor and becomes a mere mixture of sugars.
Honey makes a very good combination with cinnamon and ground walnuts. The mixture can be prepared in proportions according to personal preferences. An excellent turbo booster before breakfast to start the new day with.
It is believed that when some honey is added to cow’s milk, the latter approximates breast milk in quality and composition.