Monday, November 24, 2014
Sunburst Oranges: Honey Nature’s Best Food
Bees begin the process of making honey by collecting flower nectar from all kinds of flowers. The species of flower determines the color and taste of the honey. Once they collect and digest the flower nectar, it’s regurgitated and turned into simple sugars that are deposited in honeycombs for storage. As bees hover in the honeycomb, they fan the honey by constantly moving their wings and moisture evaporates leaving a syrupy liquid, honey.
Honeycombs, found in beehives, have to be extracted and cleaned. Bees create waxy seals on all the honeycomb openings to prevent leaking. This wax is removed, then honey is extracted by spinning the honeycombs in machines until the liquid settles in the bottom where it can be collected. This extraction process is typically done by beekeepers who tend the hives. Protective clothing and masks are worn to prevent bee stings while dealing with large numbers of bees.
Honey has a long medicinal history. The ancient Egyptians not only made offerings of honey to their gods, they also used it as an embalming fluid and a dressing for wounds. On that last point, at least, they were on to something.
Today, many people swarm to honey for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Holistic practitioners consider it one of nature's best all-around remedies.
But outside of the laboratory, claims for honey's healthfulness are unproven -- except in the area of wound care and, to a lesser extent, cough suppression.
Here's the truth behind the claims about honey's health benefits -- and an important warning.
Honey is natural and considered harmless for adults. But pediatricians strongly caution against feeding honey to children under 1 year old.
"Do not let babies eat honey," states foodsafety.gov, a web site of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
That's because of the risk of botulism. The spores of the botulism bacteria are found in dust and soil that may make their way into honey. Infants do not have a developed immune system to defend against infection, says an MD who is a Georgia neonatologist who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Nutrition.
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180 South “E” Street
Porterville, CA 93257