Honey is known to be used since humans lived in caverns.
Revered by many cultures throughout history due to its uniqueness, honey is a nutritional powerhouse. It has several B complex vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium. Enzymes, phytonutrients and 10 strains of good bacteria complete its profile.
So what can honey do for us? There are many health benefits. Here are some examples:
Contrary to popular belief, despite having such a sweet taste, raw honey does not spike the blood sugar. In fact, it can help balance it, being beneficial for people struggling with high glucose levels.
If you like to exercise, adding a little bit of honey to your pre-workout snack and post-exercise meal can help improve your endurance, performance and recovery. The Ancient Greeks knew this and athletes used to consume it during the Olympics.
Being antibacterial, honey can be helpful to alleviate wounds and improve some skin conditions. It has been used in the traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
Honey helps promote a good night sleep, since it is involved in the release of an amino acid called tryptophan which is converted to serotonin and then melatonin, responsible for keeping us asleep.
A teaspoon of raw honey before bed helps relieve dry cough.
Honey has several antioxidants that fight free radicals associated with many health conditions. It supports a healthy microbiome, which is essential for a vibrant immune system.
Raw, unpasteurized honey is your best bet because it maintains all original goodness. If it is organic, even better! Raw honey is usually filtered just to remove bee bits that fall into it. It is not liquid, but creamy and opaque. It is possible to bake with raw honey as well. In this case, the bacteria, enzymes and vitamins are lost, but the antioxidants go up.
If your recipe requires liquid honey, the only advice is to make sure that it is pure. Fortunately, in Canada, only pure honey can be called honey, but the best way to buy raw or pasteurized is direct from a local beekeeper.
One last word of caution: kids should not be offered honey before one year old.
I could not finish this article without sharing the recipe.
Carrot and Sweet Potato Tzimmes
Time: 15 minutes | Preparation: 45-60 minutes baking | Yield: 6 servings
- 500g carrots, sliced 1 cm thick
- 500g sweet potatoes, cut in bite size pieces (about 2 cm)
- ½ cup pitted prunes
- ½ cup dried apricots
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp pure honey
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
- Pinch of black pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 o
- Spread the vegetables and dried fruit on a baking sheet.
- Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon, if using.
- Toss with olive oil evenly.
- Mix orange juice and honey in a bowl and pour over veggies and fruit.
- Roast until vegetables are tender and browned and most juice, absorbed.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.