There are many benefits to honey: it’s a natural ingredient unlike any other. It’s full of antioxidants, a mixture of fructose and glucose sugars and the fact that it’s delicious is enough to make a honey lover out of anybody. But, it doesn’t only have to be for eating.
Manuka honey is known for its health benefits, and can be used as a moisturising, toning face mask. Simply apply it directly onto the face, and rinse after 20 minutes. It can get a bit messy, but the skincare benefits make your face firmer, plumper and natural antibacterial agents help to clear spots.
Manuka can range in cost but the best of the best can set you back over £20! But, do not fear. Local honey can be cheaper, tastier and contains less additives than supermarket-bought versions. Not only this, but you can help protect the bee population of your local area by supporting the beekeepers who care for them. Luckily, Norfolk is a gold-mine, with The Norfolk Honey Company and Leigh’s Bees pretty much on our doorstep.
But, what are the proven benefits of honey? The bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide, which in the very small amounts found in honey can be extremely beneficial health-wise. If you suffer from mouth ulcers, dab a little bit of honey onto the affected area. The antibacterial and antifungal elements make it perfect for this purpose.
In the time of Ancient Greece, Olympic athletes would use honey to help replenish their energy stores, and modern studies have verified that it is more effective than refined sugars in replenishing energy due to its ability to raise glycogen levels and aid recovery.
Honey and lemon is a classic combination, but it is not necessarily an old wives’ tale. Lemon is antibacterial in itself, but the soothing and nourishing properties of honey make it perfect for calming a sore throat. Add it to your Lemsip for an extra dose of goodness if you’re feeling under the weather. Buckwheat honey is proven to be the most beneficial for this purpose, with a study on children showing that better sleep and quick healing times were the results of using it to treat a sore throat.
Bees produce it as their own food source, as well as it feeding us! Therefore, it is full of nutrients as it needs to power the hive from the inside out. Therefore, there’s lots of friendly bacteria in it, which can help you maintain a healthy gut naturally.
There are at least 40 types, each with varying uses, nutrient content and flavour. Darker ones are said to be higher in antioxidents, while lighter ones are best for using in recipes as it tends to have a lighter flavour. Our recipe below for flapjacks can be made with any type, why not give it a go?