Honey is a food stuff that is rich in vital nutrients but, like everything else, not all honeys are created equal.
There are some that are full of antibacterial and antiseptic properties, brimming with enzymes and vitamins and then there are those that have been heated and processed to such an extent they have none of their original healthy properties.
Therefore the best honey is that which is raw, unheated and unprocessed. These honeys are darker in colour than mass-produced ones and, unfortunately usually a lot more expensive.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
A honey with a great reputation for health-promoting properties is Manuka honey from New Zealand, but locally-sourced honey, straight from the producer will also have retained far more of its vitamin and enzyme content.
A high quality honey has more than 600 natural ingredients including: enzymes, anti-oxidants, a host of minerals including iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins B3, B5, B6 and B9.
The anti-allergenic properties of honey are also well-known. Hayfever sufferers in particular have found that locally-produced honey can have a positive affect upon their health when pollen levels are high.
Theory suggests that this is because pollen from local plants acts like a vaccine against pollen related allergies.
There are also medical practitioners who use raw Manuka honey or Eucalyptus honey for cleaning wounds, cuts and sores. These two honeys are believed to be especially high in antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
As with everything there is always a downside. In the case of honey it is the sugar count. Honey comprises 40 per cent fructose, 30 per cent glucose, 1 per cent sucrose and 9 per cent other sugars. It has a net GI of 60 per cent, which is the same as table sugar.
However some honeys, in particular locust honey, string bark honey and yellow box honey, do have a much lower GI due to the balance of the sugars. The best advice is to eat honey in moderation, enjoy its benefits but don’t overdo it.
Here are two honey-based recipes to help you cope when a streaming cold or flu strikes you down. These have been borrowed from the Leon Family and Friends cookbook, by Kay Plunkett-Hogge and John Vincent.
The Ultimate Cold Buster
1 teaspoon Manuka Honey
A mug of hot water
Half a slice of orange with 8-12 cloves stuck into it
1 stick of cinnamon 1 slug of brandy or cointreau (optional)
Stir the honey into the water, then add the orange and cinnamon with cloves. Finally add the alcohol to taste.
The Hard Core Cold Buster
This sounds dreadful, but it does the job!
2 mugs of boiling water in a saucepan
20 cloves of peeled garlic
2 teaspoons of dried sage
1 tablespoon of good quality honey
Add the garlic to the water and simmer for about 8 minutes
Take off the heat and add the honey and sage.
Strain through a sieve into a mug and drink immediately.
For more recipes using honey see Family and Friends Leon by Kay Plunkett-Hogge and John Vincent, Book 4.