Perhaps nature’s sweetest food, honey is another superfood that can help with the prevention and treatment
of many ailments. And it just may be the only food that never spoils. Archaeologists found pots
of honey in an ancient tomb while excavating the pyramids in Egypt. Dating back approximately 3,000
years, it is the world's oldest sample, and was still perfectly edible.
Nowadays, as with so many of our foods, honey is processed to the point that store bought is nothing more
than golden chemicals. There is actually more harmful content in it than good. Honey should be
purchased raw and unpasteurized. Buy local where possible. Supporting your local beekeeper
(apiarist) along with all others helping to put food on your table is always a good thing.
And there’s another real plus for buying honey produced in your area. It just might help with those
annoying allergies. The reason you have an allergy to a particular plant, tree or grass is because you’ve
been overexposed to it at some point in your life. Your overexposure to this pollen developed into an
allergy and now your immune system regards it as an invader. Eating honey that was produced locally
allows you to ingest small amounts of pollen from the local plant life, enabling your immune system to gradually
build up a resistance to it. Many allergy sufferers claim they are now free from all medications by this
one change in their diet!
Here is how honey is made. Honey gets its start as flower nectar, which is gathered by the bees.
The bee stores it in its extra stomach where it mixes with enzymes, then passes it (via regurgitation) to
another bee's mouth. This process is repeated until the nectar becomes partially digested and is then
deposited into a honeycomb. The unique design of the honeycomb coupled with constant fanning by the wings
of the bees causes evaporation to take place, creating the thick, sweet liquid we know as honey.
The beekeeper then harvests the honey by collecting the honeycomb frames and scraping off the wax cap that bees
make to seal off honey in each cell. Once the caps are removed, the frames are placed in an extractor, a
centrifuge that spins the frames, forcing honey out of the comb. The honey is spun to the sides of the
extractor, where gravity pulls it to the bottom and it can be collected. After the honey is extracted,
it is strained to remove any remaining pieces of wax or other particles. It is now ready to be bottled.
The color and flavor of honey is based on the type of flower nectar collected by the bees. There are more
than 300 unique types of honey produced throughout Canada and the U.S., each originating from a different floral
source. Bees make more honey than their colony needs, so it is necessary for beekeepers to remove the excess.
It takes about 60,000 bees, collectively traveling up to 55,000 miles and visiting more than 2 million flowers, to
gather enough nectar to make one pound of honey. A hive produces about 80 pounds of surplus honey each year.
It is estimated that bees pollinate 70% of the food that we eat. Pollination is a plant process, and it’s
the first step leading to seed formation and food production. Plants rely on wind, water and bees and other
insects to transfer pollen from the male parts of flowers to the female parts of flowers. Pollen grains are
the male genetic material of a plant, and pollination is all about how pollen is spread to other plants to propagate
Bees actually live on pollen as their primary nutrition source. When a bee visits a flower, it gathers some
pollen and then mixes it with some of the nectar in its honey sacks, which are located on its legs. When they
mix the powder and nectar, they create larger granules that are much easier to tote around than the original fine
particles. Once taken back to the hive, the bees continue to alter the pollen. They add enzymes to keep
it from deteriorating, and then digest the pollen to turn it into honey. Honey, being already digested bee
pollen, keeps for much longer and feeds the bees in the hive.
Pollen is a very nutritionally rich substance, and provides everything the bees need to survive. In fact,
bees would die without it. And we can enjoy its health benefits also. It is considered a near perfect
food, being rich in vitamins and minerals and containing all of the essential amino acids our body requires.
Taking bee pollen nutritional supplements can help your body to prevent disease.
So we can see that the honey bee is much more important to us than just making honey. For about a decade now,
however, bees have been dying off at an alarming rate. There is compelling evidence that there are two main
contributors to their demise; insecticides known as “neonicotinoids”, and “glyphosate” (weed killer). While
sometimes these don’t kill the bee directly, they may impact the bee’s ability to foraging for nectar, learn and
remember where flowers are located and possibly even impair their ability to find their way home to the nest or
hive. Bees are visiting treated fields, and they're bringing these chemicals back to their hives.
And keep in mind that honey was used as conventional therapy in fighting infections right up until the early 20th
century. Honey has antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant activities that make it ideal for treating
wounds. A little while back I had a cut that probably could have used a few stitches. I treated it with
a mixture of honey, ginger, garlic and turmeric. Not only did it heal clean, but it barely even left a scar.