It’s all about honey, honey!

Savour the good taste and therapeutic powers of honey for optimal health and wellbeing

Honey and breadHoney, a natural source of energy, is packed with vitamins, proteins, and minerals.

Honey is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose, and minerals such as copper, manganese, silicon, chlorine, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, aluminium, and magnesium.

It contains all the vitamins and trace elements, which nutritionists consider necessary for health: the B-vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, nicotinic acid, biotin, and ascorbic acid [vitamin C]. Unlike fruits and vegetables, honey does not lose its vitamins during harvesting, storage, and preparation.

Honey also contains amino acids and enzymes, which help in digestion. Thus, consuming honey ensures a good supply of necessary nutrients to the body; it also provides instant energy.

Honey is known to have myriad medicinal qualities. You can use it as a first-aid remedy, a conditioner for your hair, in your cooking, or simply as a "pick-me-up".

Nutritional value

Apart from its pristine purity, honey is a source of energy that comes combined with protein, vitamins, enzymes etc. One spoonful of honey, daily, is recommended for everybody: from children to adults.

The exact composition of honey varies with the type of flower, the type of soil, the season of the year, and weather conditions at the time of collection. The darker honeys have the highest mineral content. It contains four times as much iron as lighter honeys. Another quality of honey is that, when compared with the same amount of sugar, it gives 40 per cent less calories to the body. Although it provides great energy to the body, it does not add weight. This makes it a realistic, natural substitute for sugar in your coffee, tea, juice etc.

Digestion

Honey is made up of simple sugars, converted by a secretion from the bees' salivary tract. It is, therefore, easily and quickly absorbed as a source of quick energy.

Since honey promotes the correct working of the digestive organs, it can be taken as a laxative. Babies, whose diet includes honey, rarely suffer from colic.

Healing properties

Do you have a cut? Honey is a natural antiseptic. Medical literature cites more than 600 cases in which honey was employed to treat wounds. By applying honey to your wounds, you can prevent infections. Honey contains anti-microbial agents, which prevent infections by killing the bacteria in and around your wounds. When honey is used, it helps to heat up the area around the wound [Caution: Test the heat before you place it around/on the wound].

Many types of bacteria can't survive in honey, so wounds heal, the swelling eases, and tissues grow back to health. Studies have shown that burns, too, can heal better with honey.

The advantage of honey is that it not only prevents infections from occurring, it actually accelerates skin healing. Since the sugar in honey absorbs water, it helps to trap some of the moisture, so bacteria and other microbes can't grow as easily in honey as in other food.

Honey can absorb moisture, and it has been prized for its mild antibiotic properties for centuries, due to this fact. Where bacteria are trapped in honey, honey can absorb moisture from the bacteria and kill them. Gargling with honey water is effective in sore throat infection.

To get relief from cough, add three tsp of lemon juice, one tsp of honey, and half tsp of ginger juice to half a cup of warm water. Drink this solution, three times a day.

Honey Tips

  • Honey should be stored in a dry place as it absorbs and retains moisture
  • High temperatures affect the flavour of honey. Products should, therefore, be baked at lower temperatures [300-350°C] for a longer period of time
  • Honey is sweeter than sugar. One tsp of honey is equivalent in sweetness to 1.5 tsp sugar
  • Cakes, puddings, biscuits and sweets will stay fresh and longer when made with honey. If you are experimenting with honey in a recipe, try replacing half the sugar with honey as the flavour can be very strong. Honey is hygroscopic [meaning it attracts water] so it is good for baking cakes as it keeps them moist for long
  • You can also try fresh bread, sliced and buttered with a layer of beautiful set honey — a simple sandwich that is delicious and quick anytime
  • Measuring unit: 1 tsp of honey = 20 calories; 1 tbsp = 60 calories.

Beauty

Many hand and body lotions, facial creams, soaps and depilatories [hair-removing creams] contain honey. Honey can penetrate tiny crevices through which even water will not pass. It, therefore, makes an excellent emollient [skin softening cream] as well as a protective, germ-proof shield. Thanks to its vitamin, mineral, and amino acid content, honey is a wonderful beauty aid. It nourishes the skin and the hair.

Here are some beauty potions you can make and use with honey:

  • Honey mixed with ground almonds makes an excellent facial cleansing scrub
  • A tbsp of honey whisked together with an egg white, one tsp of glycerine and about 1/4 cup of flour makes an excellent firming mask. Just smooth on the face, leave on for 15 minutes, and rinse with warm water. You will be pleased with the results
  • Honey also makes a great moisturising pack. Just mix two tbsp of honey with two tsp of whole milk, smooth over the face and neck, and let it do its job for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, and finish splashing cold water
  • Honey also makes a great lotion for dry patches of skin on hands, elbows, or other parts. Just mix one tsp of honey with one tsp of olive oil, and a 1/2 tsp of lemon juice. Apply to hands, elbows, heels of your foot etc., and wash off after 15 minutes. This provides fast relief!
  • Honey works well on chapped lips and acne, because it has anti-bacterial properties
  • To give your hair lustrous shine, mix one tsp of honey in four cups of warm water. Use as a hair rinse. And, if you're a blond, add the juice of one lemon too
  • Mix one tbsp of honey with a cup of warm water. Use it as a mouthwash. Honey cleans teeth and dentures, and kills germs in the mouth.

Relish the goodness of honey and ensure sweetness and good health in your life.

Coconut & Honey-Stuffed Pea Cutlet

CutletIngredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 8-10 cashew nuts
  • 2 cups boiled and mashed peas
  • 3/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • Paste of 3-4 green chillies
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Tomato sauce or chutney for garnishing

Method:

  1. Mix the coconut, honey and lemon juice. Make small round balls by stuffing cashew nuts into it.
  2. Mix mashed pea, rice flour, salt, green chilli paste and garam masala. Make dough.
  3. Make round flattened balls by pressing on your palm.
  4. Fill the coconut stuffing inside the balls. Give them a round shape.
  5. Heat oil in a pan. Deep fry all cutlets. Place on a tissue paper to remove extra oil.
  6. th sauce or chutney.

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