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Food Focus: The Sweet Truth About Honey

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In Hinduism, it is one of the five elixirs of mortality. You can find it mentioned in the Bible and the Koran, and the Jewish people use it to symbolize the New Year. But to most consumers, honey is simply a common household ingredient.

This sugary substance that bees make from flower nectar has been collected and used for everything from cooking to embalming for more than 8,000 years. It has natural antibacterial properties and is the only food we know of that does not spoil.
Honey has many uses:

Ergogenic aid. Athletes use honey to increase energy levels and enhance sports performance.

Weight loss. Research has found that replacing sugar with honey can help overweight individuals decrease their sugar levels, improve their LDL and total cholesterol levels, and reduce fatigue. Although honey contains more calories than sugar, it is about one-and-a-half times sweeter, which means you need less.

Topical use. Because it contains hydrogen peroxide and has low water activity and low alkalinity, honey is commonly used as an antibacterial agent. It can be applied to acne, cuts, sores, rashes and burns. It has also been successful in treating drug-resistant strains of bacteria, such as MRSA and staph infection.

Disease-fighting capabilities. Honey not only soothes sore throats and calms upset stomachs; it can also save lives. Recently, it has been found effective in helping to treat diabetic ulcers, inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and alleviating allergies.

Memory and emotion. It is also believed that honey can reduce anxiety and improve memory.


Jessica Cline

Jessica is a former editorial assistant at IDEA Health and Fitness Association.

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