Honey: how to consume, choose, preserve and know if it is pure | nutrition

A sweet nectar with color variations between yellow, brown or brown, thick and honeyed, which is totally produced in nature and is still very rich in nutrients and vitamins beneficial to human health. It’s a life’s work: that of bees. May 20 is the day of these insects indispensable for human existence, which not only pollinate flowers, but are also self-sufficient and have an enviable organizational scheme in hives. Since the dawn of the world, honey has been used by man for at least 10 thousand years, both as a food, for bathing and also in medical treatment.

Developed from the nectar of flowers and processed by the digestive enzymes of bees, honey is a source of carbohydrates, a very important macronutrient for quickly supplying energy to the body’s cells.

+ Source of energy, honey can replace the carbohydrate gel in long exercises
+ Natural sugar alternatives with less impact on health and weight

Honey is a natural sweetener with anti-inflammatory properties – Photo: Istock Getty Images

Functional properties of honey for the human organism:

  • Anti-inflammatory;
  • antioxidant;
  • antimicrobial;
  • bactericidal;
  • Antibiotic;
  • I take vitamin C;
  • Rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc;
  • immune system enhancer;
  • Improves intestinal function;
  • Promotes more beautiful and healthier skin;
  • Stimulates the production of serotonin – neurotransmitter responsible for the sensation of pleasure and well-being;
  • It is directly associated with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle;
  • It is a good source of energy for before exercise;
  • Helps prevent diseases such as cardiovascular and hypertension as well.

The antimicrobial, antibiotic and bactericidal action of honey is able to inhibit the proliferation and fight the microorganisms responsible for throat inflammation. That way, in addition to all the other benefits, the honey still does helps relieve symptoms such as sore throats and breathing problems.

Contraindications – Honey should not be used by:

  • Children under the age of one year;
  • People with diabetes;
  • People with a honey allergy;
  • In case of fructose intolerance.

The recommendation for use, so that it does not affect a healthy diet, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), it is a maximum of 50 g / day of any sugar. According to the nutritionist the ideal is to try to reduce consumption to 25 g / day. Therefore, the consumption of honey should be very moderate: about a full spoon a day is enough.

– As a source of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates (fructose and glucose), Honey is a good energy option for those who train and can be used before and during training. The amount will depend on the intensity, time and type of training of each athlete. Its functional properties help in the recovery of damage caused by physical activity, such as inflammation, low immunity and excess free radicals generated – reports nutritionist Michelle Ferreira.

Nutri Review: Honey, Sweetener or Sugar? Which is best for your health?

– In my clinical practice, I always advise and encourage patients to try to get used to the natural taste of food, without the need to sweeten it. When it is necessary to sweeten, use honey or brown sugar in moderation! Approximately 1 teaspoon or soup per day, depending on the patient profile and the time of day to be used. Honey, of course, is the better option for sweetening than mainly refined sugar, demerara, and sweeteners., at least for non-diabetic patients with fructose intolerance. In addition to the sweet taste, honey has amazing functional properties that help maintain and balance health – says expert Michelle Ferreira.

How to choose the ideal honey?

Jean-Philippe Marelli controls his hive and the production of his honey – Photo: Personal archive / Alfa Dolfini

Jean-Philippe Marelli has been a beekeeper and beekeeper for 2 years. According to him, honey is one of the most adulterated products that exist after its extraction. It is very easy to find it mixed with sugar syrup or cane molasses and still has a very similar consistency to that of pure honey. One of the ways to know if honey is adulterated or not is through a test that Jean teaches:

  • Put a few drops of iodine in a small amount of honey, if it takes on a bluish color, the honey is not pure. If it is pure, there will be no color change.

Also according to the beekeeper, the great factor that makes adulteration of honey harmful is that it modifies its properties. Pure bee honey has unique vitamins and antimicrobial agents, as they are developed through bee-specific enzymes, so when honey is adulterated, its nutritional properties decrease. The best way to guarantee the quality of the honey you buy is to preferably consume it from local producers.

– If possible, always choose to buy honey directly from a local beekeeper. If that’s not an option, try to pay attention to the origin of the honey and look for a certification seal such as organic or family farming. These are strong indicators of quality honey. I also suggest avoiding imported honeys, they do not have the same quality as domestic ones – guides the specialist.

  1. When buying honey, buy pure and preferably organic honey;
  2. Organic honey is distinguished by not containing chemicals such as antibiotics, pesticides and pesticides;
  3. It is important to check the seal of the Federal Inspection Service (SIF) on the package. This seal is the guarantee that the product has passed the inspection of the Ministry of Agriculture and complies with the regulations to be marketed;
  4. Prefer honey packaged in a glass package rather than a plastic package. This avoids contamination with toxic substances present in the plastic;
  5. If there is some kind of preservative and acidifier in the list of ingredients, the honey is not pure, so it is not recommended.

Why are there different types of honey?

A hive can contain between 30 and 50,000 bees – Photo: Disclosure / Getty Images

In Brazil there are many varieties of the product. They have distinct characteristics and change according to the plant from which the nectar is extracted, the geographical position of these vegetation and the species of bees that produce them. Therefore, honey can have different textures, flavors and colors. The most common blooms are: orange blossom honey and wild flowers, eucalyptus, assa-peixe and liana-grape. Discover the characteristics of each flower and choose the honey that best suits your tastes.

According to the beekeeper, each species of plant has a specific composition in the nectar of its flowers, the sugary substance produced by the flowers to attract bees. At the same time that bees visit flowers to collect nectar, they fill up with pollen and carry these remains in their bodies from flower to flower, thus carrying out the process of pollination or fertilization of the flowers. In this way, since each flower has a specific nectar with a particular taste and fragrance, they also generate honey with a specific flavor and aroma, depending on the flowers and bees that are used to extract this honey. In addition to these two processes, it is worth remembering that bees also collect some of this pollen and store it as a protein reserve.

Why does honey crystallize? How to store?

Crystallized honey doesn’t mean it’s spoiled, quite the opposite – Photo: Istock Getty Images

It is common for some people to realize that after some storage, honey can end up crystallizing in the package itself. This raises some doubts about the origin and quality of honey, but the beekeeper says that the fact that the honey crystallizes is not bad at all, on the contrary; in fact it represents a sign of the purity of the product.

– The product can end up crystallizing because the sugars in honey can take on a solid form at low temperatures or depending on the type of flower that generated the honey. This isn’t bad, it actually shows that honey is pure. To reverse the crystallization, just put the honey in a water bath for a few minutes so that the crystallization melts and the honey returns to its normal appearance – teaches Jean-Philippe Marelli.

The best way to store honey to increase its shelf life is to keep it in a cool place. There are no great mysteries or specific archiving techniques. What beekeepers advise is not to store honey in the refrigerator.

  1. It is recommended to store it in a cool place, away from sunlight.
  2. The ideal is to use the packaging in which it is sold.
  3. Avoid metal containers that can oxidize and alter the composition of the honey.
  4. It is also not recommended to store honey in the refrigerator, as it will become firmer. This way it will not always be ready for consumption in liquid form.
  5. Prefer well sealed containers, which prevent the entry of air.
  6. Usually the shelf life of honey sold in the markets is two years, as after this period, variations in its texture, color, aroma and flavor can occur, for example. However, the product can last much longer than two years if well maintained.

Honey is one of the most stable products in existence due to its high sugar content and low water content, which greatly increases its shelf life. Sugars are hygroscopic, meaning they have little water, but can absorb moisture when exposed. However, microorganisms that survive these conditions are rare, making it less likely that the product will be corrupted or “spoiled” by bacteria, at the same time, honey is extremely acidic. Its pH is between 3 and 4.5 – where 7 is a neutral pH – and this acidity is capable of killing many microorganisms.

Jean-Philippe Marelli He was scientific director, beekeeper and beekeeper for 2 years.
Michelle Ferreira is a nutritionist from the Nutrindo Idealis team, specializing in functional sports nutrition, specializing in women’s health and fertility. CRN 06100215. Instagram: @michelleferreiranutri

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