Resource: National Honey Board
As Nature’s Sweetener
Honey is sweet – that’s a given. But did you know that honey also adds a special touch to almost any recipe? It’s the whisper at a party. It’s the sigh after the perfect bite. It’s the nostalgic feeling of childhood. It’s your secret ingredient with endless possibilities.
Many people think of honey as a drizzle in desserts or a topping for toast. But now more than ever, honey’s being recognized as a versatile ingredient and pantry staple in the kitchen. All-natural honey gives your recipes unbeatable flavor and unmatched functional benefits. From balancing flavors to providing moisture to baked goods, one-ingredient honey performs a slew of tasks, all from one little bottle.
Discover the versatility of honey…
Sweetener: Honey is slightly sweeter than sugar, so less can be used to achieve the same sweetness intensity.
Flavor: Honey not only imparts a unique flavor to any dish, but it also balances and enhances the flavor profiles of other ingredients used in a recipe.
Emulsifier: Honey acts as a binder and thickener for sauces, dressings, marinades and dips.
Humectant: Honey provides and retains moisture to a variety of dishes and can even extend the shelf life of baked goods.
As a Natural Energy
Honey is a source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon, which makes it ideal for your working muscles since carbohydrates are the primary fuel the body uses for energy. Carbohydrates are necessary in the diet to help maintain muscle glycogen, also known as stored carbohydrates, which are the most important fuel source for athletes to help them keep going. Whether you’re looking for an energy boost or just a sweet reward after a long workout, honey is a quick, easy, and delicious all-natural energy source!
As an Athletic Aid
Pre-exercise: For years, sports nutritionists have recommended eating carbohydrates before an athletic activity for an added energy boost. As with many carbohydrates, pure honey may be an effective form to ingest just prior to exercise. When honey is eaten before a workout or athletic activity, it is released into the system at a steady rate throughout the event.
During Exercise: Consuming carbohydrates, such as honey, during a workout helps your muscles stay nourished longer and delays fatigue, versus not using any aid or supplement. Next time you reach for a simple bottle of water, add some honey to it – it might give you that much-needed athletic boost!
Post-exercise: An optimal recovery plan is essential for any athlete. Research shows that ingesting a combination of carbohydrates and protein immediately following exercise (within 30 minutes) is ideal to refuel and decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness. Therefore, honey is a great source of carbohydrate to combine with post-workout protein supplements. In addition to promoting muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration, carb-protein combinations sustain favorable blood sugar concentrations after training.
As Nature's Cough Suppressant
Honey has been used for centuries to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with a common cold. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, many things can cause a sore throat. These include infections with viruses, such as colds and flu; sinus drainage; allergies; or cigarette smoking, among others. Sore throats caused by bacteria such as streptococci, are usually treated with antibiotics. Always check with your doctor if you have a fever, or if symptoms continue for more than a few days.
Time is the most important healer of sore throats caused by viruses, but for relief of the irritating symptoms, try a spoonful of honey to soothe and coat your throat. Take a spoonful straight, as often as you need, to relieve the irritation. In between, keep up your liquids with a steaming cup of tea sweetened with honey. For added vitamin C, try mixing in orange, grapefruit or lemon juice.
A 2007 study by a Penn State College of Medicine research team found that honey may offer parents an effective alternative to over-the-counter cough medicine. The study found that a small dose of buckwheat honey given before bedtime provided better relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children than no treatment or dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cold medications
As Nature's Skin Care
Manufacturers have used honey in everything from hand lotions and moisturizers to bar soaps and bubble baths. One reason they use honey is for its wholesome, all-natural image; more and more consumers are demanding cosmetics and personal care products made from natural ingredients. In the case of honey, however, image is just the beginning.
First, honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture. This makes honey a natural fit in a variety of moisturizing products including cleansers, creams, shampoos and conditioners.
Look for honey in store-bought beauty products or simply add a squeeze of honey to your moisturizer, shampoo or soap at home. For some extra pampering, try whipping up a simple beauty recipe yourself.