Honey – Liquid Gold for Human Health
Honey is in essence, a sweet, viscous, edible substance that is made by bees and wasps from the nectar found in flowers. The value and quality of honey are often measured by its color. For instance, clear, golden honey is considered to be of higher quality and generates a higher retail value in comparison to darker varieties of honey. Additionally, the flavor of specific types of honey varies as per the type of flower the nectar is harvested from. The most common types of honey are acacia, alfalfa, buckwheat, clover, and wildflower honey. The wildflower honey is known to be the most popular amongst these, for its distinct flavor, and high quality. There are various forms of honey available for consumer use, such as raw and pasteurized. Raw honey is extracted from hives and packaged directly and may contain traces of yeast, wax, and pollen, whereas pasteurized honey is heated and processed to remove these traces and impurities.
Honey has a large number of health benefits, such as antiseptic, antibacterial, and healing properties, and has been used in the field of medicine for more than 5000 years. In fact, some drawings from around 8000 years ago have also found depictions of honey extraction. Honey is often used to heal wounds and burns, reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea, prevent acid reflux, and prevent infections and cold-cough symptoms. Raw honey consumption also helps with seasonal allergies due to exposure to pollen.
Honey is also being adopted as an alternative to sugar nowadays. The increasing prevalence of diabetes and obesity globally has raised the health consciousness among consumers, leading to lesser consumption of sugar and switching to honey. Due to this, the popularity and demand of organic honey and raw honey has increased tenfold. Honey also has detoxification properties, which help the human body. In recent years, the uses of honey have spread to various end-use industries such as pharmaceuticals, and personal care products, yet the food and beverage industry has the highest demand for honey, owing to its vast range of applications in various food items. The unique taste of honey also enhances the flavor of daily-use food items such as toast, yogurt, cereal, cakes, and salads, among others. But medical professionals advice against excessive consumption of honey as well, owing to its sucrose content, thus the suggested amount of honey consumption is around three tablespoons for men and two tablespoons for women.
Recently, there has been a massive drop in honey bee mortality rate is expected to have a considerable impact on the honey industry and the rest of the agricultural and food supply sectors, owing to the consequential drop in natural pollination. There are around eight species of honey bees on the global endangered list. The reasons that have caused honey bees to become endangered are the increased usage of insecticides, and the increasing occurrence of Colony Collapse Disorder, which takes place when most of the worker bees from the hive disappear, leaving behind only the queen bee and nursing honey bees to maintain the hive, that is, ensure the development of honey and nurture the larvae. This has led to a drop in natural honeybee hives. As a result, there is a rise in the initiatives by governments and animal rights activists, along with beekeepers to stop the extinction of honeybees may also have an impact on the honey market.
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