Apis dorsata – the honey bees found in the areas of Himalaya is the world’s largest honey bee species of apis. Typically found in lowlands of Himalaya, these bees provide us with the energy blast of 190KJ from just a tablespoon of honey- known as Maach in Kashmiri, Madhu in Hindi and Shehad in Urdu. The apis mellifera bees collect nectar from Himalayan flowers, construct a beehive and formulate honey in the honeycombs.
Nothing is as sweet as honey. The amber-colored viscous liquid is sweetly aromatic and valoured. Honey has a rich amount of antioxidants and acts as a great energizer.
The honey produced by apis bees is the best known to be consumed by humans. Through the agricultural science known as apiculture, we have managed to culture honey by domestication, other than getting it from wild bee colonies.
Honey acquires its sweetness from monosaccharides fructose and glucose, giving the same amount of sweetness as sucrose-table sugar.
No microorganisms grow in honey. This is the reason it can be stored for 1000s of years without going stale.
Bees suck the nectar out of flowers through their proboscis- a long tubular structure for the mouth part and place them in their honey stomach. 40mg of nectar can be held in it.
Through a natural regulatory act by bees as a miracle, they tend to maintain the temperature of honey storage areas to 35 degrees Celsius. On an average bee produce 29 kg of honey per year from the colonies.
Earlier bee colonies were destroyed to collect honey. But now keepers have developed removable frames so that hives aren’t destroyed. Beekeepers provide the bees with enough honey to survive the winters and take all from them on the arrival of spring. Sometimes they substitute the honey with crystalline sugar.
As I mentioned earlier, honey can stay fresh and healthy to be consumed for even 3000 years. Care should be taken to limit its access to humidity. GLUCOSE Oxidase that bees expel along with nectar suppresses the growth of bacteria. This enzyme is also responsible for the acidity of the honey.
Honey is hydrophilic that is why if let into moisture, it will be diluted to the point of fermentation.
We need to be aware of what we are consuming. Everything we consume has a replica with lower standards. And mostly to target certain population groups, for world politics gain, degraded food quality is being served to bring down the population outburst that has taken place in the last few decades. Water, sweeteners, corn syrup and cane sugar are the adulterants added with honey and then label it as pure honey.
Honey Production in India:
India stands 6th globally in the apiculture and production of honey. 67442 tonnes of honey are produced annually.
Top grade quality honey comes from Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
The best place to purchase honey from is the Bandipora district of J&K. Other states that support beekeeping are Punjab, Haryana, U.P, and West Bengal.
Benefits of Consuming Honey:
Nectar from sugar-rich flowers is collected by the honey bees which they continuously consume and digest. The product obtained acts as stored food for these bees, yet we humans collect it from them with the arrival of spring. This is honey. Its taste and aroma completely depend upon the types of flowers the bee has visited. A single tablespoon of honey is packed with 17 grams of combined glucose, fructose, maltose and sucrose. This also serves 65 calories. The almost negligible amount of Vitamins and minerals are present in honey with no fiber, protein or fat.
However, honey is rich in plant compounds that nectar was obtained from actually and the antioxidants.
Having a higher content of flavonoids, honey is said to increase antioxidants levels in the blood. The benefits of antioxidants alone are innumerable. To count some are:
- Keeping youth for a longer time.
- Delaying aging.
- Reducing the risk of heart attacks.
- Reducing the risk of some cancers even.
- Better retention power.
- Beautiful skin and hair.
- Promoting eye health.
- Keeping energized.
- Reducing blood pressure levels.
Honey raises HDL cholesterol levels in the body and reduces LDL. Honey is a better alternative to sugar for those who are hyperglycemic. However, in general, the views are mixed. Nevertheless honey reduces heart diseases.
- Honey consumption lowers the triglycerides levels by nearly 12 percent.
- Honey helps in the dilation of arteries in the heart.
- Blood flow is increased.
- Honey also helps in preventing the formation of blood clots, which guards against heart strokes.
Honey also supports healing wounds and burns and is a known ancient practice.
Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties as well. This is why people with severe cough and cold are suggested to consume honey.
Honey furthermore helps in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers, conditions like psoriasis and herpes lesions.
How much honey to eat a day:
I guess 2 tablespoons of honey are good to be consumed per day. Else honey is known to increase body heat. One must avoid taking it in summers or if he wants to try drinking it in hot water in the morning. This if taken regularly along with lemon will keep body weight and fat in check. in fact help in reducing those.
I suggest consuming honey on alternate days. If you desperately want to reduce our body weight then I suggest you must eat a tablespoon of honey before bed. This helps in faster burning of fats.
Difference between raw honey and Regular Honey:
Raw honey is basically the one obtained from the hives. This may be filtered or unfiltered with comb particles, debris, dead bees maybe or even pollens.
Pure honey is on the other hand pasteurized. Pasteurized honey is intensely heated and contains sugar. This is also known as regular honey. Pasteurization reduces the number of antioxidants and nutrients yet kills yeast cells that increase the shelf-life.
The color of raw honey varies from yellow-gold to amber, depending on the nectar from which it was obtained. However, regular honey is somewhat brownish in color.
Bee pollen that can be present in the liquid as dirt is known to have pain-relieving properties. Also, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are present in this so claimed uncleansed grub.
Types of Honey:
- RAW HONEY: the one that is directly obtained from the hives.
- REGULAR HONEY: pasteurized, maybe with added sugars.
- PURE HONEY: pasteurized yet with no added ingredients.
- MANUKA HONEY: honey obtained from sucking the nectar out of manuka bush.
- FOREST HONEY: bees take honeydew from forest trees rather than the nectar out of flowers. This honey is darker than the rest.
- ACACIA HONEY: lighter in color and obtained when bees suck nectar from black locust trees.