Whether you prefer it raw or pasteurized for longer shelf life, you can find many options for honey. More than 300 types are available in the U.S., and many are local! In addition to adding sweetness to foods of all kinds, honey provides other practical uses.
Substitute for Sugar
Honey is a natural substance that adds sweetness to food and beverages. (See these grilled fruit recipes for some ideas.) It even substitutes for sugar in some recipes. Although higher in calories, honey is often sweeter than sugar, so you can use less.*
Some studies link honey to several healthy positives — from reducing the risk for heart disease and relieving diarrhea to helping ease anxiety. Honey may also help ease coughs. For children ages one and older, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends honey to reduce both the severity and frequency of nighttime coughs.*
If you enjoy do-it yourself projects, try this fun and practical one. With beeswax, a couple of oils, and honey, you can make your own lip balm. You will find lots of recipes online that you may customize to your taste. Make a batch and give some as gifts!
Research shows that medical-grade honey applied to the skin helps promote healing and can be used to treat burns and pressure ulcers.
* Never give honey, not even a taste, to infants under 12 months old, as the bacteria in honey can produce toxins in a baby’s stomach that can lead to illness.
Can eating local honey help ease seasonal allergies? No, say medical experts. However, buying local honey still boasts benefits, including unique and rich tastes, reducing your carbon footprint, and supporting our local economy. So the next time you see a sign for local honey, stop in and learn more about this amazing natural substance.
This information was reviewed by Rand Nashi, MD, primary care physician with Emerson Health Primary Care Bedford. To make an appointment with her, call 339-215-5100. To listen to her podcast about how to choose a primary care physician, visit emersonhealth.org/podcast.