Honey: A Health Food

This Product of the Bee, of Value in Health and Illness

By  G. C. Dunn

            Great Britain at the present time is importing something like 3,000 tons of honey annually, according to the latest statistics. Most of this honey finds its way in from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, while not a little comes from Jamaica.

It has been estimated that only 4 ozs. of honey per head of population is consumed annually in this country; perhaps this is owing to the fact that the general public do not realize so much the value of honey as a food, one of the best foods at that.

The Australian honey is somewhat pungent in flavor, as it is mostly gathered from trees. Honey derived from the United States, Canada, and New Zealand is mainly blended with the native honey of this country to give the added flavor which they would not otherwise possess. The Jamaican honey is also of good quality, except that there is too much cane sugar present.

What is Honey?

Honey is the sweets of the flowers, or nectar; when it is first gathered by the bees it contains about 60 to 80 per cent water, but after going through a process of ripening within the hive, may contain as little as 20 per cent of water. Certain changes in its chemical constitution take place within the body of the bee, so that the cane sugar is converted into dextrose and levulose, or “invert” sugar, the most easily assimulated form of sugar; and it is the presence of this sugar that makes so much difference between cane sugar and genuine honey. The mineral constituents of honey included small percentages of iron, phosphorus, sodium, lime, manganese, sulphur, and potassium.

The Food Value of Honey

So many of our ailments can be traced to deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, and honey is rich in both of these materials.

A well-known medical practitioner has said “A perfect diet is best provided by foods eaten as far as practicable in their entirety, and in natural and untreated condition. In the case of the essential energizing food, sugar for example, the fruits and honey present it in most suitable and digestible forms for the maintenance of the bodily heat, and as the main source of muscular energy.”

For the production of this energy one pound of pure honey is equivalent in food value to 30 new laid eggs or 6 pints of milk. As natural foods, such as milk, fruit and vegetables and nuts, are best eaten raw, this may be said equally of honey, as it is the natural product of the flowers, with this one marked difference, that it is therefore in a condition to be absorbed immediately into the human system.

Medicinal Value of Honey

Since honey is a pre-digested food, and contains so many valuable mineral elements, it is of great value to invalids, as it can be assimilated by the weakest digestion, and is unsurpassed as a tonic. It has given remarkable results in building up stamina in athletes taking part in the Olympic Games; by member of the University boat race crews; and in fact, in many cases requiring intense physical exertion. Honey is a restorer of energy.

“My son, eat thou honey because it is good.”

“Butter and honey shall he eat that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.” bible tributes for the best of all foods and medicines.

Dr. G. N. Thomas said in The Lancet some time ago: “In several cases of malnutrition with heart weakness I have found honey to have a marked effect in reviving the heart’s action and keeping the patient alive, and I had further evidence of this in a recent case of pneumonia.”

New Health