Honey is a sweet and viscous substance made by bees from the nectar of blossoms or honeydew, which is a derivative of the sap of some flowers. There are different types of honey, and each variety has particular organoleptic properties (flavour, aroma, colour, consistency) and healing properties.

Thanks to the delicious flavour, pure honey is an excellent substitute for common sugar and it is, in fact, a more nutritious and healthier alternative. In this guide, we will discover together the different types of honey and the recommendations for making adequate use and consumption.

Here we had selected some of the best quality of honey’s that are listed below.

RANK NO. 1
Manukora MGO 50+ Multifloral Raw Mānuka Honey - Authentic Non-GMO New Zealand...
  • AUTHENTIC RAW MANUKA HONEY: With its medicinal properties and health benefits, Manukora MGO 50+ multifloral, non-GMO Mānuka honey...
  • MGO CERTIFIED: All Manukora products are MGO certified.
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: All of our raw Mānuka honey products are produced in our HACCP certified honey facility in New Zealand. We...
  • NOURISH YOURSELF: MGO 50+ is our entry-level culinary raw Mānuka honey product with a wide range of multi-functional uses. Use in...
  • THE MANUKA EXPERTS: Manukora produces a range of natural, non-GMO Mānuka-based products with a focus on multi-functional benefits...
RANK NO. 2
Nature Nate's 100% Pure Organic, Raw & Unfiltered. Squeeze Bottle; Allnatural...
  • Nature Nate's 100% Pure Organic, Raw & Unfiltered Honey is a sweetener as nature intended. One ingredient: Honey. All we add is...
  • Packaged in a 32-oz. bottle, our 100% pure, USDA Certified Organic Honey is sourced from the protected rainforest of South...
  • Our organic raw & unfiltered honey blend is crafted for exceptional taste. This product is Gluten free and OU Kosher certified.
  • Nature Nate's organic beekeeper partners, family owned for 40 years, care as much as we do about how the natural goodness of honey...
RANK NO. 3
Nature Nate's 100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey, Squeeze Bottle; All-natural...
  • Nature Nate's 100% Pure California Raw & Unfiltered Honey is a naturally delicious sweetener, harvested with care by local...
  • Packaged in a 16-oz. bottle, our California honey pairs nicely with granola, yogurt, coffee, tea, and any food needing a drizzle...
  • Our raw & unfiltered California honey blend is crafted for exceptional taste
  • Nature Nate's California honey is Raw & unfiltered, meaning it is as nature intended, gently warmed for pourability and unfiltered...
RANK NO. 4
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Wildflower Honey, 80 ounce (Previously Solimo)
  • This product was previously a Solimo product. Now it’s part of the Happy Belly brand, the product is exactly the same size and...
  • One 5lb plastic bottle of Happy Belly Wildflower Honey
  • US Grade A, Filtered
  • This product is heated and processed to aid the filtration process
  • The perfect sweetener for teas, other beverages, and baked goods
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BEEKEEPER'S NATURALS Wildflower Honey - Raw, Wildcrafted, and Unprocessed- Rich...
  • GO WILDFLOWER: Carefully harvested from remote apiaries in Ontario, this honey has a lighter sweetness and floral undertones, with...
  • LIQUID GOLD: Raw and wildcrafted—just tons of flower nectar, a bit of pollen, and loads of bee love! Our honey is...
  • TRULY PURE: We never overharvest or cut our honey with other ingredients (like fructose, agave or corn syrup). This honey is 100%...
  • CRYSTALLIZED HONEY: Noticing your honey is a different consistency than you're used to? Not to worry! Crystallization is a NORMAL...
  • PESTICIDE FREE: Our products are always third party lab tested to ensure they never contain pesticide residue or nasty chemicals....
RANK NO. 6
Best of Honey Cone: Ten Best Series
  • Honey Cone- The Best of
  • Audio CD – Audiobook
  • 03/12/2002 (Publication Date) - EMI Special Products (Publisher)
SaleRANK NO. 8
Bee-Keeping for Beginners - A Practical Treatise and Condensed Treatise on the...
  • Brown, J. P. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 126 Pages - 10/31/2016 (Publication Date) - Home Farm Books (Publisher)
RANK NO. 9
COVERGIRL Clean Pressed Powder Foundation Soft Honey 155, .39 oz (packaging may...
  • Let's your skin breathe
  • Dermatologically tested
  • Won't clog pores
  • Non-acnegenic
  • Non-comedogenic
RANK NO. 10
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Raw Wildflower Honey, 32 oz (Previously Solimo)...
  • This product was previously a Solimo product. Now it’s part of the Happy Belly brand, the product is exactly the same size and...
  • One 32-ounce squeeze bottle of Happy Belly Raw Wildflower Honey
  • US Grade A, Unfiltered
  • This product is minimally heated to aid the filtration process
  • The perfect sweetener for teas, other beverages, and baked goods

Everything You Need to Know About Honey

Honey has many properties, mostly unknown to most consumers. Furthermore, each variety of honey has specific indications and distinctive organoleptic properties. In this section, we will go to see these aspects and provide you with all the information necessary for optimal and safe consumption of honey.

What Exactly Is Honey?

Honey is a sweet and viscous substance that is produced by domestic or honey bees ( Apis mellifera ) starting from the nectar of flowers or honeydew, a derivative of the sap of some plants.

Bees drink nectar or honeydew, combine them with substances that produce and process honey, which they then store in honeycombs.

Honey can be monofloral or wildflower, in the first case the bees collect most of the nectar from a single type of flower, in the second from different flowers. The honey obtained from honeydew is called honeydew honey.

Honeydew is a derivative of tree sap produced by some insects, which feed on the sap, retaining its nitrogen and expelling excess sugar liquid.

What Nutrients Does Honey Bring?

The main nutrients of honey are simple sugars. However, the minority components (minerals, polyphenols) are also very important from a nutritional and curative point of view. Let’s see the average chemical composition of pure and authentic honey:

Simple Sugars (carbohydrates) : 82 grams, mostly fructose (28-40 grams) and glucose (22-38 grams). In addition, it provides sucrose and maltose in smaller quantities.

Water: 15-20 millilitres

Proteins or Amino Acids: from 0.3 to 2 grams.

Fat : 0 grams.

Small Amounts of Vitamins: B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin C.

Minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and manganese.

The caloric intake of 100 grams of honey is around 328 kcal. In addition to the nutrients previously mentioned, honey also contains antioxidants and enzymes, the latter coming from the digestive system of the bee.

The most important enzymes are α-glucosidase and glucose-oxidase, responsible for many of the healing properties of honey.

What Are the Healing Properties of Honey?

Honey was used as a food and as a medicine since ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians and the Greeks. There are findings dating back hundreds of years christ that show that honey was used for therapeutic purposes.

Hippocrates used it to treat sores and skin ulcers. Nowadays the following properties of honey are known:

  • It Is an Antimicrobial Substance Since It Inhibits the Growth of Pathogens (bacteria, Fungi, Viruses). Its antibacterial activity is one of the most studied and it seems that it can prevent bacteria from proliferating in wounds, causing infection. In the oral cavity, it inhibits the development of bacteria responsible for dental caries.
  • It Has a Slight Laxative Effect Thanks to Its Fructose Content. This can be useful for people suffering from constipation.
  • It Has Antioxidant Properties Since It Neutralizes Free Radicals, Molecules that Cause Oxidative Damage. Higher levels of antioxidants in the blood are related to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and premature ageing.
  • It Acts as A Natural Anti-Inflammatory, Not only When Consumed Orally, but Also when Used Topically. Applying honey to injured skin reduces inflammation. Massaging the gums and gargle with honey helps the treatment of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).
  • Relieves Burning in The Throat, Promotes the Expulsion of Bronchial Secretions (expectorant) and Decreases Cough (antitussive). For this, honey is often consumed to minimize the symptoms of colds and bronchitis.
  • Contributes to Digestion Thanks to The Enzymes Contained. Calms indigestion and promotes the expulsion of gas.
  • It Is a Natural Prebiotic. This means that the oligosaccharides contained in honey act as a substrate for the beneficial bacteria found in the colon.
  • It Improves Sports Performance in Aerobic Activities (cycling, Marathons, Etc …) because its simple sugars are used as a rapid energy source by the muscle. Honey is also useful for restoring glycogen stores after physical activity.
  • It Prevents Anemia. The consumption of flower honey is associated with a greater quantity of red blood cells and with higher haemoglobin levels.
  • Contributes to The Treatment of Gastric Ulcers, Gastritis and Gastroenteritis. Honey inhibits the development of the Helicobacter pylori bacterium which causes gastritis and peptic ulcer.
  • It Accelerates the Healing of Wounds, both externally (for example, ulcers, burns or skin sores), and internally (peptic ulcer).
  • Helps Relax and Improves Sleep Quality.
  • It Offers Fast Energy and Helps Fight Fatigue.

What Types of Honey Are There?

The broader and simpler classification distinguishes the types of honey according to the substrate that bees collect and subsequently transform.

According to this criterion, there is flower honey and honeydew honey. Although the nutritional profile is similar, as we will see in this table, each type of honey has its own characteristics:

Flower Honey – bees collect the nectar from the flowers and then turn it into honey. It can be monofloral if it contains between 45% and 70% of the pollen of a single type of flower, or wildflower if it contains the nectar of different types of flowers. In the following table, we summarize the main characteristics of the most popular monofloral honey.

Honeydew Honey – bees collect the non-floral secretions of the plants or the products expelled by some insects that feed on the sap of the plants. From this substrate, bees produce honey. Forest honey is an example of honeydew honey. It has a dark colour, a malt aroma and a sweet taste with salty notes.

How Can Honey Be Used on The Skin?

You can use honey on the skin for cosmetic or healing purposes. Thanks to its healing, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey is a really useful natural ingredient to treat acne, pressure ulcers, or pressure sores (skin lesions that can appear if you spend a lot of time in the same position), dermatitis and rashes.

As for its cosmetic use, honey can be used on the face to nourish, clean, brighten and soften the skin. It also prevents the appearance of pimples and delays the formation of wrinkles. You can apply the honey alone on the wet face or you can mix it with other ingredients (oats, coconut oil, lemon juice).

How Can Honey Be Consumed?

Although the most popular way is to spread it on a slice of bread or use it to sweeten tea, this sweet and viscous food can be used in the kitchen in many other ways.

The important thing is to avoid heating it too much so as not to deteriorate its nutritional properties. You can consume honey in the following ways:

  • As a sweetener in smoothies, milk, coffee, tea or yoghurt.
  • As a sugar substitute in baked goods, such as biscuits, bread and cakes.
  • As a topping of breakfast cereals, sweets and waffles.
  • As an ingredient in sauces and condiments.

Can Those Who Are Allergic to Bee Venom Consume Honey?

Bee poison allergy is not dangerous for everyone. Some people allergic to bee stings can consume honey without any problem. However, allergy doctors recommend avoiding honey, especially if it is pure honey, because it may contain remains of bee venom and thus trigger an allergic reaction.

Why Is Manuka Honey so Popular with Industry and Consumers?

Manuka honey is obtained from the shrub of the same name, originally from Australia and New Zealand. Researchers have identified a special compound in this honey, methylglyoxal (MGO), which appears to have potent antibacterial, healing and antioxidant activity.

The higher the MGO content of honey, the more effective its healing and cosmetic properties will be.

What Side Effects Can Honey Cause?

It is not common for honey to cause side effects, but if consumed in large quantities it could cause discomfort and stomach swelling.

In the case of an allergic reaction to honey (or pollen present in honey), symptoms include dizziness, weakness, sweating, nasal discharge, skin rashes and a feeling of swelling in the throat.

Does the Use of Honey Have Contraindications?

Honey has few contraindications, however, there are two situations in which its consumption is absolutely not recommended: infants under 12 months (due to the risk of botulinum) and people who suffer from severe allergies to honey, pollen or bee venom.

Diabetic people should consult their doctor before consuming honey.

Purchase Criteria

The wonderful properties of honey that we have explained in this article are only ensured in the case of pure honey. Very often this food is counterfeited and, consequently, its benefits disappear.

For this reason, before purchasing a product, it is important to make sure that it is 100% authentic honey, always taking into consideration the following purchase criteria:

  • Purity and authenticity
  • Origin
  • Variety
  • Quality-price-effectiveness ratio
  • Certifications

Purity and Authenticity

As we have often repeated in the article, honey is one of the products that is adulterated more frequently. There are laboratory chemical analyzes to prove its authenticity and purity.

But how can you understand if the honey you usually buy is adulterated? There are some simple tests, which you can do at home to make sure that the honey you have purchased is pure:

  • Put a spoonful of honey in a glass of water: if it dissolves easily, it is adulterated honey. Pure honey will instead stick to the spoon and will not dissolve.
  • Mix the honey with a little water and a drop of vinegar: the foaming is another sign of adulteration.
  • Place honey in a tissue: if a moist halo forms around it, the product is adulterated.

It is very difficult to recognize adulterated honey before purchase, however, according to a general rule, we should not trust those who seem very liquid and fluid.

Also, do not buy products with the wording “honey food” on the label, as it will be a mixture of honey with other sugars, including high fructose corn syrup.

Origin

Although honey adulterations and counterfeits may come from any country, honey produced in Italy, Spain, New Zealand, the United States of America and Turkey has a good reputation.

Instead, honey from India or China should be avoided, as some lots contaminated with heavy metals and chloramphenicol (toxic antibiotic) have been identified.

Variety

The variety of honey not only determines some of the particular healing properties but also influences the flavour, aroma, consistency and colour.

There are many types of honey: thyme, orange blossom, forest, Manuka, rosemary etc. In the first table of the article, we have seen the properties and characteristics of the most common varieties of honey. Choose the one you think is best for you.

Quality-Price-Effectiveness Relationship

Manuka honey is the most expensive because of its excellent healing and cosmetic properties. It is formidable healing and anti-acne.

Furthermore, it can be applied to inflamed gums to obtain an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. Instead, to relieve fever and cold, eucalyptus honey is the best option, given its effectiveness at a lower price.

Certifications

Manuka honey must have a certification that ensures the content of methylglyoxal (MGO). This is expressed as milligrams (mg) of MGO per kilogram of honey, and the concentration of this compound can vary between 100 and 800 mg.

Also, people with celiac disease should make sure they buy honey that is certified gluten-free.

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