Updated: Mar 31
FoodPairing with purpose® for Honey
There are many reasons why honey has been such an important food around the world for so many centuries. Yes, it tastes good and has many uses, but it also has a number of important health benefits.
Did you know that honey, if stored correctly, will not go bad or expire? Honey that is thousands of years old has been found unspoiled. This is because it contains very little water, and most bacteria or microorganisms cannot grow or survive in these conditions. It is also extremely acidic, so anything that tries to grow it in will likely die off quite quickly[i].
The best way to store honey so that it remains at its best is to keep it in an airtight container[ii]. You may want to consider having some honey around your home at all times, since it has many health benefits.
Honeybees collect nectar to create honey and store it as food. Inside the honeycomb, the nectar that is collected by bees from flowers is broken down into simple sugars and stored. Over time, evaporation creates liquid honey[iii].
Honey is mentioned as far back in history as can be recalled. It was mentioned in Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings back in 2100 BC, as well as in the sacred writings of India and Egypt[iv]. Even cave paintings from 7000 BC in Spain show the earliest records of beekeeping[v].
Honey Health Benefits
While honey itself is basically pure sugar, and only contains small amounts of vitamins and nutrients, it is rich in plant compounds known as polyphenols[vi]. These work as antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants are very powerful. They can help combat environmental harm, including UV damage and pollution[vii], and aid in the treatment of many issues.
Antioxidants can also protect the body from inflammation. Inflammation can cause several health issues including autoimmune disorders, cancers, and more[viii]. In addition, honey can be beneficial for those who have cardiovascular diseases or other heart issues. This is because antioxidants can help prevent heart disease[ix].
Honey also has antibacterial properties. It has been found to heal wounds, and help treat ulcers, bed sores, burns, skin sores, and more[x].
There is also evidence that not only can honey help reduce coughs, but it can also treat upper respiratory tract infections[xi].
Honey Food Pairings
There are a lot of great ways to eat honey. It can be used as a spread, added to recipes, melted into drinks, and much more. However, some food pairings are especially beneficial. Here are a few excellent honey food pairings that don’t just taste good, but that also help improve your health or treat certain conditions or issues.
Honey + milk
o Eating this combination can help improve anemia (which makes you feel tired and weak) and relieve dysmenorrhea, which is the severe and frequent menstrual cramps and pain during a period
Honey + cucumber
o Honey and cucumbers together can ease digestion problems and help relieve constipation
Honey + carrots
o The combination of honey and carrots has a detoxifying effect on the body. This is primarily due to the antioxidants in both foods[xii].
Honey + oranges
o Eating honey along with oranges can help relieve gas, reduce the risk of vomiting, and keep you feeling full, so you’ll eat less.
Honey + pears
o Honey on its own is great for relieving coughs[xiii], but when combined with pears this effect is increased.
Who Shouldn’t Eat Honey?
Eating honey with soy milk can produce a substance that may reduce the absorption of nutrients by the human body.
While there are many health benefits to honey, there are some people who should not eat it. First of all, babies younger than one year should not eat honey. This is because honey may contain certain bacteria that babies cannot properly handle[xiv]. As you get older, your digestive system is able to properly process this bacteria.
Those with diabetes should also avoid honey due to its sugar content. It can affect your blood sugar level in the same way that granulated sugar can[xv].
Those who have a spleen deficiency or commonly experience diarrhea may also wish to avoid honey. Honey can also potentially worsen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is because it is high in fructose, which can worsen bloating, gas, and other digestive issues.
There are also a few foods that should not be eaten with honey. For instance, eating honey with soy milk can produce a substance that may reduce the absorption of nutrients by the human body.
In addition, eating honey and lettuce together can cause stomach discomfort and lead to diarrhea.
References: [i] Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2022 September 7. The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life . https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-science-behind-honeys-eternal-shelf-life-1218690/ [ii] Martha Stewart. Retrieved 2022 September 7. What's the Best Way to Store Honey—and How Long Will it Last? https://www.marthastewart.com/1539484/how-store-honey-best-ways [iii] National Honey Board. Retrieved 2022 September 7. How Honey is Made. https://honey.com/about-honey/how-honey-is-made [iv] The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2022 September 7. What Is Honey? https://www.thespruceeats.com/honey-history-1807611 [v] The Honey Association. Retrieved 2022 September 7. A brief history of honey. https://www.honeyassociation.com/about-honey/history [vi] Healthline. Retrieved 2022 September 7. 7 Unique Health Benefits of Honey. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-honey [vii] Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center. Retrieved 2022 September 7. What are Polyphenols? Another Great Reason to Eat Fruits and Veggies. https://www.chhs.colostate.edu/krnc/monthly-blog/what-are-polyphenols-another-great-reason-to-eat-fruits-and-veggies/ [viii] WedMD. Retrieved 2022 September 7. Honey: Are There Health Benefits? https://www.webmd.com/diet/honey-health-benefits [ix] Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2022 September 7. Honey. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-honey/art-20363819 [x] CNN. Retrieved 2022 September 7. The proven health benefits of honey. https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/15/health/honey-health-benefits [xi] Health.com. Retrieved 2022 September 7. 5 Health Benefits of Honey, According to a Nutritionist. https://www.health.com/food/health-benefits-honey [xii] WebMD. Retrieved 2022 September 7. Carrots. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/benefits-carrots [xiii] May Clinic. Retrieved 2022 September 7. Is it true that honey calms coughs better than cough medicine does? https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/cough/expert-answers/honey/faq-20058031 [xiv] Kids Health. Retrieved 2022 September 7. Can I Feed My Baby Honey? https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/honey-botulism.html [xv] Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2022 September 7. Diabetes foods: Can I substitute honey for sugar? https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/expert-answers/diabetes/faq-20058487