TECH 5 for April 11, 2014 – Honey Bees

ben-harrison-213x300Good afternoon and welcome to another Tech 5 program and a five minute trip into the amazing world of technology. This is Ben Harrison.

Today, I’d like to share a bit about one of my favourite foods, Honey.

What is Honey?
Honey is a 100% pure and natural sweetener. Its name comes from the English hunig, and it was the first and most widespread sweetener used by man. In the Old Testament of the Bible, Israel was often referred to as “the land of milk and honey.” Mead, an alcoholic drink made from honey was called the “nectar of the gods”. Of greatest importance to humans is the fact that bees are responsible for pollinating flowers plus fruits, legumes, vegetables and other types of food-producing plants.

Nearly one million tons of honey is produced worldwide every year. It is considered a miracle food that never goes bad. Archaeologists have found 2000 year old jars of delicious tasting honey in Egyptian tombs.
Cave paintings in Spain from 7000BC show the earliest records of beekeeping, however, fossils of honey bees date back about 150 million years, and the earliest written record of keeping bees in hives was found in the sun temple near Cairo Egypt erected in 2400BC.
The ancient Egyptians used honey as a sweetener, and as a gift to their gods and even as an ingredient in embalming fluid. According to one legend, the body of Alexander the Great was preserved in a clay vessel full of honey (which can act as a preservative) and interred in a glass coffin.
The Greeks used honey as not only an important food, but also as a healing medicine. Greek recipes books were full of sweetmeats and cakes made from honey.
The Romans used honey as a gift to their gods and they used it extensively in cooking’
Bees were thought to have special powers and they were often used as emblems: Pope Urban VIII used the bee as his emblem; The bee was the sign of the king of Lower Egypt during the First Dynasty (3,200BC);Napoleon’s flag carried a single line of bees in flight, and his robe was embroidered with bees; In the third century BC, the bee was the emblem used on coins in the Greek city of Ephesus; Once Christianity was established, honey and beeswax production increased greatly to meet the demand for church candles.
Honeybees must tap over two million flowers to make one pound of honey, flying a distance equal to more than three times around the world.

Honey has impressive health benefits: It is a source of simple carbohydrates. Its composition on average is 17.1 percent water, 82.4 percent total carbohydrate and 0.5 percent proteins The average carbohydrate content is mainly fructose (38.5 percent) and glucose (31percent). The remaining 12.9 percent of carbohydrates is made up of maltose, sucrose and other sugars.
Honey also contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. The vitamins found in honey may include (depending on floral source) niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid; minerals include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Just as the color and flavour of honey varies by floral source, so does the vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and amino acid content.
The use of honey as a wound dressing goes back to ancient times and has now been ‘rediscovered’ by modern medicine, according to Dr. Peter Molan of the University of Waikato, New Zealand. “It is a common observation in the many reports in medical journals that numerous benefits result from using honey to dress wounds.” The antibacterial properties of honey may help clear infection in wounds, and the anti-inflammatory action may reduce pain and may improve circulation which hastens the healing process. According to Dr. Molan, “Honey stimulates the re-growth of tissue involved in healing, making healing faster and reducing scarring.”
Honey and Diabetes: Honey is an excellent food product, but it is not all things to all people. Beware of unsubstantiated claims: In numerous health and nutrition journals, honey has been touted as a miracle food and sugar substitute for diabetics: A frequently asked question is: “I have diabetes, and I’m wondering if I can substitute honey for sugar in my diet?
Dr. David Baer, from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center stated at the First International Symposium on Honey and Human Health in January 2008, “Experimental evidence suggests that consumption of honey compared to other sweeteners may improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.” Honey is indeed the sweetener of choice for diabetics.

Whereas, Dr. Maria Collaz- Clavell M.D. from the Mayo Clinic in the USA responded:
Honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so you might use a smaller amount of honey for sugar in some recipes. But honey actually has slightly more carbohydrates and more calories per teaspoon than does granulated sugar . If you prefer the taste of honey, go ahead and use it — but only in moderation. Be sure to count the carbohydrates in honey as part of your diabetes eating plan.”