Engrained in our minds is the echoed voice of our grandmother, who swore by honey and warm water, a renaissance remedy to get rid of a nasty cough or cold – a magic potion that by now we are all highly familiar with. Other than being the perfect anti-bacterial prescription to curb that lousy flu, honey also boasts with various health benefits on consumption.
The variants of honey are numerous, depending on the region and the flower that has been kissed by the busy-busy bee. Packed with natural sugar, the different types of honey come with a distinctive aroma, taste, consistency and colour. So, as to get a better idea, we take a closer look into the ever so sweet world of liquid gold in India.
All things honey
Societé Naturelle, a niche brand, still developing here, is the first company in India to deal with honey that has not been processed – straight from the beehive.
Processed honey undergoes a heating process that fails to retain certain antioxidants that render a treasure trunk of advantages to a healthier, happier life. This makes it crucial to read the labels in hand wisely before picking up a bottle of honey at the grocery store.
“Our limited but selected portfolio consists of a range of organic honey. This includes eight different types of honey – Forest, Acacia, Mustard, Jamun, Lychee, Eucalyptus, Coriander and Raw Honey,” explains Preet Singh, Co-Founder Societé Naturelle.
Singh continues, “Each of these variants of honeys come from the nectar collected by honeybees from different parts of India, with
different flora, a distinct taste, colour and properties. No flavour or additives have been used to create these varieties of honey.”
Then there is Beelicious. Their Classic Honey comes from a selection of flowers from the valleys of North India, whereas on the other hand, their Kashmiri Honey has been extracted solely from the Kashmiri belt. Both these regional variants of Beelicious honey withhold all the enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants that an unfiltered honey must possess.
Partner, Kayan Motashaw shares, “Our approach to procuring honey means staying close to the natural rhythms of the season in each geographic area from where we source. Our team is equipped with specialised, portable, imported test kits to assess quality right on site. We try to retain all the enzymes, antioxidants, flavonoids, and all other nutrients.”
Motashaw continues, “We have spent three years in training and upgrading beekeepers in their methods of extraction of honey and overall beekeeping. We use new food grade drums for each batch, rather than using old drums priorly used for Mustard oil, which is a common practice. The entire process is contactless, right from feeding the raw honey to obtaining filled bottles.”
Rishabh Bhojania of Balajee Honey, Patna, shares, “Honey gets its start from category wise flower nectar which is collected by bees, naturally broken down into simple sugars and stored in honeycombs. The unique design of the honeycomb, coupled with constant fanning by bees’ wings, causes evaporation to take place, creating the thick, sweet liquid we know as honey. The colour and flavour of honey varies from hive to hive based on the type of flower nectar collected by the bee.”
The production and distribution of honey has flourished right from the good ol’ days, leading up till this date. Named liquid gold with good reason, honey is probably one of the healthiest, most delicious and sought-after ingredients on the planet! So curiously one might wonder how does honey really heal or benefit us on consumption anyway?
To help give an insight on the same, Kripa Jalan, specialist In Sports Nutrition|Burgers To Beasts informs, “Refined sugar causes a sudden spike, whereas honey comprises more fructose than glucose, thereby causing a lower blood sugar spike. Honey also displays antioxidant properties the ability to regulate cholesterol levels. It’s best to consume honey, post workout-as it will quickly replenish the glycogen stores. From the numerous types of honey-be it comb/raw/dry/organic or flower honey, go for the one that’s minimally processed and has a darker shade.”
Jalan also reminds us that at the end of the day, even though honey contains healthy sugar, it’s all about enjoying it in moderation. She continues, “Sugar is sugar, and honey is a pseudonym for sugar. Quantity is the real problem, because sugar in any form has the unique ability to override the “I’m full” sensation with the “I want more” command. It’s why you can’t stop at just one cookie. If you’re drizzling about a teaspoon of honey, occasionally into your tea, you’re fine. But if you find yourself using spoonful’s on a daily basis, that’s bad news for your heart, Insulin sensitivity and waistline.”
Further details and tips
Although an alternate sweetener to sugar, Nutrition Coach, Pooja Bhargava makes known that honey in fact, contains the same amount of calories as that of sugar. However, these are not empty calories, as they come with various health benefits.
Bhargava explains, “Honey is known to have anti carcinogenic properties, its PH being acidic; honey helps against bacteria that thrive in an alkaline environment. Honey had with lemon can aid in indigestion. Being hydroscopic in nature honey can help in water retention by pulling the water away. It can work as a great antiseptic too, when mixed with tulsi leaves, giving relief against cold and coughs. Furthermore, it hosts great antioxidant properties, rending a glow to the skin.”
Bhargava concludes, “Honey that remains clear at room temperature, is a honey that’s not pure. Buy honey that is in its raw form and one that is not a sham, also bearing in mind, that it does finally carry calories.”