Honey: Friend or Foe? - Heal'r
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Honey: Friend or Foe?

Written by Tanya Lee

honey and wooden spoon

Being vegan has become a popular topic and controversial lifestyle choice. I myself, have been vegan for a few years after years of dieting and digestion issues. With a desire to learn more, I am in my first year at Monash University studying at Bachelor in Nutrition. My goal is to view the facts and evidence so that I’m not bias or that my personal opinion and preference doesn’t cloud the ultimate message.

So, to begin with, let’s layout why some people may choose not to include honey in their diets:

Ethics

You might know a vegan (or you might be one) who claims that honey production is an unethical industry that exploits bees. To an extent, this is not wrong. Industrially mass-produced honey actually contributes to culling of bee hives, feeding of glucose syrup as a replacement (lowering quality of life), and also artificial insemination of queen bees.

Antibiotics

To reduce the impact of mites in large scale honey production, antibiotics are used. Honey carries these antibiotics that bees are treated with, ultimately to be consumed by humans. We all know that unnecessary consumption of antibiotics can reduce the health our GIT (Gastrointestinal Tract) bacterial colonies which increases our susceptibility to other diseases.

“Fake” Honey

Controversy has arisen regarding “fake honey” with multiple cases in Europe, America and Australia where products that are labelled as “honey”, are not actually honey! In a way, we can’t be surprised because although bee populations are falling, but honey production is increasing.

Appreciating that there are probably many more points to the negative side of this argument, the positive benefits of honey also need to be discussed.

Health

Honey is so highly viscous, it actually provides a barrier to prevent further infection and which contains antibacterial properties to kill off bacteria and microbes. This means that the popular tip of drinking warm lemon and honey water if you have a cold has merit. Using honey on burns also creates a barrier topically, therefore protecting and healing the area at the same time.

Honey also acts as an antioxidant and is also known to contain beneficial bacteria, acting as a probiotic. There is so much research and proof behind how honey can also help regulate cholesterol and triglyceride levels, that is definitely worth reading, I’ve added some links below.

Bee Keepers

More and more people are learning that without bees, life on earth would be almost non- existent. It is integral for our ecosystem that we have a high bee population. This is due to the fact that approximately one third of our food that we consume each day, relies on pollination mainly by bees. “Honey Bees” are the most important pollinator of our food crops. Bee keepers are super important in ensuring bees are kept relatively healthy and thrive. They oversee how their colonies are surviving and help to ensure conditions are right.

The medicinal properties in honey such as in Manuka Honey, are nature’s antibacterial to colds and flues, and a topical healer to cuts and burns. If you choose to use honey for one of these reasons, we are very passionate that you source yours from your local bee farmers or from organic brands.

Local beekeepers are the good guys and help the production of honey that contains so many properties that are shown to improve health. Massive corporate brands who industrially produce honey are the bad guys. There is so much grey area in between this and so much more to the honey debate, but I truly believe there is no harm in supporting beekeepers and using their honey to improve your own health.

 

Honey bee hive

Written by Cass Mangan “Heal’r Intern”
Yoga Instructor, Studying Nutrition at Monash University

Edited by Tanya Lee, “Gut Whisperer”
Naturopathic – Clinical Nutritionist and Western Herbal Medicine Herbalist
Allied Health, Assistant to Physiotherapy Practitioner
Clinical Pilates, Functional Personal Trainer, Barre Instructor
Reiki Practitioner
Meditation and Mindfulness Facilitator
Holistic Lifestyle Coach
Initiated Balian Traditional Healer
BPA, Dip. PP

 

References:

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalreports/honey/beewelfareandhoney.aspx
https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2016/04/20/when-honey-isnt-honey
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-honey
http://greendustriesblog.com/greendustries/2012/04/12/bees-and-survival-of-the-human-race/

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