Sweeten the deal with some honey

ORIELLE BERRY AND STAFF REPORTER

The bad news about sugar and its harmful effects is already well-known and in case you don’t know it, sugar is addictive.

But what many people are not aware of are that many of the alternatives to refined white sugar are not as good as they are cut out to be.

Refined white sugar, in case you don’t know, is completely stripped of all nutritional value, and provides only empty calories.

Alternatives like commercial brown sugar is actually nothing more than refined white sugar. The colour comes from molasses, which are added back not only to give that caramel tint but for the flavour.

Another alternative, evaporated cane juice is slightly less refined than white sugar, and thus retains more colour, flavour, and nutrients from the sugar cane. But, according to several website resources, including The Alternative Daily, the only difference between commercial evaporated cane juice and white sugar is that the former goes through one less step of refinement.

Raw organic cane sugar is less processed than refined white sugar, and still contains some of the original nutrients present in cane juice. These include amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and even some antioxidants.

Finally, coconut sugar is harvested from the sap of the coconut plant, and is considered one of the most sustainable methods of sugar production, and the product also contains a small amount of fibre and other nutrients. It also contains a lower percentage of fructose than some other sugars listed, which makes it slightly healthier than the other options.

But, and here’s the but, there is one “sugar” that in its raw form, contains high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

We’re talking honey and it’s touted as being able to treat life-threatening diseases, heal chronic conditions, and best of all, keep people looking and feeling their best.

I’m sure you know that honey is great for treating coughs, but it’s also been praised for helping to heal wounds, ease indigestion; reduce infections, fight fatigue, act against flu and beat burns

Honey is reputed to have been the most popular ancient Egyptian healing remedy. And Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used honey as a treatment for pain, dehydration, and fever.

In addition to giving you sugars, according to a multitude of sources on the web, honey equips your body with proteins, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. It also reputedly controls cancer-causing free-radicals and stops cell damage in its tracks.

While this is all good news, honey still has a very high sugar content (70%-85% depending on the type of honey you get.)

But … unlike sugar that gives you a sudden surge of energy followed shortly by a complete crash, when you eat honey you get a slow “release” because the extra enzymes and nutrients regulate how the body uses the sugar.

Honey is not that cheap and always check your bottle or jar says pure honey. But you don’t need a lot to sweeten the deal. For a cuppa tea, one teaspoon is all you need. Add a teaspoon to your salad dressing and put a drizzle of honey on bread with peanut butter and sliced bananas for one of the greatest energy-boosting breakfasts I know.

Drizzle it on fresh fruit or fruit that you can roast in the oven, with a splash of fresh lemon or orange juice and when it comes out of the oven bubbling and smelling sweetly, simply add some Greek yoghurt or cream.

For sweet/savoury treats, pork marinated in a soy/honey mixture with a tad of grated ginger before roasting and serving up with sweet potatoes is a right royal treat and if you’re roasting a chicken and you want a new twist (literally), squeeze three oranges and release the juice on the chicken and add a few drizzles of honey.

A hot toddy with a teaspoon of honey mixed into tea and lemon juice relieves nocturnal cough and allows for a good night’s sleep.

But, as honey is a sugar, do not eat jars full of it if you value your good health and want to maintain a healthy weight.

So, whether honey’s benefits are a placebo effect or not, the popularity of the food has never diminished. If you are a honey-lover, check the label to see if imported honey is irradiated, not so much for the health of humans but for bees, says bee farmer Brendan Ashley Cooper.

It should appear on the label of imported honey. This is to prevent bee diseases from coming into the country through spores in honey.