The most natural product imaginable is honey. The bee, following its primitive instinct, seeks daily (if the weather conditions allow) honey production sources. When the collector returns to the hive, from the arduous journey of harvesting, then begins the magical process of processing plant secretions into a vital substance for the bee, but also for man, honeyIt is worth noting that the bee is the only animal in nature after man that processes and processes its food.
Bees produce honey from nectar and honeydew that they collect from the living parts of plants and from secretions of sucking microorganisms and insects.
The flower nectar is an aqueous solution more or less concentrated, its sugars represent 20-40%. This solution is produced by the nectarine tissues in the heart of the flower.
The honeydew is produced by microorganisms (fungi) and insects that suck sap, from the third sheath that holds the bark of the tree and in some cases from their unripe tender fruits (such as oak). It is absorbed by the parasites, passes to their digestive system where the honeydew is formed and they absorb the necessary amount for their nutrition (about 10% in sugars) and secrete the excess in the form of honeycomb droplets.
Collectors dilute the nectar or honeydew with their saliva during collection and transfer it to the hive. There, the collectors distribute it to the workers (the process of trophoblasting) where saliva is added again, as a result of which enzymes that change sugar are provided (through saliva) to the solution. This liquid will be placed in honeycomb cells with a water content of over 50%. After that, in order for the honey to dehydrate, the workers chew it several times and spread it with their tongue in a thin layer in the dry atmosphere of the hive. When the concentration in sugars reaches 40-50% it is deposited in the cells for maturation. From this point on, the ventilation workers take over, causing the excess moisture to be expelled by a stream of air from outside (heated by the colony to 30+ ° C). Depending on the external environment, it takes two to five days for the humidity to reach between 17% and 22%, where it is sealed with a "scalp" of wax for protection.
Numerous varieties of honey contain almost the same percentage of sugars, which represent 75-80% of the weight of honey. The nectar or honeydew collected in the hive, is rich in sucrose and during its processing by the workers is enriched through their saliva with a large number of enzymes, including invertase which will help in its breakdown into: fructose +/- 35%, glucose +/- 32%, Maltose +/- 4% and sucrose +/- 2%.
Here is the undoubted nutritional superiority of honey over industrial sugar, which our body must first transform with all the harmful consequences for it, while the inverted sugars of honey are assimilated directly by the body, without any other processing.
Glucose provides an immediately available energy, while fructose is retained in the liver in the form of glycogen and builds up our energy reserve. The latter helps us, among other things, to respond better to stress. In addition, honey prevents the phenomenon of hypoglycemia caused by the intake of industrial sugar and has the peculiarity that it is compatible with certain forms of diabetes.
In addition to the above glycides, honey contains almost all vitamins (except vitamin A), trace elements and minerals by 1.5 - 2%, whose action is combined with that of vitamins: calcium, magnesium phosphorus, potassium, copper, iron , silicon chloride, sulfur, manganese and sodium inter alia. Organic acids such as gluconic acid, citric acid, acetic acid and phosphoric acid, which give it a pH of 3.5 - 5.5. It contains many enzymes, of which the basic ones are amylase a and b, gluco- invertase and gluco-oxidase. Pollen is also found in a very small percentage, but it is one of the characteristics that help determine the plant origin of honey. There are also essential oils, the quality and quantity of which vary depending on the plant origin and their importance is fundamental, both in terms of taste and healing.
The fluctuations of the content of the above elements in the varieties of honey, cause the big taste, olfactory, visual and therapeutic differences.
The benefits of honey on our health
For many years man has realized that this animal, which alone provides 80% of the pollen pollination of the planet, is also a valuable ally for the good health of the human body.
The philosophers Democritus, Pythagoras and Zeno, who lived to an advanced age, affirmed that this exceptional longevity was due to the daily consumption of honey and other products of the hive. But Hippocrates, the "spiritual father" of medicine, considered honey as a tonic for eyesight and sexual organs, a remedy for ear pain and an effective healer for all kinds of wounds. He also recommended it for diseases of the throat and chest, one of the unique properties that modern medicine recognizes to this day.
Honey is a food full of energy since 100 gr. from it give 310 calories and its inverted sugars are assimilated directly and easily by our body. It equips our immune system with its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, including the production of free radicals (The human body produces free radicals in the process of cellular reactions. For example, the liver produces and uses free radicals in phases. of detoxification, while white blood cells through free radicals destroy bacteria, viruses and lead to apoptosis of cells that have suffered irreparable damage). It also improves the retention of calcium and magnesium, as well as the content of blood with hemoglobin (Responsible for the binding and transport of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of our body through the blood). Due to its high fructose content, honey acts as a mild laxative, whets the appetite and protects the stomach walls. It is an excellent cardiotonic thanks to glucutil (produced by the bee and contained in honey), which the heart muscle makes the best use of the glycides it receives. The acetylcholine contained in honey, allows to slow down and balance the heart rhythm, which helps to reduce blood pressure and ensures better blood circulation in the coronary arteries.
Some honeys are particularly rich in iron (mainly dark-colored ones), an essential trace element in the fight against anemia, but most important in this case is the ability to absorb iron and this is favored by enzymes derived from bee saliva. The same goes for cobalt, which is contained in the composition of vitamin B12, which is necessary for the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow.
Honey fights indigestion, thanks to lactulose that promotes the growth of bifidobacteria, necessary for digestive and general immunization, helping to maintain a healthy intestinal flora. It also plays an important role in destroying or stopping the multiplication of bacteria, especially certain coliforms or salmonella. It also helps fight a number of diseases such as sinusitis, pharyngitis, rhinitis, laryngitis, otitis, simple or asthmatic bronchitis and dry or non-cough.