The Health Benefits of Honey
Honey also hosts a horde of antioxidants.. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the antioxidant activity of honey is comparable to that of many fruits and vegetables on a fresh-weight basis. And while you likely will not devour a cup of honey in lieu of broccoli, the golden liquid makes an antioxidant-rich alternative to sugar. Generally, the darker the honey, the higher its antioxidant content. Other factors that can influence antioxidant content, particularly within a species, include climate, soil, processing, handling and storage.
Honey’s wound-healing properties are among its most impressive medicinal qualities. A study published in the journal Burns found honey salve healed superficial burns more quickly and effectively than a standard treatment of silver sulfadiazine. Another study examined the therapeutic effects of honey applied to surgical incisions following Caesarean sections and abdominal hysterectomies. Compared with patients treated with a standard solution of iodine and alcohol, those treated with honey were infection-free in fewer days, had a reduced hospital stay and experienced accelerated wound healing with minimal scar formation.
Honey helps heal wounds in several ways. Its thickness provides a protective barrier against germs, and honey naturally absorbs fluids in wounds, helping to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. Raw honey also contains an enzyme called glucose oxidase. When the enzyme mixes with body fluids, it produces hydrogen peroxide and acts as a mild antiseptic.
Bear Foot Honey Farm, a third-generation family honey farm in Santa Rosa, California, offers these instructions for substituting honey for sugar in recipes on its website.
Because of its high fructose content, honey has higher sweetening power than sugar, which means you can use less to achieve the desired sweetness. When using honey as an alternative to granulated sugar in recipes, begin by substituting honey for up to half of the sugar called for in the recipe.
For baked goods, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent overbrowning. For each cup of honey used, reduce the liquid called for by 1/4 cup and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
For more on using honey and other natural sweeteners as an alternative to sugar, read the article “Smarter Sweets.”