From bears to humans and monkeys, some mammals are very fond of honey. This sticky mixture made by bees has long been appreciated for its sweet and tasty taste.
Origin of honey in our diet
The term "miel" used in French is a derivative of the Latin word mel, which describes "the sweet substance made by bees". However, honey was discovered long before the creation of the Roman Empire. As for the english word, it comes from ancient Germanic huna(n)go which then became honung in Old Norse and then hunig in Old English.
The first evidence of a relationship between humans (hunter-gatherers) and honeybees dates back nearly 40,000 years and was found in a cave in South Africa. At that time, paintings told the story of humans and their consumption of honey.
Then, much later, paintings showed the story of how the Egyptians decided to begin beekeeping. And so a lasting relationship began with these insects of the Apoid family. One thing led to another and the profession of beekeeping appeared in Egypt around 2400 BCE.
Beehives were created and the use of smokers was discovered to reduce the aggressiveness of the bees when honey had to be retrieved.
From then on, the consumption of honey gradually spread, first in China and then in Europe and recipes based on honey were created such as gingerbread (from China) and mead (water + honey from Spain).
In Europe, honey was, for a while, the only sweetener used because sugar was not yet known.
Types of honey
The honey market is in constant evolution and in search of new honeys to be discovered by amateurs. These changes are necessary due to the disappearance of certain kinds of honey. But no matter the honey, it will belong to one of the two following categories: monofloral or polyfloral.
This category of honeys simply includes honeys that have been made from a single kind of flower. In these cases, the bees forage only one kind of flower that is near their hives.
Each of these honeys has different flavors and additional benefits for the body depending on the flower foraged.
The polyfloral honeys
Polyfloral honeys are more diverse than monofloral honeys. Indeed, honey can be made according to several different criteria. In addition to the multiple flowers used, honey can be called "mountain honey" and therefore made in altitude. It then has more pronounced flavors. The forest honey» is made with plants from the woods.
Honey can also be seasonal. A "spring honey" made from acacia, linden and other spring trees or a "summer honey" made from summer flowers such as lavender, honeysuckle and sunflower.
The benefits of honey and its nutritional benefits
What are the benefits of honey for our body?
Rich in potassium
Rich in antioxidants
A source of carbohydrates
Rich in prebiotics (oligosaccharides and polysaccharides)
Rich in vitamins
Why eat honey?
Probiotics are essential because they balance our intestinal flora. The prebiotics present in honey act on several factors including the growth and viability of certain bacteria important for the intestinal microflora: lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.
Honey has a lower glycemic index than most of the other sweetening elements that are often used (white sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup...). It is therefore more interesting to use as a substitute for people with blood sugar problems such as diabetes.
Honey has as many calories and sugar as the other sweeteners mentioned above but its sweet taste is stronger. It is therefore used in smaller quantities.
The antioxidants in honey are flavonoids. These act to neutralize free radicals in the body and thus prevent the appearance of cardiovascular diseases, certain degenerative diseases and some cancers. The darker the honey, the higher the amount of flavonoids.
Honey has a fairly strong antibacterial action. It can prevent and treat some minor gastrointestinal problems such as gastric ulcers.
Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be used on inflammations (gastric or throat) by oral administration and can be placed as a compress on an open wound.