A completely natural sweetener, it dates back more than hundreds of years, yet the health benefits of honey are still not widely known even today. Healthier and more pure than artificial sweeteners or sugar, honey provides more than a taste for the sweet tooth; honey benefits your health and your body inside and out.
History of Honey
Records can not definitively state how long honey has existed. Some believe honey dates back farther than 20 millions years, but honey bee fossils cause reason to believe that date could extend to over 150 millions years. Cave paintings in Spain suggest that beekeeping began approximately around 7000 B.C. and Egyptian records from 2400 B.C. provide evidence of their culture keeping bees in hives.
The Egyptians used honey in more ways than one. As well as its common use as a sweetener, Egyptians gave honey as a gift to their gods and used it as a component of their embalming fluid. The Romans also gave honey to their gods and were known to cover physical wounds in honey to cure and promote natural healing. The Romans and Greeks both utilized honey as a form of cooking but around the turn of the seventeenth century, honey became primarily used as a sweetener.
So, how do bees produce honey? The process begins at the flower as the bee gathers the flower’s nectar. The majority of nectar is water and a minority is complex sugars. Bees need to store and make the sugar usable, so the bees alter the nectar changing it into honey. To complete this task, a worker bee that has a full stomach of nectar flies to the hive to regurgitate the modified nectar for a hive bee. Then, the hive bee ingests the nectar to break down the sugars. Once the hive bee has completed that task, he regurgitates the nectar into a cell of the comb. The hive bees are responsible for beating their wings in order to evaporate any remaining water; once complete, the sugar converts to honey. In a lifetime, a worker bee produces 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey, but when bees in a colony work together, more than 200 pounds of honey are produced within one year.
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