How honey can help your health

Read this guide to find the best type of honey and get a lemon poppy loaf recipe too!

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lemon, loaf, poppy seed, honey, baking
Photo, Marni Wasserman.

Honey has been around for centuries and there are thousands of varieties. No matter which essence- or flower-based honey you choose — clover, wildflower, buckwheat or orange blossom — just be sure that it’s local, pure, unpasteurized or raw. When honey is pasteurized, that means it’s been processed and heated to a temperature that affects its active, living nutrients. Only raw honey should be consumed, as it’s considered healing, health promoting and easier to digest.

Some people rule out honey because it’s a sugar or because it comes from an animal, but if you want to savour its incredible taste and healing properties, just enjoy and use it in moderation, as with all sweeteners.

Why is honey so good for you?
1. Honey helps to heal the stomach, pancreas and lungs as it tonifies, soothes and nourishes the linings of these organs.
2. Even though honey is a sugar, it is loaded with nutrients, enzymes and minerals – so you are getting more than just a sweet flavour.
3. Honey contains antibiotic properties that can help protect against various diseases, ailments and illnesses. From a sore throat to diarrhea, honey can help to build up your immunity and keep your body strong.
4. Honey (especially Manuka honey) can be used topically to help treat wounds like abrasions, burns, sores and chapped skin.

How to use honey:
1. Be sure to use honey at low heat temperatures to preserve its natural properties. High heat can destroy its natural enzymes and minerals.
2. Honey can be stirred into tea, spooned on hot cereal or smeared on bread.
3. Honey can be added to dips, spreads, sauces and dressings.
4. Honey retains moisture, so when it is used for baking instead of sugar, your baked goods will stay fresh longer.

Buying and Storing:
1. Honey is often found in liquid form but is also available in the comb or creamed.
2. See your local grocery or health food store for different varieties. If you are able to get your honey fresh directly from a farmers’ market or honey farm, that is always the best!
3. Store honey at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Do not refrigerate as this speeds crystallization, which thickens honey and turns it cloudy and grainy. (To liquefy: Remove the lid, place the honey container in a saucepan with water, and heat slowly until crystals dissolve.)

Wild lemon poppy loaf recipe

Ingredients
4 cups light spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
1 cup Wild Nude Bee Honey or other pure honey
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup poppy seeds
zest of 2 lemons
3 lemons, juiced
½ cup vanilla rice milk (or vanilla soy milk)
½ cup grapeseed oil (or sunflower oil)
1 tsp pure vanilla
½ cup filtered water, as needed

1. Oil and flour a 9×5-in. loaf pan. Set aside.
2. Stir together spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, honey with rice milk. Add to the dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
4. Add grapeseed oil, vanilla and water to dry ingredients. Mix wet and dry ingredients together thoroughly.
5. Pour the batter into loaf pan.
6. Bake for 1 hour at 350F or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top is golden brown.

Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto whose philosophy is stemmed around whole foods. She is dedicated to providing balanced lifestyle choices through natural foods. Using passion and experience, she strives to educate individuals on how everyday eating can be simple and delicious.

-Article originally published March 2011.