September marks the end of honey collection season in the United States. To celebrate beekeepers, and the health benefits of the natural sweetener, September was designated as National Honey Month in 1989.
Honey is the only insect-derived natural product that has nutritional, cosmetic and therapeutic values according to studies by the National Institutes of Health. It’s also a pantry staple because it does not need to be refrigerated and it never spoils if it’s in a sealed container.
Heather Krieger, a dietitian with HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals says honey contains some vitamins and minerals in trace quantities. “It’s also a rich source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon,” she says. “Honey also contains antioxidants which can protect the body from inflammation when portions are consumed in moderate amounts.”
The National Honey Board says the natural sweetener can reduce irritation of sore throats; suppress a cough; may aid in stopping hiccups; may help relieve eczema; and may aid in some medical-grade wound care applications as recommended by your doctor. Studies show there are other potential health benefits of honey, and raw honey, which is unpasteurized.
- May relieve seasonal allergies
- Improves sleep
- May strengthen the immune system
- May stabilizes blood pressure
- Balances sugar levels
It should be noted that the Centers for Disease Control says honey should not be given to kids under 12 months old; no yogurt or cereals with honey, crackers with honey such as honey graham crackers, and no honey pacifiers. The organization says honey has been linked to rare cases of infant botulism, which affects the body’s nerves, but after 12 months old, a child’s digestive system has adjusted and honey, in moderation, can become a beneficial dietary component.