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Health Benefits of Honey Bee Products

Aristotle called honey the nectar of the gods. Throughout history, raw honey, bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly have been valued as both food and medicine. Science now confirms this ancient wisdom.

Honey is being studied against other carbohydrates when taken just before or during exercise. After an eight-hour fast, 71 male and female athletes were given either dextrose, sucrose, fructose, malodextrin, honey, or a placebo. Dr. Richard Kreider of the University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory stated, "We found honey to be one of the most effective forms of carbohydrate to ingest just prior to exercise. This could translate into greater endurance during a workout or a race."

Honey is made up of 20% water, plus glucose, fructose, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, 0, E, and K, beta-carotene, minerals, and enzymes. The range of antioxidants present in honey is comparable to that in apples, bananas, oranges, and strawberries.  In a five-week study conducted at the University of Illinois, the blood from 25 men between the ages' of 18 and 68 was examined.  The results showed that drinking a mixture of four tablespoons of honey per 16 ounces of water increased the antioxidant levels in the blood. Dr. Nicki Engeseth, PhD, who conducted the study said, "It looks like honey is having a mild protective effect, and might contribute a significant amount of antioxidants. "

Bee pollen is collected by honeybees from flowers and is rich in carotenoids, flavonoids, and phytosterols. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 600 men at the University Hospital of Wales, found bee pollen extract was an effective treatment for prostate enlargement and prostatitis. Bee pollen may also increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy by stimulating the immune function.

Propolis consists of tree resins collected by honeybees and is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and stimulates new tissue growth. Propolis also inhibits the growth of viruses and fungi including herpes, influenza, and candida, and is active against bacteria from upper respiratory infections, including penicillin­resistant strains.

Royaljelly is a creamy fluid that is synthesized in nurse bees during digestion of bee pollen, and contains collagen, lecithin, vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, and E, all of which are good for the skin. The Department of Medicine at New York Medical College conducted a statistical evaluation of several studies on cholesterol. They found that 50 mg to 100 mg per day of royal jelly lowered total cholesterol by 14%, and triglycerides by 10%.

Reference: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, volume 50, number 7, 2002; 2016-21.

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