Did you know that September is National Honey Month? Every year in the United States, Americans celebrate and promote beekeeping, the beekeeping industry and honey as a natural and beneficial sweetener. It’s an important time for beekeepers and honey producers across the country and also a great opportunity to remember what a great resource honey can be. In September, bees start to secure their hives and start preparing for winter while beekeepers bring in their harvest. In order to celebrate, here are some fun facts about honey and its different uses.
There are around 20,000 different species of bees throughout the world and about 4,000 of them are native to the United States. One single worker honeybee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime. That means we need about 22,700 bees to fill one single jar of honey! Bees are hard workers.
Bees collect sugar – usually the nectar of flowers – from their natural environment. They return to their beehive and process the sugar in their stomachs and from there produce the honey as a liquid – that they help dehydrate with their wings – that serves as stored food for bees. Then beekeepers come to harvest and package it.
Honey comes in a wide variety of colors and flavors, including blue and purple! When and where purple honey turns up is a bit of a mystery, even to experienced beekeepers, but it appears in southeastern states such as South and North Carolina most often when it does. It’s rare but delicious!
Lots of people love sweet treats, but too much sugar can be really bad for our teeth and our bodies in general. Honey makes a great alternative to refined sugar! It’s very high in beneficial plant compounds and antioxidants. One tablespoon of honey has 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, including fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose. Honey can also help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol because of antioxidants like organic acids and flavonoids.
Honey has been shown to help fight tooth decay and reduce dental cavities. It stops the growth of certain kinds of dental plaque bacteria and reduces the amount of acid produced, which stops bacteria from harming your teeth. Of course, you still want to keep your honey intake in moderation. One to two tablespoons a day is the maximum amount you should consume as a natural sweetener.
If it’s time for your kids’ next biannual appointment, give Dr. Waschak a call.