Bees are amazing creatures, and one of the best bugs around, I reckon. Not only do they support the ecosystem by pollinating plants, but they also provide us with delicious food that is very good for us.
Honey is the closest food to ambrosia, the legendary food of the gods. For people with a sweet tooth, it is the perfect alternative to processed sugar. It is sweeter, healthier, and more natural.
So what exactly are the health benefits of honey? Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, but has a much lower GI than sugar, meaning it releases energy slowly throughout the day. Unlike with sugar, you won't get a hyper hit and then come crashing down later on. Honey also helps build up your immune system; it improves digestion, and because of its antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties, it is believed to reduce the risk of cancer.
One of the worst symptoms I find about a cold, is getting a sore throat; it feels like you've swallowed a razor. Honey is a great throat soother, and more fulfilling than the lozenges you get from the chemist.
Honey is great at easing other ailments as well. Mix it with vinegar, and it is meant to help with arthritis, add cinnamon and it could reduce hair loss and bad breath. Before honey was eaten, in the Greek and Roman times, it was also used to dress wounds, and inhibit infection.
Although pollen is difficult to find in shops, and we do not eat it very much, it is in fact one of the most nutritional foods in the world. Pollen is what is known as a 'complete food', because it contains nearly all the nutrients needed by humans. It is one of the richest sources of both protein and vitamin B, which is essential for the nervous system and a healthy heart. Because of the antioxidants, pollen is great for the respiratory system because it acts as an anti-inflammatory and can prevent asthma attacks. Just a couple of teaspoons in your cereal or a yoghurt everyday, is all you need. Pollen is also used in non-food products, such as creams for skin care. It can ease eczema and give you soft skin. Other things pollen has been used to treat include allergies, addiction, and infertility.
Propolis is a tree resin collected by bees, and rather than used in food, it is manufactured into a gel for skin care. Propolis is used to help in the healing process of burns, scratches, and other superficial wounds. It can also reduce inflammation, ulcers, and dental plaque.
Although we can benefit greatly from bees, sadly, bees are not benefiting greatly from us - the use of pesticides has seen a dramatic fall in the bee population over the past several years, and they are rapidly becoming endangered. There are ways you can help; plant bees' favourite flowers in your garden, such as lavender, heaver, clover, and sweet peas, or even take up bee keeping and collect your own honey.
We won't be able to exist without the bees! Yes true.. the fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.
It is true that much of human existence is presently dependent on honey bees. However, the human race is not likely to become extinct. Food production would decline, and the unrest caused by the ripple effect will be difficult to handle around the globe.