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  » Medical News Archive  »   Honey's Dark Side: It's Good
Choose your honey like you choose your chocolate: Go dark.

Dark honey, like dark chocolate, can be a better source of health-protecting antioxidants than lighter-color counterparts. Here's why dark honey is different.

The Buzz on Honeydew
In a study of Spanish honey varieties, researchers looked at three honey groups: floral (the lightest shade of honey tested -- bees make it from the nectar of blossoms); honeydew (the darkest tested -- bees makeit from sugary substances that insects leave on trees and plants); and blends (in-between shades of honey made from a combo of floral and honeydew). The dark honey showed the greatest potential for helping to protect cells from harmful substances (free radicals) that cause aging and disease.

Researchers suspect the protection comes from the antioxidant-powered phenols and amino acids found in the sticky stuff. •

Honey Bee Good

About to sweeten your tea with honey? What kind? It matters.

Until recently, if you asked a nutritionist about the pros and cons of, say, lightly processed "raw" sugar versus honey, table sugar, brown sugar, molasses, fructose, or maple syrup, you'd hear this exasperated chant: "Sugar is sugar is sugar ." No longer. Several studies have found that buckwheat honey -- dark, rich, and malty -- has an unusual number of age-fighting antioxidants in addition to serious sweetening power. kay, we know you probably don't have a yellow-capped squeezy bear of buckwheat honey in your pantry. But the next time you're in a natural-foods grocery or speciality market, pick up a jar. Although several types of honey have some antioxidant effects, researchers have pronounced buckwheat honey far and away the star. And buckwheat itself (think pancake mixes, Japanese soba noodles) is being investigated as a "functional food," thanks both to its high levels of protein, fiber, and minerals, and its lab-tested ability to reduce body fat and cholesterol and even prevent gallstones . So the next time you're making yourself a cuppa, try sweetening it with something that's got a lot more going for it than sugar's empty calories.