Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
BEES AND HONEY
The bee is an amazing creature. It scours the landscape gathering nectar from flowers and trees, it leads a structured and disciplined life and it creates a sweet product we know as honey. This is not surprising, as ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, has told us in the Quran:
And your LORD taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations; Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its LORD: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought. (An-Nahl: 68-69)
Honeybees live in colonies with 30,000-60,000 bees. Each colony has one queen, a number of drones and many worker bees. The queen is the only sexually developed female in the hive and is responsible for producing the new generations. During its 2-year life, it mates with the 500 or so drones to produce up to 3000 eggs in a single day. The undeveloped female bees are the workers and do all the work. They clean the hive, care for the larvae, collect the nectar, make the comb wax guard the hive and keep it cool.
The bees produce honey to keep the colony fed. A beehive produces about 80 pounds more honey than it needs, so humans can enjoy the benefit of their production. In addition to producing honey, the bees pollinate the plants they visit. Bees pollinate almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cucumbers, watermelon and many other crops. In the United States, bees pollinate over $14 billion of crops.
Honey is not only a drink (food) of this world. It is also a drink of the Paradise, as discussed in the Quran:
(Here is) a Parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised: in it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and Grace from their LORD. (Can those in such Bliss) be compared to such as shall dwell forever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels (to pieces). (Muhammad: 15)
As the Quran states, honey comes in different colors and tastes, depending on the blossoms, which were visited by the bees. Colors range from dark brown to nearly colorless. In the United States there are over 300 different types of honey. Some of the sources of honey include alfalfa, avocado, basswood, buckwheat, clover, orange blossom and sage. Honey also comes in different forms, including liquid honey, whipped honey, comb honey and cut comb. Liquid honey is extracted from the comb by gravity or centrifuge, is fee of crystals and is used for cooking and baking.
Whipped honey is crystallized and can be spread on foods. Comb honey comes as produces and is fully edible, including the wax comb. Cut comb is honey that is packaged with chunks of the honeycomb.
As stated in the Quran, honey has healing properties. The Prophet, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam, also said that honey one of three cures for many ailments. This is supported by scientific evidence that shows honey contains vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and several amino acids and antioxidants. The sugars in honey are glucose and fructose. Being rich in sugars, honey is an excellent source of energy.
Honey does contain bacterial spores, which can cause infant botulism so it is recommended not to feed infants honey until they have reached at least one year of age.
Honey is an ingredient in many products including pure honey, mustard, shampoo, cereal and bread.
Enjoy some honey regularly and the next time you see a bee, marvel at the job it does and the Majesty of the Creator Who created it.
Pizza Hut is being sued over claims their veggie lovers' pizza contains animal ingredients. (Reported in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on May 2, 2002.)
Sara Lee has introduced bread with no crust. For 75 cents more per loaf, you won't have to remove your own crusts anymore. Sara Lee will spend $10 million to introduce the new bread. Bread is a $5.6 billion dollar industry in the USA. (Reported on www.cnn.com on May 3, 2002)
Swedish researchers have found that frying potatoes and other carbohydrate rich foods forms acrylamide. Acrylomide is classified as a probable carcinogen. The American Council on Science and Health says there is no evidence that this poses any risk of cancer in humans. (Reported in thr IFT Newsletter, May 1, 2002)
Breyers will market a lactose free Natural Vanilla ice cream. The product is full fat and is not soy-based. Almost 25% of Americans are lactose intolerant. (Reported in the IFT Newsletter May 1, 2002)
Pepsi has announced it will introduce a 'Pepsi Blue'. The product will combine berry and Pepsi for a new flavor, expected to be popular with the teens. The debut is expected in August. Hopefully it doesn't turn your mood blue!
UAE supermarkets have been ordered to remove some Kellogg's products from their shelves. Apparently lab analyses indicate these products contain pork ingredients. (Reported in Gulf News on April 29, 2002.)
Vitamin B is a large family of vitamins that are essential to the proper functioning of the human body. The B vitamins are found in a number of sources, including meat and poultry, cereals and whole grains, vegetables and fruits and dairy products and nuts. Each of the vitamins plays a different role in the proper functioning of the human body and each is found in different sources.
B vitamins are water-soluble so they are used very quickly. In most cases, excesses of the vitamin are expelled in urine and cause no problems. The complex includes Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), Biotin, Choline and Folate (folic acid).
Vitamin B1 helps convert sugar into energy, is important for heart, muscle and nerve activity and for the production of red blood cells. The recommended daily intake is 1.1-1.2 mg per day. It is found in fortified cereals, nuts and cauliflower. Deficiencies can cause visual disturbances, paralysis and heart failure.
Vitamin B2 is important in the production of energy. The recommended daily intake is 1.7 mg. It is found in liver and yogurt. Deficiencies can cause skin and eye irritation.
Vitamin B3 breaks down sugar, widens blood vessels and increases blood flow. The recommended daily intake is 20 mg. It is found in fish, chicken, veal, and cereals. Deficiencies can cause stomach distress, depression, headache, and hair thinning.
Vitamin B5 is important for the metabolism of fats and proteins and the production of steroids, hormones and other essential chemicals. The recommended daily intake is 4-7 mg. It is found in whole grains, beans, milk, eggs and liver. Deficiencies can cause abdominal distress and sleep problems.
Vitamin B6 affects the nervous system and red blood cell production. The recommended daily intake is 2-6 mg. It is found in meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, bananas, peanuts and watermelon. Deficiencies are associated with heart disease, birth defects, skin problems and impaired memory.
Vitamin B12 is necessary for the production of blood cells, genetic material and the proper functioning of the nervous system. The recommended daily intake is 2.4 mg. It is found in meats, dairy products, eggs and fish. Deficiencies can cause depression, memory loss, decreased reflexes, and hearing loss.
Biotin is needed for the production of amino acid proteins and fatty acids. There is no dietary reference intake but some suggest taking 30-100 mg. It is found in eggs, milk, liver, bananas, tomatoes, and whole grains and nuts. Bacteria in the intestines also produce it. Deficiencies are very uncommon.
Choline is essential for fetal brain development, learning and memory. The dietary reference intake is 425-550 mg. It is found in peanuts, eggs, cauliflower, and meats. Deficiencies can cause birth defects.
Folate is important for the metabolic processes and the manufacture of neurotransmitters in the brain, for synthesizing DNA and for preventing heart disease. The recommended daily intake is 400 mcg. It is found in avocados, bananas, orange juice, asparagus, cold cereal and dried peas and beans. Deficiencies can cause a higher risk of birth defects and impaired concentration, memory and hearing.
(This information was extracted from an MD Consult Patient Education Handout.)