You know that familiar bear-shaped squeeze bottle. It may be in your kitchen pantry right now. If you haven’t used it for a while, reconsider. There are some great energy-boosting powers in a bottle of honey.

You can thank bees for putting in the extra effort to manufacture the delicious treat. The website Honey.com says, “The 60,000 or so bees in a beehive may collectively travel as much as 55,000 miles and visit more than 2 million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just a pound of honey.”

You probably know that honey is great to spread on your morning muffin, but according to both a nutritionist and a former Major League Baseball player, honey can give you that added “zip” to get you through the day.

Mitzi Dulan, who has served as the team nutritionist for the Kansas City Chiefs over the past eight seasons, says, “Honey is actually a natural energy booster…It’s so versatile.” She says it’s a natural source of carbohydrates, which gives our muscles energy.

Honey is also a great sweetening option. “The good thing about honey is that it is about 25 percent sweeter than other sweeteners, so you can actually use a little bit less of it in recipes,” says Dulan, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing.  Not only can honey give you a much-needed afternoon energy surge, but it can also help soothe your throat. “It’s a natural cough suppressant.”

Amateur and professional athletes can benefit from honey. Sid Bream, who came up through the Los Angeles Dodger’s minor league system and eventually played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, recalls enjoying honey at an early age. “As I’ve grown older, I’ve started to understand some of the benefits of honey. But at the same time, I enjoy the sweetness. I enjoy the natural part of it all,” says Bream.

Nearly every morning, Bream starts off with some flat bread (multi-grain) with almond butter, banana slices and honey. “It’s something that will allow me to have extra energy to keep going forward,” says Bream, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, noting that it’s essential that today’s athletes eat the right kinds of healthful foods.

In addition to banana smoothies, Bream enjoys a blueberry smoothie, with nutmeg, milk and honey.

Honey is by no means one-dimensional. It’s similar to wine, according to Dulan. “There are over 300 different types of honey. Bees visit different kinds of flowers…The honey that they produce has a unique taste to that flower.” Varieties go by colorful names such as Alfalfa and Orange Blossom. Dulan says Honeylocator.com is a great website to help you research the different varieties of honey.

Don’t worry about getting too creative when deciding how to incorporate honey in your diet. Dulan suggests a honey-banana (frozen banana) smoothie; you can mix in a little protein powder for good measure. A breakfast option is to include a bit of honey in your oatmeal, sprinkled with dry, tart cherries. If you’re slumping in the afternoon, try a honey-banana-peanut butter sandwich.

If you haven’t figured out, Dulan is bullish on honey, “It tastes delicious and works so well in a variety of recipes.”

For everything you need to know about honey, visit www.honeylocator.com and www.honey.com.

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