How a ‘tiny bee’ produces ‘world’s most nutritious’ food???
Honey is one of the most nutritious foods available to mankind, to be utilized for several purposes.
It is not only a great sweetening agent consumed by the masses for the production of various food products but it also has numerous medicinal properties, which help in the prevention of many diseases including heart attack, stroke, pheripheral arterial disease, diabetes mellitus and hypertension etc. It also helps in the normal functioning of the human body, thus advised by the physicians to be ingested on regular basis.
Its therapeutic significance is quite evident from the verse of the Holy Quran, “And thy Lord taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees and in (men’s) habitations there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for mankind”.
Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) has also emphasized on its importance.
The process of honey formation is one of the spectacular phenomena of the Mother Nature.
Allah (SWT) has gifted honey bees by two stomachs, one for the normal functioning of their bodies and the other is for the formation of pure honey.
The bees used to visit hundreds of flowers on daily basis, to collect the nectar either from single or multiple types of the flowering plants.
They suck the sugar-rich nectar by their tube like tongue from them, which directly stored in their “honey stomachs”.
They remain perform the same practice until their honey stomachs are completely filled with the raw sugary material.
This is the place, where the initial processing regarding honey making process starts immediately by the action of digestive enzymes including catalase, glucose oxidase, amylase and acid phosphorylase.
These enzymes help in the breakdown of the sucrose into its structural components(glucose and fructose).
The main highlight of this spectacular process of nature is the “process of regurgitation”, in which the bees used to spit the nectar into the mouth of other bees one after the other.
This process starts, as soon as the bees reach their hives. It plays a decisive role in the preparation of the end-product (honey) from the nectar, as digestive enzymes from each bee (partake in regurgitation) imparts its own effect on the nectar, assisting to make it into more nutritious product. This process lasts for 20 minutes after which the bees spit the raw honey into the cells of the honeycomb.
Till this point, its moisture content ranges to about 80%, making it a very soft target for the attack by microorganisms.
Now here again there is twist in the tale, as The Creator has developed a very unique process to evaporate this superfluous moisture in the honey. The honey bees used to flutter their wings resulting in the creation of a strong draft, which aids in reducing the moisture content to less than 20% (a safe range from the microbial attack).
After this drying process, honey bees used to seal the cells of comb by the wax. This wax is also being made by the bees from the honey which thoroughly ensures its safe storage for the longer period of time.
Lastly, the bee-keepers extract out the honey from these cells, which then utilized by the humans for amplemotives.
This is how this beneficial natural product is being developed by the tiny creatures (bees) through a marvelous process engineered by Allah (SWT).