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.
Okay, 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.