Blog Archive

Excel: Extracting text with FIND and MID Functions

Data analysis begins with usable data, and that means every piece organized nicely into its own field where we can count, sort and otherwise test it out.
What if you get a spreadsheet where the pieces of data are all packed in one field? Say, something like this (which I cobbled together from Major League Baseball data in honor of the Nationals' first playoff appearance):
    NAME: Sean Burnett POS: RP AGE: 30 WT: 200 BORN: Dunedin, FL SALARY: 2350000  NAME: Tyler Clippard POS: RP AGE: 27 WT: 200 BORN: Lexington, KY SALARY: 1650000  NAME: Ross Detwiler POS: SP AGE: 26 WT: 174 BORN: St. Louis, MO SALARY: 485000  NAME: Christian Garcia POS: RP AGE: 27 WT: 215 BORN: Miami, FL SALARY: N/A  NAME: Gio Gonzalez POS: SP AGE: 27 WT: 205 BORN: Hialeah, FL SALARY: 3335000  NAME: Mike Gonzalez POS: RP AGE: 34 WT: 215 BORN: Robstown, TX SALARY: N/A  NAME: Ryan Mattheus POS: RP AGE: 28 WT: 215 BORN: Sacramento, CA SALARY: 481000  NAME: Craig Stammen POS: RP AGE: 28 WT: 200 BORN: Coldwater, OH SALARY: 485000  NAME: Drew Storen POS: RP AGE: 25 WT: 180 BORN: Indianapolis, IN SALARY: 498750  NAME: Jordan Zimmermann POS: SP AGE: 26 WT: 218 BORN: Auburndale, WI SALARY: 2300000
Let's say you want to extract the city of each player's birth into a separate field. The varying length of each player's name means the birth place isn't always in the same position in the string, so a typical text-to-columns operation won't work. So, how to do it?
The answer lies in two very handy Excel functions: FIND and MID.
FIND locates characters you specify and returns its numeric place in the string.
MID returns X characters from a string beginning at a location X you specify.
For example, we can locate the position where each city name begins by using FIND to locate the string "BORN:" in each cell. The city name itself always starts six characters after the position of that string, so we add six to the result:
In the first row above, the functions returns 50. In the second row, 52. We'll feed that value to the MID function as the starting point for our extraction.
MID takes three arguments: Text or cell, position to start, number of characters to return. So, we use the above FIND function as the second argument and, for now, extract 10 characters:
That gets us part of the way there. We're starting in the right spot, but 10 characters isn't always the length of the city and state, so it leads to choppy results:
    Dunedin, F  Lexington,  St. Louis,  Miami, FL   Hialeah, F  Robstown,   Sacramento  Coldwater,  Indianapol  Auburndale
What we need to do is tell MID the exact number of characters to return each time even though the length of the city varies. We can figure this out using FIND again.

The city name is always followed by the word "SALARY". So, if we search for the position of that word and subtract the position of "BORN," we'll get the length of what's between the two. The ultimate formula looks like spaghetti but works just fine:
Used on the example text, it returns:
    Dunedin, FL   Lexington, KY   St. Louis, MO   Miami, FL   Hialeah, FL   Robstown, TX   Sacramento, CA   Coldwater, OH   Indianapolis, IN   Auburndale, WI
That's it. Fairly handy and further proof that Excel is a versatile part of the data journalists' tool kit.
  • If the substring is on the right side of the data, use the RIGHT function to extract it.
  • If the substring is on the left side of the data, use the LEFT function to extract it.
  • If the substring has unwanted characters on both sides of the desired data, use the MID function to extract it.

Story: The Successful Tennis Player

A renowned Tennis Player, was stricken by HIV from a contaminated blood transfusion which he received during his heart bypass surgery.
He was a legendary player. People from all over the world were very sad to hear the news. He received millions of get well soon letters and cards from his fans all over the world. One of the letters read:
"It is very sad to know about your illness. Why did God let this happen to you?"

The Tennis Player wrote a reply to this fan saying:

"Millions of children start playing tennis. Hundreds of thousands of them learn to play proper Tennis. Tens of Thousands of them learn professional Tennis.  Thousands of them go to Tennis tournaments around the world.  Some 5 thousand make it to Grand Slam and around 100 make it to Wimbledon. Just 4 make it to Semi Finals and 2 to finals and only ONE wins. And I was that ONE out of millions of people around the world.

When I was holding the Wimbledon Championship Trophy I never asked God "Why Me?" So I have no right to ask God "why me?" during my times of hardship."

Isn't it true that a human being often forgets God during times of happiness? Whenever he achieves something in his life he attributes it to himself, his hard work and support from his family and friends and forgets to thank God. But what does the same person do when he is afflicted by a misfortune? The same person who takes credit for every achievement of his now starts blaming God for his

Moral: God keeps reminding people of His existence by giving them trials and afflictions, because people tend to forget God during their good times and such people only become aware of God if harm touches them. Never forget God in your good times. And if you are going through bad times, thank God even more for the times could have been worse.

Trapped In Lift ? Follow This


What to do when you are trapped in a lift ???

We never know when and where accidents will happen to us OR people around us. Read on and hope this piece of information may help any of us when things do happen to yourself, our friends and our loved ones.
One day, while in a lift, it suddenly broke down and it was falling from level 13 at a fast speed. Fortunately, I remembered watching a TV program that taught you must quickly press all the buttons for all the levels.
Finally, the lift stopped at the 5th level.
When you are facing life and death situations, whatever decisions or actions you make decides your survival. If you are caught in a lift breakdown, first thought in mind may be 'waiting to die'...
But after reading below, things will definitely be different the next time you are caught in a lift.
First - Quickly press all the different levels of buttons in the lift.
When the emergency electricity supply is being activated, it will stop the lift from falling further.
Second - Hold on tight to the handle (if there is any).. It is to support your position and prevent you from falling or getting hurt when you loose your balance.
Third - Lean your back and head against the wall forming a straight line.
Leaning against the wall is to use it as a support for your back/spine as protection.
Fourth - Bend your knees
Ligament is a flexible, connective tissue. Thus, the impact of fractured bones will be minimised during fall.
For everyone, kindly do share this piece of information with your near and dear ones !!

Advice from 80 Years Old Man - Editor's Favorite

A fantastic piece of wisdom:
  • ​ Have a firm handshake.
  •  Look people in the eye.
  •  If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
  •  Keep secrets.
  •  Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
  •  Always accept an outstretched hand.
  •  Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
  •  Avoid sarcastic remarks.
  •  Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.
  •  Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
  •  Lend only those books you never care to see again.
  •  Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
  •  When playing games with children, let them win.
  •  Give people a second chance, but not a third.
  •  Be romantic.
  •  Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  •  Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
  •  Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It's there for our convenience, not the caller's.
  •  Be a good loser.
  •  Be a good winner.
  •  Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
  •  Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
  •  Keep it simple.
  •  Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
  •  Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  •  Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets
  •  Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.
  •  Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  •  Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
  •  Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
  •  Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
  •  Once in a while, take the scenic route.
  •  Send a lot of wish cards. Sign them, 'Someone who thinks you're terrific.'
  •  Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
  •  Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
  •  Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
  •  Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.
  •  Make someone's day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
  •  Become someone's hero.
  •  Marry only for love.
  •  Count your blessings.
  •  Compliment the meal when you're a guest in someone's home.
  •  Wave at the children on a school bus.
  •  Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
  •  Don't expect life to be fair
Great Wisdom from China 90+ Activities To Reduce Stress

Don't Let small Things in Life Trip You

Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path, and you will find you have crossed the mountain.

Everyone loves the feeling of securing a huge victory but so many of us look over the fact that accomplishing the greatest feats means we have to win the small battles first.

If you examine all of the biggest characters in history, you will realize that though they may be known for one thing, or a few things even, in every single case of greatness, there are many small challenges that don't get talked about. It is in these small victories that the greatest people of all time became the conquerors and winners that we still read about and talk about today.

Never let the small things in life trip you up and keep you from overcoming the huge mountains in life.

Be great by continuing to stand in the midst of adversity. And remember to keep moving forward once you gather yourself from falling. Never quit!

The Wise Man's Stone

  A wise old woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream.
The next day she met another traveler who was hungry,
 and the wise woman opened her
 bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me something more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.
 Moral : All the treasures in our world not worth the noble feelings that we carry within ourselves to others.

Being Content

Be Content

Wherever I am is wherever I am meant to be, whatever I am doing is whatever I am meant to be doing and whatever everyone else is doing is exactly what they are meant to be doing - this is contentment. If you do want to change where you are, or what you are doing, the first thing is to be content with wherever you are and whatever you are doing right now! Paradoxically that's what attracts opportunities and invitations to be somewhere else! Why? Because you are a living magnet, and contentment is one of your most attractive qualities. And the law of attraction says that according to your dominant thoughts so you will attract the people and circumstances into your life. Being content right now attracts the best possible future.

Static IPs and Dynamic IPs - Advantages and Disadvantages

In home networks, IP addresses aren't usually fixed, but they do fall within specific ranges. Your router will assign a new IP address automatically if another computer joins the network, or if your configuration changes. For the most part, this works out just fine – you shouldn't notice a difference to your Internet performance or application functionality if your IP changes.

A static IP address however, is one that doesn't change. Your computer decides upon the address it wants, and it tells the router. Why would you want to set up something like this though, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so? Is there a better solution?

What Is A Static IP?

When we talk about IP addresses of home computers, we are usually referring to two types of address. One is your external IP address – the one that the world sees as your Internet connection. Then you have your private IP addresses internally on your home network. Even if you only have one computer on your home network, it will have a private IP given to it by the router. Private IP addresses cannot be routed over the Internet and are strictly for private use. There are a few possible ranges of private IP address, but for most home users this will be 192.168.*.* (where * can be anything).

Your router interface, for instance, is likely accessible through – this is a private address. Your home computers might then be anything from to Most routers will just assign internal addresses on a first come first served basis. The first computer you plug into the router will send out a network request saying "I need an IP address, my hardware address is x.x.x.x.x.x" and will be assigned, then the next will get

Your external IP address is not something you can change – it will be given to you automatically by your Internet provider. You can purchase a static external IP address, but they are incredibly expensive. If you do need to access your home network from a remote location, consider getting a dynamic address that will update itself when your IP changes.  For a home network though, you are free to assign static, non-changing IP addresses to whatever computers you want, so let's a take a look at when you would do this.

static ip address

Why Would I Need A Static Private IP Address & What Are The Advantages?

Essentially, you need a static IP anytime you are trying to forward certain packets from the Internet to certain computers or devices on your home network. For example:

A Local Web Server

In order to set up a web server on your home network that is accessible by anyone in the world, you need to forward incoming requests on port 80 to your web server machine. If the web server was to restart and get a new IP from the router, the special rule that you created to forward requests on port 80 to the old server IP address wouldn't work anymore, and your server would break.

Remote Torrent Management

A few weeks ago I showed you how to manage your torrent client from a remote computer or mobile phone, but it involved forwarding requests on port 9091 to the machine running the torrent client. We found out the address of the machine and created a rule based on that, but again, if the address was to change, the remote management wouldn't work.


For some older routers and gaming setups, you needed to forward certain ports to your xBox or PC to play online multiplayer games. More recent routers include an automated setup procedure called uPNP which eliminates the need to set up rules by hand.

Disadvantages Of A Static IP

Static IPs need to be configured manually, and often you will need to make a few changes to your router configuration too. In this respect, they are said to have an "administration overhead", because you need to keep track of the settings yourself. For home networks, this usually isn't an issue with only a few machines to worry about – but for corporations and companies this is quite a problem.

Without correct router configuration, you are also likely to see more IP address conflict errors. For example, if you set one of your machines to the IP address, and your router continues to hand out IP automatically, then at some point, another machine will be given the same IP! Basically, static IPs can be quite problematic.

The Solution: Reserved Addresses

Instead of having to manually configure the settings on every PC we want to give a static IP address to, we will simply "reserve" the address we want to give them in the router's automatic IP address system. By doing this, we ensure our machines have an IP address that will never change, without actually assigning a "static" IP address as such, which would complicate things. To do this, open up your router configuration page and look for a section on DHCP or LAN IP.

Look at the section labelled Static Leases or Reserved Lease Info. There are two or more fields that need to be filled in. First is the hardware address (6 pairs of alphanumeric characters), which is unique to every network device in the world, and second is the IP you wish to assign it. You should be able to see your hardware address in the list of current "leases" (a lease refers to the address that the router has automatically lent to your device) next the IP it is currently assigned. If not, type IPCONFIG /ALL (from Windows command prompt) or IFCONFIG (from an OS X Terminal) and look for either the Ethernet or Physical Address.

how to obtain a static ip address

In this case, I want the device with the hardware address E0:CB:4E:A5:7C:9D, currently with IP, to stay that way forever. Enter this information to create a new reserved address.

static ip address

You can also change the IP address from here if you'd like the reserved one to be different to what it is currently, but you will need to restart the device in order to get the new address. You are basically "tying" a particular local IP address to a particular piece of hardware.

That's it – now your address won't change after a restart and you can keep your special routing rules the same. Confused? Problems? Feel free to ask in the comments, and I will endeavor to answer as best as I can – but remember that every router model is slightly different.

Source: makeuseof

Help the Person in Depression

You may know someone who is depressed and not know they're depressed. People expect someone who is depressed to cry a lot, stay in bed all day, mope, or sound like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. But depression isn't always this obvious.
Some people can totally fake it. They can smile and laugh; they can act like everyone else, even while they are in excruciating emotional pain. Occasionally people who can do this end up killing themselves, and no one can believe it.
The pain is also complicated by the fact that depression attacks a person's thoughts and feelings, rather than liver or lungs. Depression can cause a person to think she hates herself or is unhappy in her relationships.

It can cause someone to believe everyone would be better off without him, or even that others would be better off dead. It can cause people to feel sad, angry, guilty, numb, or rageful, even when none of this is how they feel when they aren't depressed.

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Stepping Into Consciousness - Being Aware

Life is a journey comprised of many steps on our personal path that takes us down a winding road of constant evolution. And each day, we are provided with a myriad of opportunities that can allow us to transform into our next best selves. One moment we are presented with an opportunity to react differently when yet another someone in our life rubs us the wrong way; on another day we may find ourselves wanting to walk away from a particular circumstance but are not sure if we can. Eventually, we may find ourselves stuck in a rut that we can never seem to get out of. We may even make the same choices over and over again because we don't know how to choose otherwise. Rather than moving us forward, our personal paths may take us in a seemingly never-ending circle where our actions and choices lead us nowhere but to where we've already been. It is during these moments that awareness can be the first step to change.

Awareness is when we are able to realize what we are doing. We observe ourselves, noticing our reactions, actions, and choices as if we were a detached viewer. Awareness is the first step to change because we can't make a change unless we are aware that one needs to be made in the first place. We can then begin understanding why we are doing what we are doing. Afterward, it becomes difficult not to change because we are no longer asleep to the truth behind our behaviors. We also begin to realize that, just as much as we are the root source behind the causes for our behaviors, we are also the originator for any changes that we want to happen.

There is a freedom that comes with awareness. Rather than thinking that we are stuck in a repetitive cycle where there is no escape, we begin to see that we very much play a hand in creating our lives. Whether we are aware of them or not, our behaviors and choices are always ours to make. Our past and our present no longer have to dictate our future when we choose to be aware. We are then free to move beyond our old limits, make new choices, and take new actions. With awareness, our paths can't help but wind us forward in our lives while paving the way for new experiences and new ways of being. It is through awareness that we can continue to consciously evolve.
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The 3 Skills Every Child Needs for Good Behavior

Good Behavior is not Magic—It's a Skill  The 3 Skills Every Child Needs for Good Behavior
When you have a child who acts out and is disrespectful or disruptive, it's easy to compare him to the so-called "good kids" who never seem to get into trouble or give their parents grief. Many people feel hopeless about the possibility of ever teaching their child to "magically" become the kind of well-behaved member of the family they envisioned before they had him.
It's actually the learning process associated with consequences that changes the behavior.
The truth is that good behavior isn't magic—you can't just wave a wand and turn your child into who you want him to be. Rather, good behavior is a skill that can be learned, just like carpentry, teaching or nursing. I believe three of the most important skills for children to learn as a foundation for good behavior are: how to read social situations, how to manage emotions, and how to solve problems appropriately. If your child can learn to master these three tasks with your help, he will be well on his way to functioning successfully as an adult.

Related: How to teach your child the skill of good behavior.

Skill #1: Reading Social Situations
The ability to read social situations is important because it helps your child avoid trouble and teaches him how to get along with others. If he can walk into a classroom, lunchroom, playground or a dance, read what's going on there, and then decide how he's going to interact in that environment in an appropriate way, he's already halfway there. So if your child sees a bunch of kids who usually tease and bully others, the skill of reading social situations will help him stay away from that group, rather than gravitate toward it.
Parents can help their kids develop these skills by getting them to read the looks on people's faces at the mall or a restaurant, for example. If your child can learn to see who looks angry, frustrated or bored, two things will happen: the first is that he will be able to identify how people might be feeling. Secondly, he'll learn that he should try to identify other people's emotions. Both are integral in learning how to read social situations.
Related: Calm parenting in any situation.

Skill #2: Managing Emotions:
It's critical for your child to learn how to manage his emotions appropriately as he matures. Managing your emotions means that it's not OK to punch a hole in the wall because you're angry; it's not OK to curse at your dad because he took your iPod away. Children need to learn that just because they feel bad or angry, it does not give them the right to hurt others.
    Ask the Right Questions
    If your child calls his little sister a nasty name, it's your job to first sit down and ask, "What did you see going on that you thought you needed to do that?" Not, "How did you feel?" but "What was going on?" You'll find that usually this type of behavior is generally self-centered. Perhaps your child's little sister is getting more attention or she's watching a show and he wants the TV, or she's playing with the video games and he wants to play them. When your child does not know how to deal with that situation and he becomes nasty or abusive, it's time for you to step in and put a stop to it. And I think you should very clearly state, "Just because you're angry, it doesn't give you the right to call your sister a nasty name." That's an important, direct way of teaching the skill of managing emotions.
    What Giving Consequences Does (and Doesn't) Accomplish
    I believe that consequences are part of accountability. In other words, your child should know that if the inappropriate behavior happens again, he will be held accountable. Saying that, I don't think people change simply because they're punished or are given consequences. Although parents often focus on them, consequences alone are not enough. Rather, it's the learning process associated with the consequences that changes a child's behavior. So it's the part of your child's thinking process that says, "Next time I'm upset, if I call Sarah a name, I'm going to be punished. Instead, I can just go to my room and cool down."
    Here's the truth: you can punish kids until the cows come home, but it's not going to change their behavior. That's because the problem is actually not the behavior—the problem lies in the way kids think. This faulty thinking then gets externalized into how they behave. If you punish them for the behavior and neglect to challenge the way they think about the problem—or discuss what their options are for dealing with that problem effectively in the future—then really, what are you doing? You're punishing your child, but he hasn't learned anything and he's not going to do anything differently. In fact, he's probably just going to do it again when you're not looking.
    Related: How to give consequences that really work.
    "What Will You Do Differently Next Time?"
    I think it's very important that you talk to your child about what he can do differently the next time he feels angry or frustrated. This tool is something I developed as part of The Total Transformation, and it's an important way to focus on changing your child's behavior. When you use this technique, it encourages your child to come up with other things he or she might do instead of using ineffective behavior. By the way, when you have this talk with your child, it should be a pretty businesslike conversation—it's not all smiley and touchy feely; it shouldn't be abusive or negative, either. Stick to the facts and ask, "What can you do differently next time?"

Skill #3: Teach Problem Solving Skills
    There's No Such Thing as "Good Kids" and "Bad Kids"
    I believe that the kids who are labeled "good" are children who know how to solve their problems and manage their behavior and social life, and the kids who are labeled "bad" are kids who don't know how to solve those problems. A child is often labeled "the bad kid" when he's developed ineffective actions to solve the problems that other kids solve appropriately. So this child may turn to responses that are disrespectful, destructive, abusive, and physically violent. In my opinion, there's no such thing as good kids or bad kids, there are simply kids who have learned effective ways of solving life's problems, and kids who have not.
    As they develop, children have to continually adjust their problem-solving skills and learn new ones. For instance, for a three year old, being told "no" is the biggest problem in her life. She stomps her feet, she throws a tantrum. Eventually, she has to learn to deal with that problem and manage the feelings associated with it. And so those tasks continue for five-year-olds who have to deal with the first day of school and for nine-year-olds who have to change in gym. They continue for 12- and 13-year-olds when they're at middle school, which is a much more chaotic environment than they have ever faced before.
    Related: How to teach kids problem-solving skills.
I've devoted much of my career to dealing with kids who behaved inappropriately, all the way from kids who were withdrawn and depressed to kids who were aggressive and acted out physically. I believe a very key element in helping children change their behavior is for parents to learn techniques where they help their child identify the problem they're facing. Together, you look at how to solve problems and come up with other solutions. So talk to your child about the problem at hand and how to solve it—not just about the emotion your child is feeling.
In the end, there is no magic solution to good behavior. The secret is really in teaching kids how to solve problems; good behavior is simply one of the fruits on that problem-solving tree. Your goal as a parent is to give your child the tools to learn good behavior. It's never too late to get these tools, but know this: if your child can't read a situation in the ninth grade and doesn't know how to respond, reacts by getting aggressive, and then gets into trouble, how do you think they are going to handle it when they're an adult and their boss tells them something they don't want to hear? That's why it's important for you as parent not to "wish away" the bad behavior and to start teaching your child the skills he needs to change his behavior for good.
Read more: empoweringparents

You Are What You Speak - Power Of Words

You Are What You Speak
Power Of Words

Words have power. Despite reassurances of the old childhood rhyme, "sticks and stones will break your bones, but words can never hurt you," we all know words can hurt. Hopefully, most of us try to refrain from saying hurtful things, but we can take a step further on the path to enlightenment by being conscious of all the words we use. To become conscious of one's speech means to become aware of the power of words and the energy behind them.

Speaking consciously is very effective in bringing about positive change. You can actually change your life for the better, by being more aware of the things you say. For instance, if you're constantly putting yourself down, "I'm fat, clumsy, unpopular, etc." then you will no doubt feel as such. However, if you stroke yourself with positive affirmations, "I'm fit, athletic, friendly..." you will feel more positive about yourself to aspire to such admirable qualities.

Having a positive attitude and being aware of our words is equally important when speaking to others. Everyone knows how draining it is to be around people who complain,or gossip all the time. However, we are drawn like magnets to cheerful people who are free with compliments or make us laugh.

Be conscious of your words and your intentions in speaking. Speak truthfully, so that you truly mean and feel what you say. Try to be fully aware of those that you are speaking to and the effect of your words on them, this way you will be less likely to speak negatively.

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​ The Benefits of Raw Honey Are Incredible

For the past 2,500 years, honey has been an essential ingredient, used by countless cultures all around the world. Perhaps one of the reasons why, even today, honey is so widely consumed, is due to the variety of ways it can be eaten: You can eat a spoonful of honey directly, or spread it on bread like a jam, you can mix it with juice or tea for a sweeter taste, or simply add it to warm water. No matter how you use it, honey has become an extremely useful and versatile ingredient. It is also becoming increasingly recognized not only for its amazing taste, but its medicinal properties. To reap its benefits, selecting the right type of honey is key.  

Knowing the Difference between Pure and Artificial Honey
When purchasing honey, bear in mind that raw honey (honey in its purest form) is best. Raw honey hasn't been filtered, strained or heated above 115°F (46°C), unlike many of the commercial varieties we find lined up in our conventional grocery stores. In fact, most of the commercial kinds have been processed to the point that many (if not all) of the beneficial enzymes, nutrients and antioxidants have been completely destroyed.

But, how can you identify the difference between the two? These 4 tests will help you determine whether the honey you purchased, is pure or not:

1. The texture testUnlike artificial honey, pure honey is solid. A spoonful will remain intact and will not drip off or spread easily.

2. The water testArtificial honey, dissolves easily in water. Pure honey, on the other hand,  will lump and settle at the bottom of a glass that is filled with water.

3. The shelf life testPure honey will crystallize over time. While imitation honey will continue to look like syrup, no matter how long it has been stored.

4. Light a fireIf you dip the tip of a matchstick in honey, then strike it to light, natural honey will light the match easily and the flame will burn off the honey. Artificial honey,
though, will not light due to the moisture that it contains.

To get the most out of this beneficial food, purchase a raw, organic honey from a whole food shops, a farmer's market or specialized food stores.  

The Key Nutrients Found in Pure Honey Raw honey is loaded with many essential vitamins and minerals. It is packed with essential B vitamins, including B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid) and B6 (Pyridoxine), all of which function as coenzymes that help the body attain energy from food. The B-vitamins are also important for normal appetite, good vision, healthy skin and nervous system function, as well as red blood cell formation. Honey is also a good source of vitamin C, which benefits the body by holding cells together through collagen synthesis (a connective tissue that holds muscles, bones and other tissues together).

Honey also contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, sulphur, zinc and phosphate - most of which aid in body metabolism, water balance and bone health, among many other beneficial qualities.

10 Ways Pure Honey Can Benefit Your Health
1. A great source of energyCarbohydrates in the form of glucose and fructose supply the body and mind with energy, which can boost endurance and reduce muscle fatigue. In fact, honey is used by many athletes as an instant, yet sustained, energy source.  

2. An excellent source of antioxidantsBesides containing a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, honey also contains the flavonoid pinocembrin - which is unique to honey. This supports and promotes healthy enzyme activity.  

3. Supports good bacteriaHoney supports Bifidobacteria, which is present in the gastrointestinal tract and is essential for efficient digestion and good health. Honey also contains pre/pro-biotics, which helps growth and activity of Bifidobacteria. Honey doesn't ferment in the stomach and can be used to counteract indigestion.

4. Treats allergies and supports a strong immune systemHoney contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can treat allergies by supporting a strong immune system. Using honey often can also strengthen the white blood corpuscles, which help fight bacterial and viral diseases.

5. Slows down the aging processThe slow depletion of enzymes in the body partly contributes to the aging process. Raw honey, however, is one of the few foods that helps slow the depletion of enzymes through the ingestion of amylase - an enzyme that breaks down sugars and carbohydrates. This has the ability to restore damaged skin, giving a softer, younger look.

6. Promotes better blood sugar controlExperimental evidence suggests that consumption of honey may improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity compared to other sweeteners. The body's tolerance to honey is significantly better that its reaction to sucrose and glucose sourced from other foods. Individuals with greater glucose intolerance (those with mild diabetes and Type 1 diabetes - a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin) showed significantly better tolerance to honey than sucrose.

7. Helps suppress a coughIn children and teens aged between 2 and 18, honey has been found to be more effective than cough suppressant dextromethorphan. Buckwheat honey, has been shown to be an especially successful cough medicine.

8. Helps lower high cholesterolIn a series of experiments involving healthy subjects and those with high cholesterol, honey has been found to be the healthiest sweetener. However, the study also found that in patients with high cholesterol, artificial honey increased LDL (bad) cholesterol, while pure, natural honey decreased total cholesterol by 8% and LDL cholesterol by 11%.

9. A beneficial wound healerRaw honey applied topically to the skin, has been revealed to contain a number of wound healing benefits. Because honey is composed mainly of glucose and fructose (two sugars that strongly attract water), honey absorbs water in the wound and dries it out so that the growth of bacteria and fungi is inhibited. Studies have also discovered that Manuka honey decreases the surface pH level of wounds so that germs can no longer survive and bacteria is kept out.

10. Potentially prevents low white blood cell countHoney may be a promising and inexpensive way to prevent low white blood cell count caused by chemotherapy. In a small study, 40% of cancer patients who were known to be at risk of neuropenia (very low blood count) had no further episodes of the condition after taking 2 teaspoons of therapeutic honey each day during chemotherapy .

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