The Nutritional Health Benefits of Honey
Honey was known as a natural sweetener before refined sugar became to be widely known in the 16th century. Greece and Sicily are where the harvesting of honey began. Though high in fructose, it has very many benefits for those who are healthy. Honey is best taken in its raw form. It offers benefits that you maybe are not aware of. From boosting energy, healing wounds to relieving cough are all associated with this sweet substance. This post aims to make you understand all the nutritional facts about honey. Also, you’ll know the food that honey complements. Finally, you’ll know how often you should take honey.
Quick Fact: Honey is the only food substance produced by insects that humans eat?
How Is Honey Made?
A fascinating fact is that to make one pound of honey, it requires 60,000 honeybees. The bees travel over 55000 miles visiting over 2 million flowers to gather enough nectar. After collecting the honey, the bee stores it in its extra stomach. In there, it gets mixed with enzymes. It is later passed on to another bee through regurgitation. The cycle goes on and on until the nectar is partially digested. Then, they store it in the honeycombs. In the honeycomb, the bees fan the honey until water evaporates leaving behind a sticky substance, which is honey. The trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids found in honey are incomparable to any other sweeteners. The taste, color, and flavor of honey depend on the source of the nectar.
Health Benefits of Honey
There is more to honey than just sweet taste it provides. When used as food, the benefits it provides the human body are uncountable. Honey has many therapeutic uses some dating back to many years ago. Hence it can be used for many ailments and complaints.
Cancer and Heart Disease
Honey contains antioxidants called flavonoids that help reduce the risks of cancer and heart diseases. Hence to keep away from you, you need to include honey in your meals.
Remedy for Gastrointestinal Conditions
Honey assists those with ulcers and gastroenteritis. When consumed, honey shortens the lifespan of bacterial diarrhea among the infants and young children.
Toxins are the primary sources of infections in the body. You can incorporate a daily dose of honey in hot drinks, toast or eat it raw. It provides antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals. The free radicals damage the blood vessels. If you take a cup of hot water and add lemon and honey, then you’ll have a body free of tonic.
Locally produced honey comes with pollens picked up by the bees from the flowers as they collect nectar. Eating the honey introduces traces of these allergens in the body. This activates the immune system and builds a natural immunity against it. Thus, you’ll no longer be allergic to the pollen of those particular flowers.
Acts as an Anti-Bacteria and Antifungal
Manuka variety of honey can prevent treat chronic wound infections. It kills them by destroying the primary bacteria proteins. Manuka honey can help reverse the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. To derive maximum benefits, use natural honey as opposed to the processed honey. There is an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide that bees add to the honey. The enzyme makes honey a good anti-bacteria.
Helps to Boost Energy
In the past, the Olympic Athletes would eat honey and some dried figs to perform better. The primary source of energy for muscles is carbohydrates. Honey provides natural energy to keep going. It delays the onset of fatigue. This is because honey contains carbohydrates necessary for working muscles. Honey is also good after workout or athlete activity. Ingesting honey replenishes the energy lost and also delays muscle soreness. Further, it allows the healing of muscles after intense exercises. Honey helps maintain the glycogen levels. It can improve recovery time compared to any other commercial sweeteners.
Remedy for Cough and Irritation
Buckwheat honey is a reliever for a cough. It lowers the nighttime coughing. This results in better sleep. Recent studies show that a single dose of honey and dextromethorphan may produce similar or better effects in children with respiratory infections. For sour throats, you need just to mix lemon and honey in a cup of water. It acts as a reliever. The honey contains formic acid, which is an antiseptic. It is a fact that antiseptic helps to relieve soar-throats.
Cure for Impotence
Honey can lower the impotence level and abate premature ejaculation.
Additionally, honey is also good for improving eyesight. Honey also helps in urinary tract disorders and helps in weight loss. Further, it helps fight diarrhea problems, asthma, and nausea. Honey, when used with other herbal medicine, enhances their penetration into the deeper tissues.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Honey contains some sugar though not comparable to some white sugars and other artificial sweeteners.
Honey Is Good For Herpes
The simple sugars in honey draw fluids from the wound pretty fast. The high sugar content present in honey also hinders the growth of microorganisms. The bees introduce an enzyme known as glucose oxidase into the nectar. The enzyme then releases hydrogen peroxide in low levels when the honey gets into contact with the wound. The honey is also bacterial, anti fungal and antioxidants. These three features render honey good for external applications in case of injuries. You don’t have to ingest antibiotics with this natural healer.
Certain varieties of honey contain large amounts of good bacteria for example lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. That may be the reason behind the medicinal capabilities of honey.
Treating Skin and Hair
As pointed out, honey contains anti-bacteria that is good for the skin. They provide a nourishing and moisturizing effect when used with other ingredients. Thus, it enhances beauty. Manufacturers nowadays are using honey for making almost anything. Soaps, Moisturizers, lotions, bar soaps all contain honey as an ingredient. Consumers care about their health more than ever. Thus, they demand cosmetics and other personal care products made from natural ingredients. Honey is an exceptional humectant meaning that it can attract and store moisture for long. This makes it a common ingredient in the manufacture of moisturizing products. Shampoos, creams, and conditioners are perfect examples. Honey is best when it is pure and raw. It is a natural cosmetic. In the natural form, it contains vitamins, enzymes, and minerals that refined honey does not have.
Health Risks Associated with Honey
Honey is not safe for babies. In North America, spores of Clostridium botulinum were found in honey but small percentages. If added to the baby foods, they have adverse effects especially to infants in their first year. They can result in severe food poisoning. However, the spores have no effect on adults, and they should enjoy the sweetness.
Though honey has many health benefits, should be consumed sparingly. It contains 53% of fructose. If consumed in excess, the insulin resistance in the body is aggravated. That can bring health complications in the body. Those on medication for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes should avoid honey. If you are overweight too, avoid intake of honey. Any sweetener including honey decreases the insulin sensitivity. The effect of this is worsened insulin resistance. So, healthy people should eat honey in moderation for maximum benefits to the body.
Honey also contains high levels of calorie. It is not healthy to consume in large quantities. You may add a lot of weight if you consume it in excess. Being overweight will lead to other health complications.
How to Identify Fake Honey
Honey is a natural sweetener. The antibacterial levels in honey are, however, different and are more potent in one type than the other. Refined honey lacks most of these beneficial properties. Unfortunately, over 75% of honey found in markets in America is ultra-processed. This renders medicinal properties in honey ineffective. Ultra-processed honey does not contain pollen.
Incorporating Honey into the Diet
Over the years, honey has become an essential ingredient in cooking. This is because honey is pretty versatile and can blend with almost any meal. It adds flavor and texture to a range of savory dishes. Another important thing is that it is sweeter than other sugars. Hence you only need half of what you’d put off other sugars when cooking.
The following and more are instances where you can use honey:
- Add honey to salad dressings to give it an incredible flavor.
- Since time immemorial, honey has been used in meat to make it more tender and succulent. It gives a delicious coating for roasted chicken.
- You can stir honey into your tea or coffee to act as a sweetener.
- Get some honey to mix with yogurt, cereal and oatmeal meal.
- You can use honey to smear your whole grain bread together with peanut butter. That will give it a whole new fantastic taste.
- Add honey to flavor your ice cream.
- Honey can also become an ingredient when making biscuits and cakes for flavor. It helps to add their lifespan. It also helps them keep moisturized for longer since honey is hygroscopic.
- Pouring some honey to your everyday vegetables can do wonders for our meal.
Honey remains one of the best nutritious foods known to humanity. The properties of honey give it the therapeutic properties associated with it. The natural antibiotic will detoxify your liver leaving your body clean. That means better immunity against infections. If you are healthy, you live a happy and enjoyable life. Being fat and cholesterol free, it remains that everybody should consume this yummy food.