Honey Health Benefits – It’s time to enjoy it again
It’s time to put honey back in your life. If you have been pushing it way, take another look. Honey is nutritional, and healing both internally and externally. Honey is good for you in it's natural, raw state. You'll find all the honey health benefits you need below.
Honey is composed of a complex mixture of carbohydrates (Fructose, glucose and maltose), water, and a small amount of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phenolic compounds so it's considered a whole food.
We've been eating honey a long time
Honey is produced by honeybees. The bees collect nectar and sweet deposits from plants. They then store it in honeycombs where it is harvested. It is a natural and safe food product.
As a species, we have been eating honey for a long, long time. Honey was even written about on a Sumerian tablet back in 2100-2000 BC. There it mentions honey’s use as a drug and an ointment, according to Crane E. in “Honey, a comprehensive survey.”
Honey Health Benefits
There's even a healthy therapy built around it. Did you ever hear the word apitherapy? It’s the branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products for healing.
Which sweetener to choose?
With so many sweeteners on the market, it’s hard to know what’s healthy.
In my household I always fall back on the unprocessed, raw, and the natural choice? In this case honey wins hands down. It also provides internal and external health benefits.
Because of the honey health benefits, I dumped table sugar a long time ago. But I’ve tried other sweeteners along the way like the white processed Stevia, and it's powdered green whole leaf counterpart. Plus I was into raw cane sugar for a while. But comparatively speaking, none is as tasty, nor as healthy as honey.
As of late, honey is my go-to sweetener, and here is why.
No added weight gain
It’s a common belief that since honey is sugar it will make you fat. But an animal study comprised of 3 powdered diets (sugar free, sucrose, mixed sugars, and honey) showed otherwise. The result: “overall percentage weight gain was significantly lower in honey-fed rats than those fed sucrose or mixed sugars, despite a similar food intake.”
Diabetics also benefit from honey
Diabetics, who must monitor their blood sugar levels are told to stay away from honey due to it’s high glycemic values. However, type 2 diabetic patients where given natural honey for 8 weeks. The results were amazing. Their body weight, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and triglyceride decreased, and their high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol increased significantly.
Good nutrition versus empty calories
Honey health benefits abound. Honey is essentially concentrated sugars in water. But it also contains a very complex mixture of other saccharides, proteins, enzymes, amino acids, organic acids, polyphenols, and carotenoid like substances, maillard reaction products, vitamins and minerals.
The three main honey enzymes are diastase (amylase) which convert starch or glycogen into smaller sugar units, invertase (sucrase, α-glucosidase) which convert sucrose into fructose and glucose, as well as glucose oxidase which produce hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid from glucose.
Common table sugar contains sucrose from heavily processed sugar cane. All other nutrients are removed during manufacturing. There are no proteins, enzymes, or amino acids left. This is why it is called an empty calorie. There is no nutrition in table sugar, it only contains carbohydrate calories.
For example, look at the small comparison below. Note how honey health benefits rule over common table sugar.
100 gram serving
Carbohydrates constitute about 95 to 97% of honey, of which are mainly fructose and glucose. Due to its high carbohydrate content honey is an excellent source of energy for athletes.
However, there are also about 25 different oligosaccharides. The most well known effect of most non-digestible oligosaccharides is stimulation of the growth of Bifidobacteria (probiotics)which improve food digestion and assimilation in the colon.
Free Amino Acids
The honey health benefits continue. Protein content in honey is roughly 0.5% made up mainly from enzymes and free amino acids.
Amino acids are combined to make protein. But during digestion, the consumption of a protein source must be broken back down into amino acids for use by the body.
Honey contains the free-form amino acids, making them "pre-digested", and ready for assimilation upon consumption.
Inhibits micro-organisms and fungi
Fungal infections can occur in the lungs or the skin. They are more likely to occur when taking anti-biotics or during times of a weakened immune system. Honey inhibits the growth of micro-organisms and fungi. The antibacterial effects have been reported for many strains.
Honey also provides antioxidant effects on free radicals. Antioxidant activity is thought to prevent some chronic diseases. Honey has been found to contains antioxidant activity including glucose oxidase, catalase, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoid derivatives, and organic acids.
Antimutagenic and antitumor activity
Mutagenic substances promoting mutations of the genetic structure. All honeys exhibited a significant inhibition of mutagenicity. Glucose and fructose were found to have a similar antimutagenic activity as honey.
Treatment of wounds
A blend of manuka and jelly bush honey) has been one of the first medically certified honeys licensed as medical product for professional wound care in Europe, America and Australia. Honey is equally found as an active ingredient in products such as ointments for the treatment of wounds and burns.
The viscous nature of honey is believed to provide a moist environment around wounds that allows skin cells to re-grow across the wound as well as it provides a protective barrier to help block against further contact infection.
Stimulation of tissue growth
Want further proof of honey health benefits, then look into wound care and healing.
The re-growth of tissue is very important in the wound healing process. Honey stimulates the formation of new blood capillaries (angiogenesis). The growth of fibroblasts that replace connective tissue in deeper layers of the skin and produce the collagen fibers to strengthen healing. Honey also stimulates regrowth of new skin cells over a healed wound. This helps prevent scarring and keloid formation.
3 simple ways to benefit from honey
Honey health benefits can be gained in many ways, but they really break down into 3 main categories.
The simplest thing to do is to drink honey. Squeeze 1/4 of a lemon in a 16 oz glass of water. Add a teaspoon of honey, and stir. Drink throughout the day. Don't like it cold, warm the water 1st before adding the honey for a tasty morning beverage.
Eating it is even more fun. Sure you can have it right out the jar, but it's a perfect compliment to fruit. Here's what I do. I chop a cored apple and add it to a bowl. I then sprinkle on cinnamon and nutmeg. Lastly I slow drip (because it's fun) a teaspoon of honey over the apple. Then I mix it up. Also, if I have sprouted oats on hand, I mix in a 1/4 cup of the oats for an amazing tasty treat.
Honey can be worn. Not as a jacket, or a pair of pants. But as a layer to soothe cuts, and burns. It's simple to do. Put a little honey on a band-aid, and then apply it to your skin. Or put it on a clean, dry pad and apply to the damaged skin. Leave on for an hour, and then reapply as needed. Don't forget, honey is sticky so rinse well with water to avoid sticking the the drapes or small animals.
Summary of honey health benefits
Dump the table sugar and come back to honey. It's a far better choice than sugar any day. Use it to create a post workout sport drink, or use it on a wound or burn to assist in healing.
Inside or out, honey can't be beat.
Don't forget, look for the "all raw" version. Processed honey is heated, which will kill many of the enzymes naturally found in it.
Enjoy honey, and let it assist you in your travels on the road to health.
Discover Even More
Research : Honey for nutrition and health