Did you know that for thousands of years honey has been valued for its nutritional and medicinal benefits in countries all around the world. Not only is honey enjoyed as a sweet addition to food, it has also been used for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties since the days of ancient Egypt and possibly before even that.
You might be surprised to hear that honey is not only a natural sweetener but is a healthy source of carbohydrates to give you an energy boost when you need it. According to the National Honey Board, honey contains 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon, so you are on a carb-restrictive diet you should be aware that honey, although healthier than other forms of sugar, will increase your carbohydrate load.
Honey is best enjoyed in its natural, raw state. Unfortunately many food manufacturers process honey to preserve it for long journeys and for longer shelf life. As a result not all honey is equal. The purest forms of honey will give you the health benefits you want.
1 tablespoon of raw, natural honey
- 64 calories of energy
Did you know that honey contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals your body needs for health?
Honey is not for infants!
The Mayo Clinic reports that honey is a cause of infant botulism (food poisoning) and should be kept away from babies until they are at least 12 months old. Honey contains bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum which causes botulism. Older children and adults have more developed digestive systems that can handle this bacteria.
The Health Benefits of Honey
Honey brings relief from allergies
Everyone suffers from seasonal allergies when pollen spores are everywhere. Honey alleviates the symptoms caused by these spores and reduces inflammation of the mucous membranes and it is believed that honey acts as a natural vaccine.
Because honey itself contains trace amounts of pollen, it is thought that this results in an immune response that builds protection for when the real onslaught of pollen comes. As a result the body becomes used to the presence of pollen and produces less histamine, and as a result the allergy symptoms are reduced.
Honey is Sugar – and a natural energy booster
Honey is a composite of glucose and fructose and as a result is absorbed quickly into the blood stream for immediate energy when needed. If you have too much honey without needing to burn energy, your body converts this into fat, just as it does for any sugar. Use honey sparingly as an effective energy booster. Remember that this is a short-term energy boost and not sustainable.
Honey helps your brain remember better
Honey is good for your short-term memory because it contains antioxidants that prevent cellular damage in your brain.
Brain health is also assisted because honey helps with the absorption of calcium, which is essential for proper neuron function. This prevents the onset of dementia and the slowing down of thought processes.
Honey is good for a cough and sore throat
Honey coats the throat and as a result two teaspoons of honey can reduce coughing, especially in children. Honey’s antibacterial action also helps the body fight against respiratory infections.
Honey helps you sleep better
Honey acts just like sugar to increase insulin levels in the body, as well as serotonin levels – which enhances moods and as a result can help you relax before falling asleep.
The serotonin is converted into melatonin which helps regulate sleep.
Honey also contains tryptophan (which is found in turkey meat) and this causes better sleep because it is converted into serotonin and then melatonin.
Honey treats dandruff
It has been found that dandruff can be treated by applying honey to the scalp. The honey needs to be diluted with 10% warm water and left in the hair for at least 3 hours to reduce itchiness.
Honey also has anti-fungal properties which reduces the fungal infections that can cause skin problems.
First aid: wound care and burn care with honey
Honey can be used internally as well as externally as a natural anti-biotic. When applied externally to wounds honey combats harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus.
This is nothing new though – since honey has been used in poultices to treat wounds for at least 2,000 years.
Let’s celebrate and use honey for what it is – a natural, healing gift from nature.