7 Surprising Health Benefits of Honey
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
We are all familiar with honey as being a healthy alternative to sugar. Honey has no fat, no cholesterol and only about 64 calories per tablespoon. Most of us are aware that a little honey and lemon in tea can quiet a cough or soothe a sore throat. Honey is known as a natural moisturizer and is found in cosmetics from facials to hair conditioner. But we may need to be reminded of what the ancient Greeks and Romans knew: raw honey has healing properties and health benefits.
Today we know that honey contains vitamins and minerals like vitamins A & C, iron, and calcium along with trace amounts of amino acids. That said, the following 7 health benefits of honey are backed by science and may be surprising to many.
Honey Boosts the Immune System
Our immune system wards off illness and disease. Our fast-paced lives can bring on chronic stress and cause the immune system to crash leaving us more susceptible to sickness. The good news is since honey has antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties, regularly consuming honey offers a wonderful boost to the immune system. Honey leans toward an acidic PH level that helps combat bacterial growth.
Honey Helps Prevent and Fight Cancer
Although more research is needed, initial findings show that honey can be labeled as a superfood since it contains antioxidants to help combat some free radicals. Its carcinogen-preventing properties can deter the growth of existing tumors. Unlike sugar, which cancer may actually feed on, honey has phenolic compounds and flavonoids that give it anti-metastatic properties.
Honey Helps the Digestive System
Honey can help cleanse the digestive system. Certain enzymes in honey help keep the digestive system running smoothly which is important to good health. Mix a teaspoon of honey in warm water with the juice of half a lemon. Drink this every morning and evening for a great daily cleansing drink. After a time you will notice feeling more energetic.
Some evidence suggests that honey can heal H. pylori stomach infections that often lead to ulcers. Soothing honey lines the esophagus helping to heal inflammation and damage. It reduces the symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) symptoms. Manuka honey from New Zealand is best for this but raw, unprocessed honey is a good second choice.
Honey Helps Allergy Symptoms
If a runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes have you reaching for over-the-counter allergy medications, give honey a try. Its anti-inflammatory properties cam help reduce your symptoms. A teaspoon daily is recommended. Since honey contains a trace amount of pollen, it becomes a natural vaccine causing your body to produce antibodies and build up a defense over time.
Be sure to obtain honey from the region where you live. Check out local farmer's markets and natural food stores. It will contain pollen spores from the flowers of local plants. Since building immunities will take some time, begin your honey regimen at least two or three months before the onset of allergy season.
Honey Works as a Memory Booster
As we age, it is important to consider brain health. Consuming foods that have been shown to help keep our memory sharp is highly recommended. Foods containing antioxidants feed the cells of your brain, and honey is loaded with them. Research has found that a mere spoonful of honey each day helps postmenopausal women have a sharper memory. Honey enables the brain to absorb calcium, which also contributes to protecting the brain and warding off dementia in later years.
Honey Helps Combat Eczema
If you suffer from Eczema, honey may be the natural treatment for the relief you have been looking for. It is believed that eczema is caused by an overactive immune system. Symptoms are dry scaly patches that range from mild to severe. Moderate to severe cases can be embarrassing and painful. Skin that becomes raw from scratching can even cause a bacterial infection to develop.
A mixture of honey, lime juice, and cinnamon is a good home remedy to try for eczema. Make a drink with a teaspoon of honey, a dash of cinnamon and the juice of half a lime in warm water. Stir well and drink daily.
You can also try applying honey to the bad spots of eczema a few times a day. Give this awhile before you reach any conclusions.
Honey Helps Heal Wounds and Burns
The ancient Greeks and Romans used honey to prevent infections in wounds as recorded by Aristotle in 384 BC. Honey was used to fight serious bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) early in the 2oth century before penicillin was developed. So if you get a scrape or burn simply applying honey with its natural antibiotic nature will help protect the wound from the invasion of serious bacteria.
Manuka honey (available on Amazon) is especially good for treating wounds. In fact, clinical studies found that Manuka honey can treat over 25 strains of bacteria! But even if you use any raw, unprocessed honey, it will help to hasten the healing of wounds and burns. It's great for kids because it doesn't sting like hydrogen peroxide and other antiseptics.
In conclusion, it is important to use raw, unprocessed honey for these health benefits. Pasteurizing and processing honey removes the traces of pollen and most of the vitamins and enzymes that give honey these special health benefits. However, never give raw honey to infants as it can cause botulism. Do not add it to food, water, or formula for babies under one year old. Also, even though honey is nutritious use it in moderation. A teaspoon has almost 4 grams of fructose. High quantities of fructose can be bad for those with diabetes or an insulin resistant condition. Strive to keep your consumption of fructose below 25 grams per day.
Again, buy your honey from local farmer's markets, health food stores, or co-ops for the most health benefits. You will find honey to be an affordable way to help stay healthy.