Honey is a gluey yellowish-to-brownish liquid. It is sweet and created by the tiny buzzing bees with the use of a flower’s nectar. Its color intensity gauges its grade. In general, the color of this thick, glue-like, and sugary liquid ranges from clear golden to dark brown. Light-toned honey has a distinctly milder taste, while the darker ones are more pungent in tang.
Honey has been used for thousands of years as a natural sweetener, but its benefits extend far beyond its delicious taste. Packed with essential nutrients and healing properties, honey is considered a superfood that offers numerous health advantages. In this essay, we will explore 14 huge health benefits of honey, showcasing its remarkable properties and why it should be a staple in our diets.
You can have the honey unprocessed or processed. However, consuming raw ones can help in easing seasonal allergies. The syrup-like substance contains a high level of “simple sugar,” scientifically termed as monosaccharides. Hence, the saccharine or sweet flavor.
On top of its rich, natural fruit sugar content, honey also contains properties that can fight off germs or bacteria. That is why, aside from being a favorite ingredient flavoring on some food preparations, honey is also extensively used in modern medicine.
Apart from the antibacterial agents, honey also has an antiseptic property. Highly applied in managing chronic wounds and fighting infection, the glutinous substance is more than just a sweet flavor ingredient. With that, let’s find out more about its beneficial impact on us.
Modern medicinal treatment considers honey as a cure for burns and wound-related problems. Studies have shown that it has a significant therapeutic effect in treating burns. Using it as a topical medicament is proven to be relatively cheaper than oral antibiotic medications. This is why people still use honey on minor wounds.
However, health experts warned parents to avoid giving honey to babies as it can result in food poisoning called botulism.
Honey contains antibacterial properties through defensin-1, a protein that can kill bacterial infections. In a recent study conducted by a group of health professionals, who specialized in infectious diseases, honey can help to prevent bacteria from settling into our bodies.
Lessen diarrhea symptoms and duration
Reviews revealed that honey lessens diarrhea symptoms and duration. Honey also shows a significant increase in potassium and fluid intake. These two factors are helpful for people who are experiencing diarrhea. Honey also impedes pathogens that cause diarrhea.
Relief symptoms of cough
Honey is a natural remedy for relieving symptoms of cough, and thus, highly recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Other health professionals recognized syrupy honey as a cure for cough. Thus, it provides relief.
Lower risk of heart illnesses and diabetes
A high level of triglycerides can increase our risk of heart illnesses and diabetes. In several research studies, consuming honey as a substitute for processed sugar can lower the level of fatty lipids. Honey provides natural (simple) sugar that makes it less bad. Thus, providing a good source of sugar, and lowering glucose levels.
Strengthen our immune system
Honey is also rich in many essential antioxidants that are highly relevant in strengthening our immune system. Antioxidants are notable for their effective effects in blocking free radicals that can cause ruin or damage to our body cells. Honey of high quality has valuable phenolic compounds, which also help in reducing the risks of heart attacks.
Alleviate blood pressure
The antioxidants present in honey can also alleviate our blood pressure. Irregular blood pressure can highly contribute to several diseases, such as heart illnesses.
The naturally sweet and sticky honey contains antioxidants that can lower our blood pressure.
With honey’s essential nutrients in alleviating our blood pressure, it can, therefore, further prevent any risk of stroke.
High blood pressure causes blood clots that can impede the flow of our blood, leading to a stroke. But with honey’s high amounts of antioxidants, this can be prevented.
Improves our good cholesterol level
Having high levels of Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) can greatly contribute to our risks for heart diseases. This bad cholesterol can increase the build-up of the fatty lipids in our arteries, causing heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes.
As honey decreases the level of bad cholesterol (LDL), it increases the amount of good cholesterol, High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL).
Promotes weight loss
Due to the reduction of Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and the elevation of High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) with its natural sugar content, honey can also promote weight loss. Honey has a lower sugar level compared to processed sugar. Hence, it helps in losing weight moderately.
Bad breath remedy
Traditional medicine discovered that mixing honey with other home remedies can help in treating foul mouth odor or bad breath and other health problems. You can mix one teaspoon of honey with one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. You can drink the mixture once per day for quite some time until your bad odor disappears.
However, bad breath can have other causes and you should drop by General dentistry newmarket ON for a check-up to find out the real cause.
Help keep our skin healthy
Honey is rich in multiple essential nutrients, including powerful antioxidants, which can help in keeping our immune system healthy. It fights oxidative stress in the body and repairs damaged cells that are caused by the excessive and unnecessary release of free radicals.
With that said, honey aids in the promotion of healthy skin by combating emotional or physical tensions (stress) and other factors that cause body weakness.
It also helps in fixing our sleeping problems, which may cause stress, and thus, leads to the weakening of our immune system which can further cause skin-related issues, such as dermatitis and eczema.
By saying so, a lot of pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies today used honey as a solution in their products for treating skin issues, such as cracks, clogs, pimples, acne, and dry skin problems.
Naturally, honey is safe to consume or use by adults and children. However, only children older than one-year-old should use it. Honey might help in treating wounds, burns, coughs, colds, and other health conditions, but it may also impose some side effects. Hence, you should not give it to babies younger than 1-year-old.
Honey can cause food poisoning or a severe gastrointestinal problem called botulism. The young infants will get exposed to the clostridium perfringens or botulinum bacteria which can lead to poisoning due to the level of toxins that it contains, which babies can’t take.
Furthermore, a few people may also have allergic reactions to honey. There are particular elements in the honey that may react negatively to a highly sensitive immune system, and thus, can cause serious or adverse reactions. With that, here are some of the symptoms or indications of possible sensitive reactions or side effects of honey.
- Body weakness
- Excessive sweating
- Irregular heartbeat
- Sting sensation after a topical application
- Symptoms of asthma, like wheezing
Excessive intake of honey can also cause blood pressure to increase. Nevertheless, there is no proof or tangible evidence presented that honey might have negative interactions with drug prescriptions or medications.
In one tablespoon or 21 grams of honey, it contains 64 calories, 0.8-milligram of sodium, 10.9-milligram of potassium, 0.1-gram of protein, 17-gram of carbohydrate (0-gram of dietary fiber, and 17-gram of sugar). The values presented are according to a 2,000-calorie daily diet plan. Our daily values vary to our needs.
For a 100-gram of honey, it contains 304 calories, 4-milligram of sodium, 52-milligram of potassium, 0.3-gram of protein, 2% of iron, and 82-gram of carbohydrates (0.2-gram of dietary fiber and 82-gram of sugar).
When you have a packet of honey that is equivalent to 0.5-ounce or 14-gram in weight, you can get 43 calories, 0.6-milligram of sodium, 7.3-milligram of potassium, and 12-gram of carbohydrates (0-gram of dietary fiber and 11-gram of sugar).
Moreover, a cup or 339-gram of honey contains 1031 calories, 13.6-milligram of sodium, 176.3-milligram of potassium, 1 gram of protein, 2% of calcium, 7% of iron, 2% of Vitamin C, 5% of Vitamin B-6, 1% of magnesium, and 279-gram of carbohydrate (0.7-gram of dietary fiber and 278-gram of sugar).
These nutrition facts are based on the daily diet plan of 2,000 calories.
What food group is honey?
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) doesn’t consider honey as food. The guidelines didn’t classify honey as either a fruit or a vegetable.
Nonetheless, it is highly regarded as an added sugar. It can be added as organic or unprocessed sweeteners on various food products and drinks. Honey is part of the brown sugar and corn syrup group.
What exactly is honey?
Technically, honey is a thick, sticky, and sweet liquid that comes in yellow to orange color. The tiny buzzing bees produced the honey, which they created through the nectar they extracted from the various flowering plants. Generally, the bees take the nectar from flowers and other plants through pollination using their tube-shaped tongues.
Does honey expire?
Honey doesn’t expire. In fact, it is the only additive in food and drinks that doesn’t spoil after such a long time. Nevertheless, as time goes by, it can get crystallized or becomes thicker and cloudy.
Whenever that happens, you can just simply open the jar and put it on a pan or pan of water, and warm it using low heat until you can see the honey returning to its original texture.
You can also use your microwave in heating your jar of honey to restore its natural consistency. A quick reminder, transfer your honey to another container if it’s inside a plastic jar before heating it. Lastly, don’t allow the water to boil, as it may eliminate the enzymes that are healthy for us.
How can we identify pure honey?
Identifying if the honey that we purchased is pure or not is imperatively beneficial to us. So, if you want to enjoy the nutrients of authentic honey, you must ensure that what you have is pure. There are quite a number of tests that you can do to make sure that you have the pure one.
Labels on the honey bottle will tell you if it’s pure or not. Additionally, you can also perform a thumb test. You can get a small amount of honey. By doing so, you will get to see and feel the consistency of the honey. If it doesn’t spill, spread, or stay stuck on your thumb, it is pure.
More health benefits of honey
Nutrient-rich: Honey contains an array of essential nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin C, B-complex vitamins), minerals (such as calcium, potassium, iron), enzymes, and antioxidants. These nutrients contribute to overall well-being and support various bodily functions.
Natural energy booster: Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, which provide a quick energy boost. The simple sugars in honey are easily digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, making it an excellent choice for athletes or anyone in need of a quick energy pick-me-up.
Antioxidant powerhouse: Honey is rich in antioxidants that help combat free radicals in the body, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and promoting overall health. Antioxidants also help slow down the aging process and keep the skin looking youthful.
Soothes sore throat and cough: Honey has long been used as a natural remedy for coughs and sore throats. Its thick consistency provides a soothing effect, coating the throat and alleviating irritation. It can also help reduce coughing and improve sleep quality.
Boosts immune system: The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of honey make it a potent immune booster. Regular consumption of honey can help strengthen the immune system, making the body more resistant to infections and diseases.
Promotes digestive health: Honey acts as a prebiotic, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in the gut and promoting a healthy digestive system. It can help alleviate digestive issues such as constipation, bloating, and indigestion.
Wound healing properties: Honey has natural antibacterial properties that can aid in wound healing. It creates a protective barrier, prevents infections, and promotes tissue regeneration. Applying honey topically to wounds can accelerate the healing process.
Relieves allergies: Locally produced honey contains small amounts of pollen, which can help desensitize the body to allergens and reduce allergy symptoms. Regular consumption of local honey may provide relief for seasonal allergies.
Supports cardiovascular health: Honey has been found to have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. It can help reduce bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and increase good cholesterol levels (HDL), thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.
Improves sleep quality: Honey can promote better sleep due to its natural ability to increase insulin levels slightly, which then allows tryptophan (an amino acid) to enter the brain more easily. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin, which further converts into melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep.
Alleviates skin conditions: The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of honey make it beneficial for various skin conditions. It can help treat acne, eczema, psoriasis, and minor skin irritations. Honey’s moisturizing effect also helps keep the skin hydrated and supple.
Aids weight management: Despite being sweet, honey can aid in weight management when consumed in moderation. It is a healthier alternative to refined sugars and can help control cravings while providing essential nutrients and energy.
Maintains oral health: Honey possesses antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. It can also help soothe mouth ulcers and alleviate bad breath.
Natural cough suppressant: Honey is a natural alternative to over-the-counter cough syrups. Its thick consistency and soothing properties help alleviate coughs and provide relief from throat irritation, making it an effective and safe choice for all ages.
What happens if we eat honey daily?
Eating honey daily can have several positive effects on your health. However, it’s important to consume honey in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Here are some things that can happen if you eat honey daily:
Increased nutrient intake: Honey is rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Consuming honey daily can help supplement your nutrient intake and provide you with these beneficial compounds.
Boosted energy levels: Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, which are the body’s primary energy source. Including honey in your diet can provide you with a quick energy boost and help sustain your energy levels throughout the day.
Improved digestion: Honey acts as a prebiotic, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in your gut and promoting a healthy digestive system. Regular consumption of honey can help improve digestion, alleviate digestive issues, and support a healthy gut microbiome.
Enhanced immune system: Honey has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that can boost your immune system. Consuming honey daily may help strengthen your body’s defenses against infections and diseases, keeping you healthier overall.
Potential allergy relief: Local honey contains small amounts of pollen, which can help desensitize the body to allergens. Regular consumption of local honey may provide relief for seasonal allergies by gradually reducing your sensitivity to specific pollen types.
Skin benefits: Honey has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit your skin. Consuming honey daily may contribute to healthier, clearer skin and can help alleviate certain skin conditions such as acne or minor irritations.
Heart health support: Studies have suggested that honey may have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. Regular consumption of honey may help lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and increase good cholesterol levels (HDL), reducing the risk of heart disease.
It’s important to note that while honey offers numerous health benefits, it is still a sweetener and should be consumed in moderation. Honey is high in natural sugars and calories, so excessive consumption can lead to weight gain and may negatively impact blood sugar levels, especially for individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance. It’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine the appropriate amount of honey to include in your diet based on your individual needs and health conditions.
What is the best time to eat honey?
The best time to eat honey can vary depending on individual preferences and health goals. Here are a few common recommendations:
Before exercise: Honey can provide a quick source of energy due to its natural sugars. Consuming honey before a workout or physical activity can give you a boost of energy and help sustain your performance.
In the morning: Many people enjoy adding honey to their morning routine. It can be mixed into a warm cup of tea or lemon water, drizzled over oatmeal or yogurt, or spread on toast. Starting your day with honey can provide an energy boost and set a positive tone for the day.
Before bed: Honey is known for its soothing properties, making it a popular choice for promoting better sleep. Consuming honey before bed, either on its own or mixed with warm milk or herbal tea, can help relax the body and potentially improve sleep quality.
Post-workout: After a strenuous workout, consuming honey can help replenish glycogen stores and aid in muscle recovery. It provides a quick source of carbohydrates and can assist in restoring energy levels.
Ultimately, the best time to eat honey depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle. It can be incorporated into your diet at any time that suits you best. However, it’s important to note that excessive consumption of honey should be avoided, as it is high in natural sugars and calories. Moderation is key when including honey in your daily routine.
How much honey should you take a day for health benefits?
The recommended daily intake of honey for health benefits can vary depending on factors such as age, overall health, and individual dietary needs. It’s important to remember that honey, despite its many benefits, is still a source of natural sugars and calories. Here are some general guidelines:
Moderation is key: Honey should be consumed in moderation to avoid excessive sugar intake. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars, including honey, to no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) per day for men.
Balance with other sweeteners: If you choose to consume honey daily, it’s important to balance it with other sources of carbohydrates and natural sweeteners in your diet. Be mindful of the total sugar intake from all sources.
Consider your specific health needs: Individuals with certain health conditions, such as diabetes or insulin resistance, need to be cautious with their sugar intake, including honey. It’s best to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine the appropriate amount of honey for your specific health needs.
Local honey for allergy relief: If your goal is to consume honey for potential allergy relief, it’s often recommended to consume small amounts of locally produced honey. Start with a teaspoon per day and gradually increase if tolerated.
Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body responds to consuming honey. Some people may have individual sensitivities or allergies to honey. If you experience any adverse reactions, it’s best to discontinue its use and consult a healthcare professional.
In summary, while honey offers health benefits, it should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Following general guidelines for added sugar intake and considering individual health needs can help determine the appropriate amount of honey to incorporate into your daily routine.
Is honey good for the brain?
Honey has certain properties that can potentially benefit the brain, although more research is needed to fully understand its effects. Here are some ways in which honey may be beneficial for brain health:
Antioxidant properties: Honey contains antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body, including the brain. Oxidative stress and inflammation are associated with various neurodegenerative diseases, and antioxidants can help protect brain cells from damage.
Improved memory and cognitive function: Some studies suggest that certain components of honey may have positive effects on memory and cognitive function. For example, honey has been found to enhance spatial memory and learning ability in animal studies. However, more research is needed to determine the specific mechanisms and potential benefits in humans.
Potential neuroprotective effects: Honey contains compounds that may have neuroprotective effects, helping to preserve brain health and prevent cognitive decline. Some research indicates that honey may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. However, further studies are needed to establish the extent of these effects and their application in humans.
Anti-inflammatory effects: Chronic inflammation is associated with various brain disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases. Honey’s anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation in the brain, potentially benefiting overall brain health.
Stress relief: Chronic stress can have negative effects on brain health and cognitive function. Honey is known for its calming and soothing properties, which may help reduce stress levels and promote a more relaxed state of mind.
While honey shows promise in potentially benefiting brain health, it’s important to note that these effects are not yet fully understood, and more research is needed to establish the extent of honey’s impact on the brain. As with any dietary consideration, moderation is key, and it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice regarding the role of honey in brain health.
On the whole, honey is more than just a syrup-like substance that we love to add to our drinks or food preparations. It comes with plenty of nutrients that provide many health benefits. Health experts highly consider honey as an effective treatment for wounds and burn due to its antibacterial properties.
Honey has been present in the medicinal world for decades already. With its simple sugar content, honey can replace the processed sugar in our meals. Hence, it is a healthier choice for us when we need to have a bit of sweetness in our food or drink.
Honey can also create a brownish effect and extra moisture in our recipes that make them even tastier.
In conclusion, honey is not only a delicious sweetener but also a powerhouse of health benefits. From providing essential nutrients to boosting the immune system and promoting wound healing, honey offers an array of advantages for our overall well-being. Incorporating honey into our diets and using it as a natural remedy can contribute to a healthier lifestyle and improved quality of life.
Finally, adults and children more than 12 months old can consume honey. However, it shouldn’t be given to babies who are less than one-year-old, as it can poison them due to its bacterium content, which isn’t good for the babies.