More than sweetener. Honey's amazing health benefits.
Honey. It's a delicious natural sweetener but the health benefits of consuming this simple natural product are even more amazing. We'll take a closer look at these benefits in this article.
It's believed that humans have been harvesting honey one way or another for over 10,000 years. There are numerous references to honey over this time including rock paintings and drawings, honey and honeycomb found buried in tombs in ancient Egypt and references to it in ancient texts such as the Bible and Quran.
During this time humans have eaten honey, used it to heal wounds, traded it, fermented it into alcohol, and even bathed in it. Honey has always been seen to have some mystical healing properties and with recent scientific research more health benefits have been discovered.
Honey is naturally produced by bees. It is their method of storing nectar from local flowers as food for use over periods where nectar is in short supply. A teaspoon of honey contains approximately 21 calories, no fat, no cholesterol and is packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. It has a slightly acidic PH which, combined with its low moisture content makes it safe for storing for long periods. In fact, honey has almost an unlimited shelf life.
It's amazing what a spoonful of honey in your tea or on your cereal in the morning could do for your health. Let's take a look at some of the health benefits:
Note: It's very important that honey should never be given to infants.
1. Hay fever and allergies.
Honey contains a small amount of pollen which, when consumed, helps your body develop a natural resistance by stimulating your immune system to create antibodies. This works particularly well if the honey was produced locally as it contains similar pollen to that which is causing your hay fever.
2. Burns and scrapes
Honey can heal burns, wounds, and scrapes. It has natural antibiotic properties and is the bee's medicine as well as their food. Some types of honey have been shown to be effective in the treatment of hard to heal wounds such as diabetic ulcers and even wounds with gangrene! Honey can kill bacteria which are resistant to traditional antibiotics.
Simply apply the honey topically to the affected area. It reduces pain, prevents infection by killing and preventing bacteria, and helps the skin to heal by sealing the tissue, nourishing the skin and reducing inflammation.
3. Coughs and sore throat
Honey helps with coughs and colds by coating the throat and soothing nerve endings. This reduces throat irritation and tendency to cough. It's a great natural alternative to cough medicines.
4. Sleep better
The chemical makeup of honey can help you get to sleep in the evening by stimulating production of the melatonin hormone in the brain. Mix a teaspoon of honey into some hot water (or chamomile tea), and enjoy before bed. This will help you wind down and get a much better night sleep.
5. Helps your memory
Antioxidants are brain food and honey is packed full of them. Honey also helps your brain to absorb calcium which can aid in improving your memory. Keeping your brain healthy and well nourished, as well as some mental exercise each day can help prevent the onset of dementia in later years.
Honey has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also a fantastic moisturiser. If you have an itchy scalp or dandruff problems, dilute some honey in water and lather into your scalp. Leave for and hour or two and wash out. Repeat every couple of days as needed and you'll see the benefits in no time.
7. Acid Reflux and Heart Burn
Honey coats the esophagus preventing further acid irritation. This soothes the esophagus and aids in tissue repair. It is also thought that honey can help kill certain bacteria that cause some stomach ulcers. Honey also contains many enzymes which aid in digestion.
Much research is currently being done in this area, however, it is thought that raw unprocessed honey may help to prevent and fight cancer (for more detailed information please follow this link)
Honey helps the liver speed up breaking down alcohol and other toxins. If you drink too much you'll still have a hangover, however, with a little honey, it may not last as long as it otherwise would have. Keep drinking lots of water too!
With the antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties discussed earlier, honey can also help treat acne. Apply to affected areas and leave for 30 minutes before gently rinsing off with warm water.
Honey is so much more than an alternative to sugar. It has been used for its health benefits for thousands of years and amazingly we are still finding new ways of using this wonderful natural product.
If you know of any other health benefits of honey, please share them in the comments below.