Honey, that delicious nectar that bees make, is an incredibly beneficial substance. This mixture of sugar, enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids is very different from any other sweetener on the planet. Let’s see why.
There are documents that describe how the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians already used the healing properties of honey . Although other animals (in addition to humans) have benefited from its qualities and its delicious flavor for much more, such as bears, badgers and others.
People have been consuming honey for its taste, as well as using it for its antibacterial and antifungal properties since ancient times. In fact, even in the Bible it is recorded as King Solomon said: “My son, eat honey, because it is good.”
Honey is undoubtedly an ancient product that has won the hearts of many over time.
Honey is sweet because it is rich in fructose, so while it should be consumed in moderation, it is much more beneficial than any other refined sugar.
In its basic composition, a tablespoon of honey contains approximately 64 calories and is fat and cholesterol free . It includes vitamins, trace amounts of enzymes, amino acids, and minerals such as calcium, iron, sodium chlorine, magnesium, phosphate, and potassium.
Due to its inclination towards the acidic PH level (3.2 to 4.5), it helps to reduce the growth of bacteria and has antioxidant properties that help us to eliminate some free radicals.
It is perhaps one of the best sweeteners on the planet!
Benefits of honey for the body
1. It fills us with energy
As we already know, honey is an excellent all-natural energy source , with only 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. This unprocessed natural sugar (fructose and glucose) penetrates directly into the bloodstream and can quickly provide us with energy. Increased blood sugar acts as a short-term source of energy, but it also provides us with strength to withstand long-term physical exertion . And as we already know, if we feel good physically, we also feel good mentally, both factors go hand in hand.
2. Treats wounds and burns
Honey is a natural antibiotic that can act both internally and externally . In fact, honey was used as a treatment against infections for many years until the invention of penicillin in the early 1900s.
The reason is that honey releases hydrogen peroxide through an enzymatic process, which explains its general antiseptic qualities. It can be used as a conventional treatment for wounds and burns since it favors the disinfection of wounds and sores of the main species of bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In a study published in the British Journal of Surgery in 2005, it showed that the majority of patients who suffered wounds and leg ulcers showed a marked improvement after receiving topical applications of honey.
3. Calm the cough
Honey is used as a natural cure for a cold. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists honey as demulcent , which is a substance that relieves irritation of the mouth or throat by forming a protective film .
Studies show that honey works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in cough medicine, to calm coughs and sleep-related difficulties due to upper respiratory tract infections in children. Thus, a persistent cough that does not go away can be remedied with a couple of teaspoons of honey, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Pediatrics . It explains how children between 1 and 5 years old with a nighttime cough due to colds coughed less frequently when they received two teaspoons of honey 30 minutes before bedtime.
The thick consistency of the golden liquid helps to cover the throat, the sweet taste is also believed to trigger nerve endings to protect the throat from incessant cough.
4. Relieves allergies
Honey’s anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to calm coughs have led to the belief that it can also reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies. Although there are no clinical studies to prove its effectiveness, honey is believed to act as a “natural vaccine.” Honey contains pollen spores collected by bees from local plants, so a small amount of allergen is introduced into the body with its consumption . Theoretically, this can activate our immune system and over time can build up your natural immunity against it.
The usual recommendation is to take approximately one teaspoon of locally produced honey daily, starting a few months before the pollen season, to allow our system to build immunity. And the key here is local .
This only works if we consume pollen honey from local plants that we may be allergic to. Honey from other parts simply won’t work. While research on this shows conflicting results, one study found that, during the birch pollen season, compared to the control group, patients using birch pollen honey experienced:
- 60% reduction in symptoms
- Twice asymptomatic days
- 70% fewer days with severe symptoms
- A 50% decrease in the use of antihistamines
Interestingly, there was little difference between the two honey groups (those taking honey of other types versus those taking honey containing birch pollen). However, the birch pollen honey group used fewer histamines than those consuming other types of honey. The authors concluded that “Patients who consumed birch pollen honey pre-seasonally had significantly better control of their symptoms than those on conventional medication alone, and had marginally better control compared to those on regular honey. The results should be considered preliminary, but indicate that Birch pollen honey could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy. ”
5. Treatment against dandruff
Honey diluted with a little warm water appears to significantly improve seborrheic dermatitis , which is a condition of the scalp that causes dandruff and itching.
A 2001 study published in the European Journal of Medical Research found that applying diluted honey with 10% warm water to problem areas and leaving it in contact for three hours before rinsing, caused relief of the rash and did not increase in one week. The skin lesions healed in two weeks, and the patients even showed improvement in hair loss. The patients did not relapse even after six months of use.
6. Helps relieve herpes
Honey can help reduce herpes symptoms by the following topical benefits:
- Draws fluid from the wound.
- The high sugar content reduces or even suppresses the growth of microorganisms.
- Worker bees secrete an enzyme (glucose oxidase) in the nectar, which then releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide when honey comes into contact with the wound, cleaning the wound.
If you have herpes outbreaks, try putting on honey to see if you get some relief and if the sores heal faster.
Honey can be a safe and inexpensive healing agent that will certainly save you from spending large sums of money on prescription or over-the-counter medications that often come with side effects or toxic ingredients.
Benefits of honey for the mind
1. Increase memory
Honey contains antioxidants that can help prevent neuronal damage and loss in the brain. A study published in Menopause in 2011 found that one tablespoon of honey daily can boost postmenopausal women’s memory , serving as an alternative therapy to keep hormone-related intellectual decline at bay.
Adding a teaspoon of honey to a cup of tea every day is an easy and refreshing way to delay neuronal aging.
Honey also helps the brain absorb calcium, which in turn helps maintain memory.
Taking care of your brain through consuming adequate nutrition can decrease our chances of developing dementia in the future.
2. Help you sleep better
The components of honey also make it a great ally of the nervous system, since they have calming power and promote restful sleep .
Honey can be of great help during sleepless nights . Like sugar, honey has the power to cause an increase in insulin and to release serotonin , a neurotransmitter that improves mood and emotional well-being. Subsequently, the body converts serotonin to melatonin , a chemical compound that regulates the duration and quality of sleep.
Furthermore, honey also contains various amino acids, including tryptophan which is commonly associated with our level of happiness. Thus, the tryptophan of honey passes to our brain, where it is converted again to serotonin and then to melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep and wake cycles.