Honey can be several colors depending on the kind of flower nectar that it comes from. It can range from white, red, amber, brown or even black. Some of the flowers common in honey are clover, heather, alfalfa, and acacia.
Why is honey beneficial to good health?
Honey is much more than a delicious and sweet treat to put into our tea or spread onto a biscuit. It has many healthy benefits that mankind has known about for thousands of years.
For instance, honey is actually a substance that has antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. It is full of phytonutrients that may even be able to prevent cancer.
Some of these valuable ingredients are caffeic acid methyl caffeate, phenylethyl caffeate, and phenylethyl dimethylcaffeate, plus enzymes that have been shown to stop colon cancer in tests on animals: phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C and lipoxygenase.
Honey also has been found to contain good bacteria called probiotics such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria that can help the digestive tract populate with helpful bacteria that aid it.
It also contains an antioxidant called pinocembrin. If you want to get the benefits of this, you need to eat the dark colored honeys which are made from the flower from sage, buckwheat, and tupelo for best results.
Honey is also a good source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, iron, potassium, calcium, copper, sodium chlorine, iodine, sulfur, zinc, iron and phosphate and manganese.
Studies on Benefits of Honey
Studies have been done using honey to treat upper respiratory tract infection in 105 kids between the ages of 2 and 18 years old. They were given a dose of honey at night for a week and it helped stop their coughing and helped them to sleep.
This was seen as very good news, especially given that in recent years the FDA has said that children younger than six years old shouldn’t take over the counter cough or cold medications.
One thing to note is that honey should not be given to infants under one year old, however, due to the possibility that it could contain Clostridium botulinum and damage digestive system.
Animal testing has shown that rats fed honey instead of sucrose had better HDL cholesterol levels, better blood sugar levels, better memory, and were less fat and less stressed than rats on the sugary diet.
Testing with people who had diabetes or high cholesterol showed that honey was a more healthful choice as a sweetener for them. The study contained subjects who were given drinks with regular sugar, artificial honey or regular honey for 15 days.
In the people with high cholesterol, the artificial honey caused their LDL bad cholesterol to go up, but real honey made it go down. In the ones with diabetes, the real honey didn’t make their blood sugar levels go up as much as regular sugar.
Other Benefits of Honey
Honey has several healthy benefits, including:
- Honey has also been found to help regulate blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. It is good for this because it has a one to one ratio of fructose to glucose, which helps give us energy.
- The antioxidant factors of honey makes it useful for reducing stress, as well as improve the function of the cells in the blood vessel walls, thus improving vascular health.
- Honey boosts the immune system
- Honey can treat insomnia by mixing a spoonful of honey with warm milk and drinking it.
- Honey is a good energy source that helps athletes do better on their performance. This was known to work in ancient Greece when during the Olympics the Greeks ate honey and figs so they could do better in the events.
- Honey has been shown to be useful in treating wounds. It has been used for 100s of years as a topical antiseptic for burns, ulcers, and other sores.
- Honey is good for the skin and can work as a moisturizing mask. It also is good as a hair conditioner if it is mixed with oil such as olive oil.
- Honey fights infection, reduces scarring and swelling in wounds, and speeds up healing.
- Honey can be used to help relieve an alcohol hangover because the natural sugar in it speeds up the oxidation of the alcohol and helps the liver process it out of the system. You can try this remedy by mixing about three teaspoons of honey with some yogurt and orange juice and blend it up well and drink it as a kind of smoothie.
- Honey can help soothe a sore throat by gargling two tablespoons of honey mixed with four tablespoons of lemon juice and some salt.
- Honey has been used to treat kidney and bladder inflammation because it acts as a diuretic when consumed.
- Honey has also been used to treat worms because unlike sugar it fights against them and acts as a vermifuge.
- Honey was used in ancient times to relive intestinal and gastric issues and worked well as a tasty laxative.
- Plus, it only has 64 calories in a tablespoon! Some believe that a mixture of honey, lemon juice and cinnamon is said to be useful in losing weight.
How buy and store honey
When you buy honey it can be either raw or pasteurized. If you can find 100 percent pure raw honey, then it is a very good choice for having the most nutritional value. It is vital to make sure your honey is kept in an airtight bottle. In fact, if you do this, as well as store it in a cool and dry place, it will stay good
Honey has been used all over the world in ancient Ayurveda medicine, as well as in modern medicine. It is a versatile product that can be a food, medicine, healing substance and much more that is still being studied and discovered.