Nutritional gold – that’s what honey is, whether you consider its looks, taste or nutritional benefits. In this post I will talk about the many health benefits of raw honey and why I have some every day.
Honey is made when bees visit flowers to drink nectar. This nectar mixes with the enzymes in the saliva of bees and results in honey. When bees store honey, their beating wings reduce the moisture content in honey making it fit for consumption.
Although many people do not know it, a dollop of honey is full of nutrients and good health. It is an excellent addition to any healthy diet plan despite its wonderful sweetness. Here, in this article, you will learn the different benefits that pure raw honey and processed honey offer, so you’ll know which you should eat.
Health benefits of Raw and Regular Honey
Honey is nature’s natural nutritive sweetener. However, the actual health benefits derived from honey depend on its quality. Raw honey contains all the goodness of nectar mixed with natural enzymes secreted by bees. When honey is processed by heating and pasteurization, many of the phytonutrients present in it are lost. According to the Nationals Honey Board more than 82% of households make use of processed honey.
Research has shown that raw honey contains phytonutrients that can eliminate cancers and tumors. It has been seen that some of the natural substances in honey prevent colon cancer in animals.
Raw honey often contains propolis, a mixture of resins used by the honeybees to seal their hive against viruses and bacteria. Propolis has a large number of nutrients that have significant antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Processed honey also contains antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties although it is not as effective as raw honey.
Honey contains friendly bacteria that are effective in the treatment of burns and wounds. In many cultures, raw honey is used as a natural remedy for indigestion, bronchitis and ulcers. High sugar content in honey dries up wounds faster. Also, certain varieties of honey contain hydrogen peroxide, which is used to treat scrapes and wounds. It has been found that treating wounds and burns with honey leads to less pain and scarring.
The antibacterial properties of honey may be useful in fighting ulcers. Honey helps alleviate stomach problems such as diarrhea, indigestion and symptoms of gastroenteritis.
Honey helps regulate blood sugar levels. This is because honey helps the liver convert glucose into glycogen. So, even when a person is sleeping or exercising, the brain receives sufficient levels of sugar. When sufficient amount of sugar is not available to the body, it leads to impaired glucose metabolism.
Studies have shown that raw honey may be effective in weight loss and reducing levels of body fat. Honey also improves HDL cholesterol levels. In short, honey is good for people suffering from high cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Honey is an effective cough suppressant. The natural antioxidants present in honey also make it a great substance for strengthening immunity.
Since ancient times, honey has been used as an effective source of energy. In athletes, honey helps maintain blood sugar levels and speeds up muscle recuperation.
How to eat Honey
Although 100% pure organic honey is the best buy, it may not be possible to get pure raw honey. Pasteurized honey also contains natural goodness but to a lesser extent. Special honey made from the nectar of flowers like thyme is also available.
1. Do not heat honey. If it has solidified, place it in warm water for 10-15 minutes.
2. Use honey to replace sugar in cereals, milk and oatmeal.
3. Honey may be added to sliced fruits.
4. You can make delicious sandwiches using honey, peanut butter and slices of banana.
5. Use honey and juice of lemon to make a great tasting tea (for more visit health benefits of green tea).
6. Honey must not be given to infants below one year. Some varieties of honey may contain traces of pesticides and pollutants present in plants and flowers.
7. The taste of honey depends on the type of flowers from which it was made. You can find a wide variety of honey, so test some and see which one you like best.
Note: check out my home recipe for energy bars in which raw honey is one of the ingredients.
The health benefits of honey, whether it is raw or processed, are immense. If you want a dose of sweetness and health put together, you should try some raw honey.
Image credit: Siona Karen