Powerful Health Benefits of Honey!
I’ll bet you didn’t know that honey has the following amazing health benefits:
But before we get into the nitty gritty of those benefits, let’s talk a bit about the history of honey.
Honey has historically been used as a natural sweetener; long before sugar became readily available. Honeybees instinctively produce honey and travel many miles to collect nectar with their straw-like tongues (called proboscises). Once collected, the nectar is stored in a special stomach until the bee returns to its hive.
Did you know that bees have two stomachs? One is for nourishment and the second for storing nectar!
The nectar is processed by enzymes in the saliva and stomach, and then regurgitated into honeycomb cells where the bee fans the liquid nectar with its wings to remove moisture and create the thicker substance we associate with honey. The honey is stored in the honeycomb as a food source to see the bees through the winter or times when plants are not flowering.
Different nectar sources make for many different types of honey with varying colors and flavors. The lighter colored honeys tend to have a milder flavor than those exhibiting a darker color.
Rich in natural sugars, honey has long been favored as a sweet supplement to the daily diet. While other parts of the world had sugarcane, honey was the sweetener of choice in Europe and the Near East before sugar took over in the 16th century. Because of its high sugar content, honey is a great natural alternative for a quick energy boost.
Honey is one of nature’s most powerful antibacterial agents. The antibacterial properties of honey are a result of the enzymes produced inside the bee.
It’s great for soothing sore throats, coughs and upper respiratory conditions. A study comparing the use of honey and the pharmaceutical dextromethorphan concluded in part that
“parents rated honey most favorably for symptomatic relief of their child’s nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to upper respiratory tract infection.”
In addition to its antibacterial properties, honey also possesses antioxidant and antifungal properties making it an ideal topical treatment for wounds. It has also been found to be effective in the treatment of ulcers and gastritis.
The manganese in honey contributes to its amazing antioxidant properties which can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Manuka honey in particular is often cited as a great anti-cancer supplement.
Using honey as an alternative to sugar is one of the best ways to benefit from this natural treat. Try using honey on your breakfast cereal or in your morning oatmeal. Honey can also be spread on toast for a sweet snack.
Start your day by drinking a cleansing honey-lemon tea.
Honey is a great natural sweetener that can be used in baking, glazing meats and fish, and to compliment the flavors of many fruits and vegetables.
Here are a few recipes that include honey: Apple Walnut Salad, Spicy Turmeric Garlic Encrusted Chicken, and don’t forget to try Hibiscus Tea (Agua de Flor de Jamaica) for it’s blood pressure reducing properties!