Long before modern medicine strode into life, man has been using honey both as food and as medicine.
That honey is being used since ancient times for its nutritional health benefits only proves its time-proven advantages.
What makes honey so valuable to health is its composition, which consists of 27 minerals, 22 amino acids, some 5000 live enzymes, and antioxidants.
Besides the nutritional benefits, medicinal benefits of honey also contribute to making one tablespoon of honey a must in your everyday diet. And, stick to raw honey because processing takes away a lot of its nutrients.
Health benefits of honey on the body
As an energy booster
Honey acts in two positive ways, in the sense that, on consumption, it gives immediate energy and sustains it for a prolonged period.
Honey contains glucose and fructose. Glucose is absorbed immediately, which results in an immediate energy release, while fructose in honey is absorbed gradually, which gives sustained energy.
One tablespoon of contains 64 calories against one tablespoon of sugar which has 15 calories.
Improves your autoimmune system
Due to its antioxidant properties, honey neutralizes the free radicals, which are released during the body metabolism. These free radicals are unstable molecules and do nothing but harm the body systems and organs.
Due to this antioxidant property of honey, eradication of free radicals helps in building up your body immunity.
Natural antibacterial and antifungal
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of honey make it useful for local applications on wounds and ulcers. Honey promotes wound healing and reduces inflammation and scarring.
As a sweetener
Honey will be a healthier alternative to sugar as a sweetener in foods and drinks. Honey has 69% of glucose and fructose together. In comparison to refined sugar, honey has nutrients as well.
Benefits on weight loss
One tablespoon of honey contains 130 calories while one tablespoon of sugar contains 64 calories. This is the paradox here that though honey contains more calories, it helps to lose weight and though sugar contains fewer calories, it promotes weight gain.
The reason is that sugar has “empty calories”, which are calories with no nutrients. To digest sugar, nutrients like vitamins and minerals are drawn from the body reserves and there is, therefore, depletion of these nutrients.
Nutrients required for dissolving the stored fats and cholesterol become insufficient. You, therefore, gain weight when you consume more sugar.
Honey, on the other hand, contains these nutrients in sufficient quantities, which help to dissolve the fats and cholesterol.
Benefits on skin
Honey improves the skin complexion, protects it and gives it a healthier glow.
- Honey is an ideal cleansing agent due to its hygroscopic properties. It absorbs the impurities from the skin pores.
- It protects the skin from the damaging effects of the UV rays of sunlight.
- It promotes the repair process of the skin and adds softness to the skin complexion.
- Honey, by its antioxidant properties, neutralizes the free radicals, which cause aging of the skin.
- Honey is hygroscopic in nature and has the ability, to retain moisture. It therefore, forms an important ingredient of honey moisturizers and honey creams.
- Applying a mix of equal parts of honey and milk on the face will help you get that skin glow.
- It is useful in treating acne.
Honey in the treatment of sore throat and cough
In a study, children between the age of 2 and 18 years, who had upper respiratory tract infection, were given a single daily night dose of buckwheat honey. There was marked improvement from the second day itself. Buckwheat honey is very dark in color (almost black) and is derived from bees, which have fed on buckwheat flowers.
Benefits on diabetes
It is important to affirm here that we are talking of pure raw honey and not honey adulterated with sugar water or corn syrup.
Though one tablespoon of raw honey contains 17 grams of carbohydrates, honey is beneficial in diabetes because it helps in better regulation of blood sugar. Studies conducted indicate that sugar can be given as a healthier alternative to sugar and sweeteners in diabetics.
- Levulose, an important constituent of honey, is absorbed very slowly into the blood and there is considerable delay in transforming it into glucose. This does not, therefore, cause an immediate rise in blood sugar. This is based on experimental evidence with experts opining in favor of honey.
- Honey also helps diabetics in restoring glycogen. Glycogen is formed in the liver from blood glucose and stored in the liver and muscles. It serves as an energy depot, which supplies energy to the body when required, for example during strenuous exercise or during hard physical work.
Benefits on the digestive tract
Honey is believed to show improvement in the treatment of certain ailments such as indigestion, diarrhea, and ulcers.
Mix one tablespoon of honey with one whole squeezed lemon well in one glass of warm water and drink it every day in the morning on an empty stomach. This helps proper evacuation of the bowels. It also helps to burn fat and purifies the blood by getting rid of the toxins.
Benefits in insomnia
One tablespoon of honey with a glass of milk at night has a calming effect and helps to induce sleep.
How honey stops hair loss
Research indicates that regular use of honey treatment for hair can activate and strengthen the dormant hair follicles and make them start growing hair again.
Being an emollient, honey preserves the moisture in your hair, which helps in conditioning of the hair. This prevents hair breakage and hair fall.
Being an antioxidant, honey prevents damage to the scalp keeping it and your hair healthy.
Certain uses of honey as advocated in Ayurvedic medicine include:
Ayurveda prescribes fresh honey for a lot of health ailments. We name a few:
- For improving eyesight. Take a mixture of honey and carrot juice daily on an empty stomach.
- Reduces asthma attacks. Mix ½ gram of ground black pepper with equal quantities of honey and ginger juice. Take it thrice a day.
- Helps controls blood pressure. Mix one teaspoon of garlic juice with 2 teaspoons of honey. Drink it twice a day to regulate your blood pressure.
- Benefits on cough. A mixture of honey and ginger juice in equal quantities acts as a good expectorant.